Long Hairstyle

Character Breakdown

Dudosinka

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Dudosinka

Character Artist

Introduction

Hi, my name is Dudosinka. I am a Character Artist and work as a freelancer.

Inspiration

I was inspired by Scandinavian and Norwegian Nordic motifs. I also really liked the Horizon Zero Dawn game, especially the hairstyle of the main character; it’s just amazing.

Video games often dislike long hair due to the difficulty of creating and implementing it into gameplay. However, I decided to try to make a hairstyle combining long hair and easy follow-through.

In this article, I will discuss my approach to creating hairstyles and hair cards, share tips on how to improve my work, and explore different ways to accomplish certain tasks.

Selecting and Analyzing References

The first thing I always start with is the selection and study of photos and material. References consist of about three groups:

  1. Helps in creating hair growth direction (photos with hair growth direction or other material).
  2. Helps in creating the shape and silhouette (these can be photos of real people’s hairstyles or your own concept art).
  3. Assists in creating micro detailing, frizz, and single hairs.
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Sculpt

After creating the hairstyle design, you should look at the shape of the hairstyle on the head itself. I create a blockout sculpt as it is easier to make adjustments at this stage.

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Flow

Analyzing the flow of hair growth will help you achieve a more organic result. You should always pay attention to rhythm and silhouettes.

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Create Cards

At this point, once again, I recommend studying references and creating strands to match your hairstyle.

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In my case, the cards include dense hair for braids, basic hair strands, and strands for detailing.

Hair cards can be created in different ways. For example, when creating strands and baking in the Blender program; I advise following a tutorial on creating hair from Flipped Normals.

I can also recommend two highly specialized programs: Hair Strand Designer and Fibershop. I used the Fibershop program as it helps to achieve faster results. For a complete guide on the program, I advise you to read the documentation. In this article, I will show the result I got.

The maps I use to create hair material are diffuse, depth, normal, and alpha. For narrower tasks, you may need translucency and an ID map.

Create Braids

Braids and other hairstyle elements are best done geometrically because it is a more optimized version. For more details, you can watch a video on YouTube from the author Nivord. YouTube video.

A mesh of five vertices is created and rotated into the curved part of the braid, then duplicated via the array modifier.

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We cast the skin modifier to see the shape of the braid, then duplicate the array with an offset.

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One of the repeating parts is selected and duplicated to create a more monolithic and tile-like pattern; turn on the merge function in the modifier.

Add the modifiers again.

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If we want to attach the braid to the head, we duplicate the braid for the base and work with the one that will be on the head. We duplicate its parts under the strands and move one end away. I advise you to use references.

Combine the two resulting parts by placing them next to each other beforehand. Connect the points into a monolithic mesh.

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Next, we convert the mesh to a curve.

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Select the end points of the braid and scale the curve to give the silhouette using Alt+S. Select the end points of the braid bundles and do the same.

Next, we set the profile of the curve. We can draw an arbitrary profile with the draw tool, as well as from the circle bezier.

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Also, to vary the pattern, select random points with a small ratio and rotate through proportional selection via Ctrl+T.

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Then we select the last vertices at the bundles and move down the z-axis with proportional selection so that the braid does not float on the head.

To position the braid on your head, use an auxiliary curve. Also, unravel the end of the braid a bit for a more organic effect.

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After converting the curve to mesh, its sweep will coincide with the dimensions of your UV canvas. Do not unfold the scythe, but scale it horizontally and spread the islands along the x-axis.

Vertically move the scythe is not worth it.

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Optimization tip: the more complex the profile, the more interesting the result, but the more polygons. In the profile settings, specify preview resolution 1-2.

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You will also be able to use the decimate modifier and reduce the polycount of the overall hairstyle.

Working with the Cards

After we have defined the bundles, we create a new document in the Fibershop program with cards.

Then we unload textures into the Blender program and create cards for strands and braids.

Layering Cards

Next, I unload the alpha map and create the custom cards. The process is described in more detail in this video: YouTube video.

To create the strands, I duplicate cards with different textures from one layer in a kind of house so that the strand has the most depth and variation. I use the curve bezier tool to place the cards on the head.

The first layer is the base layer, which covers the head. It is made up of densely textured cards.

The second layer is a layer of cards which dilute the shape and create transitions. I use them on the braid, on the temple area, and on the head.

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Use an auxiliary hair growth line.

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Detailing – a layer with single cards that set the silhouette of the hairstyle is also used on the temples, bangs, braids, and ponytail.

Microdetailing – a layer consisting of a particle system, with a profile of a single card or collection, with 1-3 hairs in the texture, to give more realism to the hairstyle. I add it on the tassels of braids and hairstyles in the back, as well as bangs in the growth area. I rely on adding fluffiness and silhouette.

Layer on the face – short cards with strands to design eyebrows, as well as elements of my braids.

Use the Flow from the Sculpt

When creating a hairstyle, follow the shape and direction of the cards, moving smoothly from primary to secondary shapes.

Creating Material in Blender

The structure of my material looks like this: The maps diffuse, depth, normal, roughness, and alpha multiplied by color attribute noise are connected to the BSDF node.

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Of course, it can always be refined; I have shown you the material I use.

Optimization tip: you can combine the alpha map and the albedo map in Photoshop to get one map. I suggest texture noise swept into your hairstyle to break up into smaller strands.

It adds variety to the silhouette. I use this kind of noise on my bangs and braids. You can see more details in this video: YouTube video.

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I use the color attribute to mix with noise through the mix node.

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I paint the desired parts in the color attribute with black.

Then I multiply alpha with the result. The output is the mixed alpha.

Conclusion

This is the result I achieved by following this pipeline.

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In the future, I want to finalize him and improve his skills. Also, there will be a post with the finished character on ArtStation soon. Thanks for reading :3