Getting the most out of your hair!

revenger681revenger681 Posts: 155
edited December 1969 in Carrara Discussion

No, I'm not talking about that flaky stuff, I'm talking about texture, bump and transparency effects that work native with DAZ and Poser, that are sometimes lost when used in Carrara. I was wondering if someone has some tips to make sure that these textures are imported correctly into Carrara. I found a tutorial once, years ago for C6, but I stopped using Carrara quite some time ago and can't seem to find it any longer.

If someone can post some simple steps on using hair props in C8, It'd be appreciated! I'm not interested with the hair tool, or dynamic hair tools in carrara, I just want store-bought hair (From RuntimeDna, and daz/renderocity) to look as good as it should in C8 (NOT pro).


  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,694
    edited December 1969

    I thought this was going to be about Dynamic Hair! D'oh!

    The biggest issues you're going to have using figure or prop hair shaders will be the Highlight and Shininess channels. The color channel may also need adjustment. I usually tone down the highlight and shininess a bit. If there's a multiplier in the color channel I'll usually ditch that as well, unless it's making a blond texture map brunette and that's what I want.

    As to making it stand out, there's a couple things you could try. First is to remember it's limitations. A rim light isn't going to give that awesome halo of light you get with real hair, no matter what you do to it. Carrara's dynamic hair can come pretty close!

    A good suggestion I had once was to copy and paste the texture map from the color channel into the translucency channel. You will need to adjust the brightness of the image map down. The amount will depend on the lighting. The other thing I do is copy either the color map, alpha map or bump map into the highlight channel and adjust the brightness a bit. In the shininess channel I use a 1-100 numeric slider and adjust it to around 10% to start. I'll go either up or down depending on what I see.

    Personally, if I'm not animating, I really do prefer the Dynamic hair.

  • revenger681revenger681 Posts: 155
    edited December 1969

    Thanks, Evilproducer!
    I think that was the tip I was told years ago, I knew it had something to do with copying the textures from one channel to the other but could not remember which map to put into what channel.

    The Translucency channel is sort of similar to the transparency maps used in Daz right? If so: Would a map ending in "T" for transparency be better used there? If the hair texture includes one?

    I'm sorting all these tips and etc. I'm finding everywhere into Evernote so I can keep track of them. :)

  • evilproducerevilproducer Posts: 8,694
    edited December 1969

    The "T" would more than likely refer to "transmap" which is shorthand for transparency. Ironically, in Carrara, you'd want that to go into the Alpha Channel in your shader. You would want to use a color map in the Translucency channel because it isn't trasnparent, but it will let light pass through. The light will take on the colors of the colored texture map. Hpw much light is passed through will depend on the "brightness" of the map, which can be adjusted with the slider below the thumbnail.

  • wetcircuitwetcircuit Posts: 0
    edited December 1969

    First thing: after you drop the hair from the browser onto your figure, double click the hair "model" to open it in the vertix room. select the entire mesh and add 1 level of smoothing. This will help to soften any "hard" polygons.

    in the Assembly room go: EDIT --> Remove Unused Masters --> Consolidate Duplicate Shaders... This will reduce the instances of shaders, since it's an automated process it might miss some or there may be reasons why you want several instances of the same shader (for editing later...)

    in the Shader Room, make sure any image texture is at the top of the Color Channel. The translation from Poser sometimes multiplies the image map with grey when translating Poser's lighting info - there is no equivalent light/shader function in Carrara. A grey multiplier takes away detail in Carrara, but it is possible to change a color this way, so if the image map is mixed with a color it may be intentional... You can also tint (usually darken) a Poser hair shader this way.

    Last shader trick is the one most people miss, but imo is what kills prop hair in Carrara. Change the Translucency Channel to a color, usually very dark and unsaturated. This allows back lighting to brighten thin hair strands, but more importantly it softens the shadows. Most hair props are several "leaves" or "plates" of polygons with alpha map transparency layered to give depth. Carrara's shadows are too strong in this case and each poly layer can end up casting a dark shadow on the layer beneath, making the polygon structure of the hair very obvious. Adding a bit of translucency allows more light to pass to the next layer, even to the forehead, which helps hair look more natural with the light-bending properties of fine hair. No matter the hair color I've found it looks best with a dark brown translucency.

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  • revenger681revenger681 Posts: 155
    edited December 1969

    Thanks guys for all the tips! I am going to put them into practice today. I got some new hair and I'm curious to see how it's going to look. I picked up RuntimeDna's "Desir Hair". I liked it's description:

    - Desir hair is composed of tens of thin strands for more realism and dynamism (it's not trans-mapped hair).

    - Desir hair is composed of 8 "parts", each part morph independently, this allows great control over the hair movements. The hair PARTS are:
    * Bangs (R&L): the front bangs.
    * Front (R&L): the front part of the hair (in front of the shoulders).
    * Back (R&L): the back part of the hair (behind the shoulders).
    * Micro (R&L): the thinner layer of hair (on top of the main hair).

    - There is a total of 86 different morphs included:
    * 30 for the back,
    * 32 for the front,
    * 16 for the bangs
    * 8 for the micro hair.
    You can simply set various morphs for each part to achieve the look and movement you need or you can use the included poses.

    I've found several other hair of the same style (Tiny strands each with their own bones and etc, instead of just a mesh/map or whatever you call it). These hairs look awesome, but I can imagine they add a lot to the render time, but to me that's O.K. In renders my eyes are usually first drawn to the figures hair.

    Some guy got that hair and posted this with it: I instantly wanted it!

  • scottidog2scottidog2 Posts: 312
    edited December 1969

    Thank You evilproducer and Holly. You folks are amazing. Have learn a lot of useful stuff about hair reading this thread.

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