Creating fur for animals for animation

I have been struggling for quite a while to create believable fur for animal characters, just like in the movie Zootopia. I understand that Zootopia is quite high on standard when it comes to fur, however what I have achieved so far sort of looks like a hsaved teddy bear that was out in the dump for years. I would like to ask for some tips and tricks on how to create believable animal hair for cartoon characters. I seem to get patchy hair after grooming, and non groomed hair looks boring and the surface texture is visible under it.
Thank you very much for your input!

A image or even better a blend would help. Did you try hair dynamics, maybe just to relax the groomed hair into a more physically credible state?

Thanks for the tip, I tried that, but I cant seem to fix some issues. I tried to just add the hair without grooming so it fills out every gap and patch, but the result is horrible.

Thanks in advance!

Can I see how you configured the hair system? Simple or Interpolated children? How many parents? How many children?

I am so sorry for replying late, I was abroad. Will send you the details on Monday.


I am back, attached is the blend file for checking. Thank you very much!!

cat_base.blend (4.4 MB)

Okay, thanks.

There are several issues, I can identify:

  • Way too few parent hairs (look how sparsely they are distributed, no wonder you get patchy result).
  • Too few hair in total.
  • Use larger ‘tip’ thickness. Actually I never set Tip thickness different from Root. Real hair don’t do that either.
  • Not sure whether you did the short-hair look on purpose, but IMHO longer hair look better.
  • Comb hair. This might be a little bit tedious, as interpolated hair require little change in direction between neighbors, or it will look weird. Not that I didn’t do it very nicely in the ‘fixed’ version below. Working on that will make things look better (in particular at the chin). As said, Hair sim can also help to smooth it.
  • Use Roughness parameters in the Children tab, to make geometry look less artificial/uniform. Increasing path steps might be needed for this to work nicely, though.
  • I didn’t understand the idea of the material setup. As you can see, simply mixing diffuse with glossy may suffice.
  • You probably want hair density to vary, e.g. fewer around the mouth or in the ears. Use a vertex group or texture for that.

Thank you very much! So basically I just need more hairs which bring more tediousness, and more annoying vertex painting. I see now why many people are disgruntled with fur. It sounds very tedious.
Thanks again!