I remember back in the Gamecube/PS2 era being impressed with the fur rendering in Shadow of the Colossus and Star Fox Adventures. It used a clever technique of using layers of meshes with cross-section textures of the fur baked in. Here’s a version of the technique described in detail (albeit executed less artistically).
My question, since I don’t know much about Blender scripting: Is it possible to make a script that takes strand data and bakes it into a textured mesh? I don’t know how I would go about manually painting the textures for an entire fur mesh (tbh I’m not really much of a 3D artist and I’ve never even textured a model before, but that’s beside the point), and even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to manually create LoD for different systems. By the system outlined in my link, you could generate anywhere between 6 and 60 layers to create a quality effect.
I don’t really understand the technical details of what’s being generated, but is it possible to use the hair strand system that already exists? It’s pretty nice and has nice features, I’d like to be able to play with it to produce something real-time usable. If I have the time I’ll try and learn about this in more detail and figure it out myself. In the mean time, I’d totally appreciate hearing any information and suggestions I can get. Cheers.