Hair/fur lines on a solid hair model. How do they do it?

Polygon hair or emulated hair. “Why not both?”

I’ve been studying hair textures for character models, mostly Smash Ultimate, and I could see by eye which was done by hair cards (most of the anime inspired characters), or could be done by the particle system on the very furry characters (or more specifically, what Blender can do to emulate it, since obviously they were done in a different program) and of course “hair” that’s just a solid object. (Toon Link, the Mario Brothers, etc.)

I know how to do all the above to a certain degree, but what I want to learn is how they made the detailed strands of hair on characters that clearly have a sculpted hair model. The fusion of this is just the kind of thing I’m looking for the characters I’m modeling; the hair isn’t too realistic and it still keeps a cartoony appearence while still looking like hair. Not that great for a movie but perfect for a game.

Take Peach for example: I’m not sure if I can post pictures that aren’t my own, so here’s a link.
Notice how it flows in the same direction. The subtle hair texture is what I’m trying to achieve on models of my own through Blender. I’m just curious to the most efficient way.

Lightly textured “fur” is a related question as well. You can see effects like this on Sonic or the Duck Hunt dog. I think you can probably get a texture like this by covering the model with short hair particles, combing it, and then baking it as a texture/normal map, etc. But if there’s advice on another or better way, I’d like to hear it. This doesn’t work for long hair though; I tried it this way and it turns out a mess.

I’m looking for not just an easy way, but any way to do this. There’s probably plenty of tutorials about this specific thing, I just don’t know where to start. If you have one I would appreciate it if you posted it. If it’s hypothetically easier to do in gimp or photoshop, then that’s what I’ll try.

That hair is a solid mesh, with normal map and/or lighting baked into the texture. To align the strands, it may have been a high to low bake, or it may have been a relatively simple texture to start, for use with a mesh that has UVs aligned to the direction of the hair.

For example:

It’s a follow active quads style mapping, and you can see the texture map is pretty boring-- nothing fancy.

Notice how the texture doesn’t map really well on the selected object. That’s because it’s not a great UV map-- there is a lot of distortion. That makes it so that the triangulation causes the textures to go all wobbly. I’ve placed a subdivided version next to it, and you can see that the more faces I use, the less of an issue this is. Of course, you don’t want to make a game character with three levels of subdiv on it! But you can bake selected-to-active to mostly compensate for the low poly’s triangulation.

Yes, you can bake selected-to-active from particles. But looking at your reference, I’m not sure that was what they did. It may very easily have been just some simple bump maps.

Thank you. My issue wasn’t figuring out how to lay the UVs to get the right texture though, but figuring out how to draw or model those details in the first place.

For some help, I downloaded a few of Smash’s models to study them. Using Peach as another example, here’s what her hair looks like with just the albedo,

and here’s what it looks like (in Blender) when combined with the normal, roughness, AO, and spec maps.

The normal map does most of the work, but I’m not sure how they did it. How do you get hair around curls and continue for it to go straight down?

For one more frame of reference, here’s what the two main textures looks like. (With the the UVS temporarily moved out of the way to get a better look.)

A bump/normal map couldn’t happen to be done using nodes, can it…? I tried making a fleece looking texture before, but not with “fur”.

You can start with bump in one UV, and bake to a normal on a different UV. Your final UV doesn’t tell you how the texture was made.

How to model the hair to do that? Or how to get the bump/normal to do that? The pic I showed is a curvy piece of hair. That’s how (one way) you get the bump to do that.

Yes, you would generally involve nodes. Good fur would be hard, but your reference (Sonic) doesn’t look like it has good fur anyways-- if you took a swatch and asked me what it was, I wouldn’t say it looks furry.

Sculpt. Or make a mesh and render a height map for an image. Or use a wave texture in your nodes. There are about a thousand different ways. If you want just one? Sculpt. There are plenty of sculpting tutorials out there.

Though my question is for the long term, I tried the particle method on two wip models I was working on, just to test it out. I really like the result when it comes to fur, but for actual hair… not so much.

For the below examples, I tried making short hair, though I probably made it TOO short. And although it doesn’t technically answer my question, (I guess I’ll just spend sleepless nights wondering how they do it…) it does give a result I’m looking for. Also unlike nodes I can easily change the direction of where I want the fur to go. Once again though, these are intended to be baked as textures, and made even more subtle with a secondary program.

As you can see, I didn’t have much previous experience in hair particles, and they clearly are not Smash quality, but for me this is all trial and error anyway. IF I am doing anything wrong, I’d like to know a better and faster way (for all I know, this IS the better way…).

Like I said though, this does not look good for regular hair. What you see for the top image is the same method as what you do for fur, but I increased the lengths for some parts. It just ends up looking ugly (not that this was intended to be permanent) not to mention it breaks the highlights, like in pic related. Like I said, I only intended to use these details as a bump or normal map, and I could easily fix the colors in gimp or Photoshop, but learning how to make it look good in Blender anyway would still be a valuable thing to learn.

I haven’t tried sculpting details yet, would that even work for something that fine?

If you can sculpt pores and even tinier skin details, why woudn’t it work for hair?


Just use brush with a alpha or layer the strokes.

Hiya, I want to bump up this thread one more time, because I’m having trouble projecting new textures. I tried both the bake wrangler and Blender’s default system. See the results for both below. (At the least, I did what I could with my newfound knowledge)

For this experiment I have 3 meshes. One without fur (the main one), one that has hair particles (you can see that one above) and a converted mesh that’s just all fur, just in case I need any of them.

Keep in mind, I’m not aiming for photorealism here. I know the end result isn’t going to be as pretty to look at as real hair particles, but I just want something subtle, I’m going to “fix” it in gip or photoshop later anyway to make the fur even more subtle. It’s going to be for a game engine, after all.

This was with the Bake Wrangler addon, it can’t read particles yet but it won’t even project fur even if I convert them to a mesh. (Just a side note, even though this was experimental I do really like how the texture came out, but it doesn’t get the inside of her mouth and ears, no matter the ray tracing size. And also, I wanted it with projected fur.)

This is with Blender’s internal. It does project the particles (kind of) but it comes out as super dark. The parts you can see? The little scratchy bits? That’s what I want, but I don’t know how to get it without light affecting it.

I am SO FREAKING CLOSE. I just need some help in the right direction.

If it helps at all, here’s part of the source file.

Just convert particles if you want a mesh that’s just fur.

Have you tried the Substance painter fur smart material?

I never used Substance Painter before.

I could give the trial version a try, but I prefer to not pay $20/month for something (at least if I don’t have a plan) when I could texture in Blender for free.

(Though if Steam, where I can get it once permanently, has a giant sale on it, I MIGHT give in.)