Is There a Polygon Limit for Creating My CGI Character?

Hi everyone,

I have a pretty close to finished character with about 120,000 hair particle strands on my characters heard, and of course eyelashes, eyebrows, and a full beard. Getting my character to even move with this many polygons in the 3D viewport is a little slow sometimes, but with the right settings, it works. Within a few months from now or hopefully less time, I’m planning on creating a very short film (like a minute or less) of my characters face talking. How can I get all these hair particles to move smoothly during the animation and also have the beard move along with my characters’ face during the animation?

Right now my character will not even move with this many hair particles. Do I need to convert the particles to a mesh or is it easier to just keep them as hair particles? I know that CGI films use millions of polygons but I don’t know how they do it. I’m a newbie in this area.

For computer specs, I have an Intel I9, nVidia RTX 2070 Max Q GPU, 64 gb ram and 8 gb of video memory (I hope this is enough to accomplish this).

Thanks in advance

Well I think it’s one of those things that just depends on your model and how your using it. But I’m pretty sure blender has a technical limit of 10 million particles, so I would assume this can be done without a problem. Render times will probably be your biggest problem. In terms of stability and control, concerting to a mesh may be easier, but again, it all depends.

In short, you can do it, but be careful of how many other things your including in your scenes.

EDIT: I think I remember hearing that using hair children helps with stability. Maybe look into that if you’re not using it.

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The use of children is here important so on the one hand you can turn them off in the viewport for better performance and its also easier to create a beard with this method. This is also the method pros use normally. In the process of creating it, its as low poly as possible to making working on it easier. For the render the particles have lots of children and the resolution of the mesh is also higher…

Regarding the problem that they are stuck in place. From where are they emitting? Directly from the character or did you create a second mesh for this? Normally when you create the particles directly on the face without a second mesh they move along is and also deform when the face deforms.

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RAM = max # of polygons in your model
More cores = faster renders, but some processes (like modeling) only utilize one core.
Faster single-core processing speed = (probably) faster modeling speed (like moving things around in the viewport)

Funny thing is there isn’t really better hardware available. My iMac has better single core speeds than the $50,000 fully maxed out Mac Pro. 4.6 gHz turbo boost vs. 4.4 gHz turbo boost. Pretty sure the best available is 5.0 gHz from Apple, but maybe there are faster processors out there. Idk.

Always use children. I lag at 100,000 strands too, but with 10,000 stands with 10 children per strand I can move it with only minor lag & do hair dynamics in the viewport. Both have 100,000 strands, but the performance speed is night & day.

I did create a second mesh with hair in the same exact place as my character’s head in the primary mesh. The reason for this is that the version of my character’s head with the hair has a glitch and the face has visual defects that can’t be fixed without messing up the high poly mulitres version. Is it possible to transfer the hair particles from the second mesh to the primary head mesh without a problem? I’ve already researched this but I cannot figure out how to do this. I also realized the reason the hair wasn’t moving with my character is that the second mesh didn’t have the armature modifier added to the stack lol Now that that’s added, all the hair on his face moves properly and it’s a little slow in the viewport but definitely manageable. Lastly, right now I’m not using children but when I do, the hairstyle completely messes up. I don’t want to have to do it all over again. Is there a way to use children and keep the same hairstyle?

These problems are common for grooming in blender and the new hair type object thats currently in development should solve that… So in the future it will be easier…

I currently dont know any way to transfer hair particles but there are multiple ways to make the hair follow without it. You could parent the hair mesh to the Head bone or use the 3 vertex parent method. That should be enough for the top and side hair since these arent deforming.

For the beard i am afraid that has to be redone when you have facial expressions of some kind.

The children have various settings to adjust and since you already have so many particles that would not help in your situation because it would add even more. You groom with children in mind so that you only use a few guide hairs and the rest is children and some noise or clump.

Though I don’t have any facial expressions yet, I do have some armature deformation bones for his mouth and the facial hair and beard are deforming with his face when he opens and closes his mouth. What is the reason I would need to redo the beard for the expressions? Just curious, I’m still new to all this.

When the beard is not directly on the mesh that is deforming, it will not look good. That is not a problem for the head because up there is not much to deform like in the face. When the hair is emitting directly from the face everything moves with the bones and shapekeys automatically.

It might be possible to use a second mesh for the beard when you only use bones for the face with the weight transform modifier so it deforms exactly like the face but its more an idea and not tested… But it will not work with shapekeys and there are normally used in addition to bones in the face.

Hope that helps and when you have more questions ask. I am actually also currently making a realistic human so…

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This is what it looks like so far when he opens and closes his mouth. There’s two different meshes perfectly overlapping each other with exactly the same dimensions, but the one with the facial and head hair has an invisible head mesh so you can’t see them both overlapping. It looks okay so far I think, but I’ll have to see what it looks like when I actually add the rest of the bones for the face. Thanks again for all the help!

I assume they also share the weight of the bones? This setup can work but not with shapekeys and so on…

yeah they’re both using the same exact armature with the same weights. I plan on just using bones and I’ll def share an update when I get to the next stage whenever I figure it out lol

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