Yet Another Polygon Hair Thread

Hi all,
i know this has been talked about a lot on BA, but (a) a lot of threads i’ve come across in searches are literally years old and therefore i feel the newer versions of Blender might negate some of the approaches etc, and (b) since this is obviously a very popular topic, as well as asking a few questions here i was wondering if the subject of hair - perhaps both particle and poly - might warrant a sub-forum in Support itself?

anyway :
I’m finding particles a nightmare. just trying to comb the damn things into place and not get them pushing through my scalp emitter is a seemingly impossible task, or at least one that’s eating up so much time as to be counterproductive. Poly seems to be the way to go.
what i want, is primarily do some renders, and then hopefully some animations, just short things until i maybe get more experienced (and a far better/faster machine). For renders, my goal would be, say, something of the quality that DAZ/Poser hair seems to show. i’m not sure if DAZ hair is poly, but it would seem to be as i don’t think it has a particle system? whatever, that’s my goal, so a few questions (bear in mind my characters are long-haired girlies) :

  1. Is it better to sculpt the bulk of the hair shape as one item, then lay in the long strands over it, or just build up everything in strips?
  2. What’s the best way to get a natural feel to it, for hanging down (gravity, depending on pose) or over the shoulders etc, and for movement : can you add a, say, cloth sim to it? or do you add Collision (or a forcefield, as one Youtube vid showed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N8VdjBsrk9M) ?
  3. Would i be able to maybe weight paint the hair so that it would refer to its original sculpted shape? (Eg, in animation, if she was running - making the hair bounce and stream out - and then stopped)
  4. Is it worth combining the polys - as the majority of the effect - w/ maybe a simplified Particle system? i’m thinking maybe a “few” Particle strand hairs in between the polys might help sell the effect?

probably more questions to come as i try stuff…

many thanks…

:-/

thought i’d get at least one answer

It really boils down to personal preference. Some folks get really good results with particle hair, and the Blender Foundation keeps improving the look by adding cycles support with each build, but most characters these days use polygon hair, due to the faster render times and compatibility with other program. Daz hair is made with polys, and Poser has a hair built-in system that, quite frankly, never seemed to take off.

The best I can offer is to experiment with both and decide which you prefer.

One way to get a natural look with poly hair is to give it an armature and animate it separately. The Blender Foundation did something similar with Proog’s jacket in Elephants Dream.

You might try adding a hair texture on strips of transparent “cloth” and see how that works when animating. You might also try shape keys to get a streaming, bouncing, windblown effect to poly hair.

I haven’t tried it, but I suspect the shape key approach might give the best results. Shape keys are used frequently in facial animation and lip synch, so look for tutorials there.

thanks for the replies.
i did experiment w/ poly hair but the transparency was causing problems, as per another thread i raised :
http://www.blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?313836-Transparency-Issues

i’m trying particles at the mo, using the pretty spiffy Hair Net add-on to get the look before messing about and finessing. Still think polys mighta been better/easier but i’ll have to see what i can do about the transparency.