How to put fur on an animal, like a cat or mouse

Like the title says, but more detailed. I am surprised I cannot find this answer anywhere that I have searched, even typing “fur” in the search bar here gave me nothing. I can put fur on an animal model, but making areas different length is another matter. How do I make the fur on the face short compared to the long fur on the side, with a realistic transition so as not to look like an amateur haircut?

Speaking of realistic, is it just a gravity effect needed to make the fur look like it should, or is there something more complicated needed to be rigged?

Also, how do I colour areas of the fur, such as stripes of black on a grey cat? I am assuming by using some type of painting method to paint the mesh itself and not the fur.

You can gradually change hair/fur length by going into particle edit mode after creating the particle system. Use the Length brush found in this mode’s tool shelf to grow or shrink hair wherever you want, or use the Cut brush to cut hair wherever you want.

Alternatively, you can gradually change hair length by creating a new vertex group and assigning that vertex group to ‘Length’ in the particle system’s vertex group panel. When you weight paint the vertex group, the weight on each vertex controls how long the hair is near that vertex. More weight for a vertex = longer hair near that vertex.

You’re correct that you can paint the mesh itself to change the hair color. You can do this by going into texture paint mode after unwrapping the mesh and assigning an image to be used as a texture. You can also forgo texture paint mode and edit the assigned texture in photoshop, gimp, etc. instead if you want.

Right, I forgot about assigning the vertex group to length. I have been focused on finishing the animal model so have not done much with the particle system yet, but now I know there are two ways to accomplish the gradual length change. Good to hear I was on the right track with how to paint the fur, but can I not simply vertex or texture paint the mesh how I want, or is an image a necessity?

it’s always a good idea when making fur to use multiple emittors, one for the somewhat rough undercoat and one for the longer straighter outer coat.

Good point, make it like real fur if you want it to look like real fur. It is the little details like this that make the difference, but to remember them so as not to waste time trying to figure out why it does not look like it should is the trick. I knew about the under & outer coats, but did not think of making them for the animal model, yet.

Thanks for the tip, probably saved me a few hours of tweaking and forum searching before realizing what I forgot.


part one of a two part tutorial by Jonathan lampel for

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SnowyAcres, regarding your question about the necessity of an image, texture paint mode does require an image to be a canvas on which you paint, but you can start painting with a new blank image if you don’t want to start with an image of fur.

Also, a bit more about hair length… a texture assigned in the particle system’s Textures panel is one more good option to control length. Just go to the texture’s Mapping panel, and set it to use a UV map, and then in the texture’s Influence panel, set the influence to ‘Length.’

Finishing the animal model so it looks satisfactory is more work than I thought, but it is a learning process and I am proud to say that I am discovering better methods and new tools to help with the next model. Hopefully I will finish the model and start with the fur today, so will post an update when I can.

Finished the model, watched the tutorial Small Troll posted & went to Blenderdiplom and watched part 2, then spent the remainder of the day mostly trying to UV unwrap without small pieces scattered about the tiles (I am assuming this is not good). I tried to vertex paint the mesh itself without UV unwrapping but the colour does not appear in rendered view. I searched for a while in BA and by Google search but have not found how to UV unwrap a complicated model like an animal. Last thing I tried was texture paint but was tired and have never used this feature so gave up for the day. If I can somehow just freehand paint the model itself for the skin & fur colour, let me know how please. Until then I will continue trying to figure it out myself first if I can.

Right, I should explain how I was trying to unwrap the model. The only time I have seen info on how to unwrap something was the Blender Guru Christmas tree tutorial, so I tried to follow the example by selecting all the edges at the center line lengthwise from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail, following the underside the model.

Some details can sure be frustrating. I found several pages in the Blender manual about UV unwrapping and managed to do better (now that I know it can be in more than one piece), though there is a couple stray faces I have no idea where they are from, but with all the stretched faces this is now a test model anyway so it does not matter. I then followed part 1 of the tutorial and did a pretty good job with the fur.

I am now stuck trying to figure out texture painting with a new blank image. I do not know if I am supposed to create this in the UV editor where the unwrapped mesh is, or in the texture paint tools panel. I managed to paint the model, then started following part 2 of the tutorial to find the painting disappeared and only the colour I set for the blank image displayed on the model, with the fur unchanged instead of taking the colours & pattern I had painted.

I feel like I am going in circles looking back to the pages in the manual and posts in forums and the tools and settings in Blender trying to find what I am missing. Which way do I create a new blank image to paint the model itself (do I even make a blank image in the UV editor at all?), and how do I apply it so it is there to select in the material node like in part 2 of the tutorial? And is there a way to set the texture brush so it does not apply a second layer of paint when tying to put fine detail or fill gaps?

unwrapping a human model, not quite a cat but the principles are the same! it also covers a bit about setting up for texture painting, but is more focussed on the unwrapping, and doesn’t deal with the texture paint tools at all. but it may be useful

After much reading and experimenting I managed to mostly figure it out and got a rather nice furry animal. I still run into an occasional problem that I have to reload the file and repaint the mesh (such as I tried to remove some paint like in weight painting and the mesh turned dark green and all the paint controls disappeared) but other than that everything is going fairly good. I will make a new scene & model (better this time) and see if I can replicate my success, if so I will say so and mark this thread as solved.

I have finished a second model and did a considerably better job with both the model and the fur. Thanks to the suggestions, referring to the manual, and some tutorials, I have now learned everything I was looking for. This thread is now solved.