How can I make a subtle fur texture normal map like Sonic?

Renders of Sonic the Hedgehog always have a subtle fur texture, which looks to me like a normal map.


How can I create a normal map like this? I use photoshop to create my textures, but no idea how I would create the normal map, and fit it to the UV map as the direction of hair is important.

I’ve been trying to figure this out with blenders texture painting tools (on a bump texture), and I got decently close, but the end result still ends up too uniform (a bunch of exactly the same strands next to each other), and looks really bad when they overlap.

I tried different textures for my brush, but none seemed better:

Seems the only way to make it work would be to draw each strand, but i think that would be too tedious, and wouldn’t look great anyway.