Introduction

In this tutorial, I'm going to show you how to make short human hair using Sasquatch's fur mode. The character I'm using here is from my ongoing project, Brad Pitt. I've seen many women characters done with Sasquatch's long hair mode, so I picked a man with short hair to be different. My method is versatile so it's applicable to fur or grass once you understand the basic approach. I hope you get a chance to experiment with this technique yourself.

Step 1: R & D

Brad Pitt has always appeared on screen with different hairstyles, but for reference I used the style from my favorite Pitt movie: Fight Club.
You can picture what his hairstyle is like... your hair becomes greasy after having no chance to take a shower for a few days. You really need to think and imagine the style in order to recreate it! But it’s harder to make specific looks on purpose than I imagined it would be. The lighting method that the director Fincher uses in his movies is almost always dark, with a lot of key lights from the sides so his dark-brown hair looks black. Despite the conditions, the hair still looks rich because the specular highlights enhance the qualities and the outlines of the hair.

I won't tell you which particular scene I used as a reference. You can watch the DVD or the video and see if you can find the scene yourself.

Step 2 Mapping

Almost all Sasquatch 1.5 parameters can be textured in Sasquatch's "S" panels and Sasquatch 1.5 also supports vertex weightmaps. I used no image maps at all; just weight maps for everything. With normal maps, you can load them as basic coordinates like Planar, Cylindrical, Spherical, and UVMap, but since Sasquatch doesn’t allow multiple layers of maps per attribute, precise adjustments are sometimes tricky. Even if you use the useful Unwrap tool to make a Cylindrical map, it’s hard to paint the place you aimed at, especially on the seams. But with weight maps you can paint on the 3D objects directly in Modeler, so it gives you a lot more controls It’s really fast and convenient!

(fig 1) Set up where you want to grow hair on the head using a Length map.

(fig 2) Determine the hair density with a Density Map. Don’t forget to lessen the amount of hair at the receding forehead corners and hair whorl (right at the top of the head).

(fig 3) We want the hair on the top to stick upwards, so use a negative Root Droop and Tip Droop Map. A positive value also lets the side hair droop down.

(fig 4) Curl the hair, mainly the upper head with a Curl Map.

(fig 5) Adjust the amount of Clumps, the size and Skew with Clump Map

(fig 6 ) Distinguish the direction of combing the hair: the upper and the sides with Surface Comb Map.

(fig 7) Set up the eyebrows with EyebrowMap.

(fig 8) Set up the eyelashes with EyelashMap.

(fig 9) Set up the beard with BeardMap.

(fig 10) For the Surface(Smart) Combing, give different names to the tip of the nose and the hair whorl. The whorl combing is especially useful to make the hair flow away from this little bald spot.

Step 3 The Sasquatch settings

Let’s set up parameters with the weightmaps you prepared. You will end up moving back and forth between weightmaps editing, Sasquatch, and rendering until you figure out the best numbers. I am warning you that this is the most time consuming part of the project. So don’t give up!

We are now styling the hair so the rendering quality is not so important here. So turn OFF Receive LightWave Shadows, Self Shadowing, and Enable Cast Shadows. And I recommend turning on One-Pass Antialiasing reduce rendering time.

(fig 11) Before Sasquatch. It’s a chrome dome!

(fig 12) To begin with, set up the Fur/Fibers panel. For testing, keep the Fiber Division low to save rendering time. Apply Density and Length to the weightmaps you prepared and set the length and density of the hair.

Next, thicken the hair with Coarseness. Smaller Density values speed up rendering. You can compensate by increasing Coarseness to keep the hair coverage high. I left the density high for most of the hair close-up shots so you could see the net effect clearly. When the hair is distant from the camera, I strongly recommend that you experiment with the balance of parameters such as Density, Coarseness and Fiber Divisions to speed up rendering. Distant hair can look fine with much more aggressive settings of low density and high coarseness, and the render time savings are worth the effort.

(fig 13) Go to Density’s S panel, and pick the Density map from Vertex Weight Map. Base (Black) Value is the green area in the weightmap. Applied (White) Value is the orange area. The rest of the weightmaps are set up in the same way so I leave them out.

(fig 14) This is the picture after setting just in the Fur/Fiber panel using Sasquatch’s default settings. In this starting stage, it is just a fuzz ball with too much density and length. It also looks flat since all the shadow options are turned off but in turn the rendering speed is amazingly fast. At this stage, the speed is much more important than seeing the shadows.

(fig 15) Set up the Styling panel. Set RootDroop and TipDroop on only the sides to let the side hair droop down to the ground. And again control Curling with a weightmap and set Tangle higher to let the whole hair entwine and become a little ragged.

(fig 16) This shows the result after applying the Styling settings. I've applied stronger curling to the top of his head. Now his hair has changed from straight hair to a bird's nest like mess!

(fig 17) Set up the Clumping panel. The upper head has a higher value for Clump Haircount. It’s better to have the sides smaller and also make them merged closer to the tips by mapping the Clump Size and Matting Skew parameters. These decrease the volume of the hairstyle, but Fiber Wiggle is a very useful control to compensate for this decrease.

(fig 18) I am using a lot of Clumping on top of the head. The sides have a lower value. Using Matting Skew makes the top of the Clump merge closer to the root parts. By adding Clump, the hair looks more greasy, like it’s wet with hair gel (or sweat!). This is the look I want!

(fig 19) Set up the Combing panel. Type the comb surface name (the tip of the nose and the hair whorl) and Surface Comb only the sides. Use Comb Bias to hold up the hair at the top of the head with the ( -) direction and make the sides down further with the (+) direction. When doing these settings, the short hair on the sides may go to the underneath the polygons, so set Max Sleekness to 0% only to the sides.

(fig 20) Use Surface Comb Strength to determine the direction of the side hair based on the tip of the nose and the hair whorl. On the upper part of the hair, use Combing Bias to hold the hair toward the (-) direction, meaning toward the sky. Meanwhile, the side hair should be brushed down toward the (+) direction, meanings toward the ground. This completes the styling and combing phase.

(fig 21) Let’s move on the Color panel. First, adjust the Salt and Pepper. What you should do here is to decide how you want the hair to look when it's lit.

(fig 22) Set up the Shadowing. Turn on Self Shadowing, Receive LightWave Shadows and Enable Cast Shadows to see how your hair responds to lighting. At this moment, the hair looks blond.

(fig 23) Set up the Shading panel to determine the attributes of the hair and its darkness/brightness. Decrease Diffuse to make the originally blond hair darker. And set Specular Tinting to make the hair look more realistic when it is lit. The color you set on the Color panel shows up with specular highlights, not diffuse lighting! This is like real hair and it helps to make a realistic appearance.

(fig 24) After adjusting the quality of the hair and darkness/brightness on the Shading panel, increase Glossiness to get the look of shiny hair gel. Pay attention to the fact that the specular highlight becomes the color of the original blond hair. Again, this is the way real hair acts and you can see it if you look around. It’s nice to recreate such a realistic phenomena in the 3d world.

(fig 25) Use weightmaps of EyeBrow, Eyelash, BeardMap for eyebrow, eyelash and beard. The Sasquatch settings are done now!

Step 4 Lighting

There is no exaggeration to say that if you pursue realism in 3DCG then the key skill is lighting. Even if an object has no texture, it could feel very real if you use very correct lighting. If you cut corners on lighting, no matter how elaborate the texture is, it will just look fake. So I’d like to explain the lighting strategy I used at in Step 3.

When it comes to a human face, my basic rule for lighting is that the key light should come from the sides to make sure that one side has visible cast shadows to show depth. I adjust the angle and position of the key light to capture the specular highlights and to bring out the attractive details of the skin. This is my own style and each artist has their own thoughts.

I have the fill light coming from the opposite direction to avoid jet black shadows. You want to (barely) see surface details even in deep shadows. Use the rim light from the back of the head to capture the outlines of the object that is shadowed because of the key light. This method is also used for taking photos in real life.

(fig 26) Set up the scene with the three basic lights; Key, Fill and Rim. Make these lights Spotlights with Falloff enabled.

(fig 27) This is rendered with LightWave’s default light setting. The hair doesn’t show depth because it has no darkness/brightness contrast. It looks very flat. The default lighting is distant light so you have to change all the lights into the combination of spotlight and shadow map to get Sasquatch self shadowing.

(fig 28) Shadow positions are determined by the direction of the key light. The specular highlight on the skin helps show surface contours and details.

(fig 29) By adding a Fill light, the outlines of the object appears from the shadows. If the fill is too bright, the object will look too flat so deal with it very carefully. The point is to just give a hint of knowing what is in the shadow. It is a common error to have over-bright fill intensities!

(fig 30) A Rim light helps show the details and shape of the hair even in the shadowed areas. Rim lighting is very important to enhance the quality of the hair especially around the outline of the head. Notice how the hair is bright along the top, dimmer on the sides, and brighter just above the ears. This contrast shows the depth of the hair. The theme of this tutorial is “hair” so I used a stronger Rim light to accentuate it.

Step 5 Rendering

Here's some different rendered views of the final style

( fig 32-1)

( fig 32-2 )

( fig 32-3 )

( fig 32-4 )

( fig 32-5 )


Akira Orikasa was born in the suburbs of Tokyo, Japan in 1973. After graduating from a Japanese university majoring in Economics, he came over to the USA and graduated from California State University, Chico with an Art major. He has been working at Computer Café as a lead visual effects artist since November 1998. The major projects he worked oh as a lead artist are Panic Room (starring Jody Foster, and directed by David Fincher), where he made more than 50 shots including the opening title, and Spykids 2. Sees his resume

This tutorial first appeared in the Japanese CG magazine ”Computer Graphics World " magazine in June 2002. The face of the model was later modified using G2. The title of the issue is “Challenge of making realistic hair with Sasquatch!” You can see the movie of the boxer in his site.