Believable Cotton Wool?

Looking for a way to create believable Cotton Wool, any ideas / suggestions?

I’m right in the middle of making convincing nylon strap. I don’t know how to make wool, but maybe the explanation of my attempts will give you something.
I went with module approach, from left to right:

  1. First iteration made with hair particles - looks good on the first glance but it will be hard to control bending the strap made from that module.
  2. Slightly less convincing but still pretty good module (knot?) made with curves and bevel. Too bad its absurdly heavy on polycount.
  3. “Optimised” version - multiplied with and array gave the belt you see on the right. Still it’s overkill as the belt have ~5mil polys.

Next step is how to cut polycount and retain fiber character of the individual module (knot) so it could be easily multiplied. Like Shrinkwrapping module with less dense mesh, or beter - baking the shape into normal map and projecting on simple capsule mesh.

First what are your objectives - high or low poly, animation or game asset, etc?

Cotton Wool is more a mess of fibres. Can’t get the clumping right I guess, as hair is straight to begin with I tried different kink styles but still far off.

You are right about messyness. If you havent watched Daniel Bystedt made pretty good videos about hair grooming in Blender. You’ll find them on official Blender yt channel. Hair cards might be the thing you are looking for, but I might be very wrong about that. Also check effectors and force fields - those can effect particles.

This may help:

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