I. Types of Hair
Illustration 1.0 (above) - Paul Hair by Neftis3D, Pyrit Hair by SWAM, Anime Hair by Mec4D
1.1 Painted hair
“Painted hair” usually refers to a skin texture in which the scalp is painted to look like hair. Probably the most familiar examples of this are the default textures of Victoria 4 and Michael 4, but plenty of other textures contain options for painted hair as well, usually alongside bald options. Some good examples include Chablis for Genesis/V4 (http://www.daz3d.com/shop/chablis-for-genesis-v4/) and Stefan for M4 and Genesis (http://www.daz3d.com/shop/stefan-for-m4-and-genesis/).
The advantages of painted hair are numerous: it allows for faster renders, it usually has realistic fine detail, and it makes it easy to use hats or other headgear since there’s no separate hair prop or figure to get in the way. They’re also matched to a specific character, since they are part of the skin texture, so you don’t need to worry about finding the right hair prop or figure to go with the character you’re rendering.
However, there is one big disadvantage to painted hair: the shape of the character’s head is the same as if they were bald, meaning that the outline of the head gives the effect away. Some characters (like Stefan, mentioned above) do come with special hair-head morphs that can help to an extent with this issue.
Another, less common meaning of the term “painted hair” is hair that is painted on in postwork, using Photoshop or another program. Basically this means rendering the character without hair, then taking the rendered image and painting hair onto it. This can be a good solution if you have strong 2D art skills, but it’s beyond the scope of this tutorial.
1.2 Conforming Hair Figures and Hair Props
Hair that is a distinct item, rather than painted on, comes in several varieties, which can be distinguished by the file type: .dsf, .duf, and .cr2 are conforming hair figures, .pp2 and .hr2 are hair props. The distinction between .pp2 and .hr2 is that the former can be found in the Props folder under Poser Formats, in the Content Library, while the latter can be found in the Hair folder, also under Poser Formats in the Content Library. Conforming hair figures with a .cr2 extension can be found in the Figures folder.
With some exceptions—short hair just needs to attach to the head and is likely to be a prop, while long hair also needs to respect the rest of the body and is likely to be conforming (so that you don’t have long tresses sinking into the shoulders, for example). Conforming hair is analogous to conforming clothing—at least in theory, it can conform to the body without causing pokethrough or other issues.
In general, conforming hair should be fit to the figure (covered in section 2), while prop hair should be parented to the figure (covered in section 3).
Hair for use with Genesis in DAZ Studio will have the .dsf extension (or .duf for files designed to work in DAZ Studio 4.5). Genesis hair should easily fit to Genesis, but if you want to try using it on another figure, you may need to parent it rather than fitting it.
So how do you tell whether you have a hair prop or hair figure? There are several ways. One is to find the product page or readme documentation for the hair product, and scan it for the file name and type. Another way is to tell based on where you found the hair in the Content Library (if you found it in Smart Content instead, and have Genesis selected, there’s a very good chance that it’s Genesis-type hair). If you found it under “Poser Formats” in the Hair folder (or the Props folder), then it should be a hair prop. If you found it in the Figures folder, it should be a conforming figure. If you found it under “DAZ Studio Formats,” it’s probably Genesis hair. Another method is to click on the Edit menu, choose Preferences, click on the Content Library tab, and check the box for Show File Extensions.
Regardless of whether the hair you are using is a prop or a figure, it probably falls into one of two categories: transparency mapped (transmapped) or fibermesh. More rarely, you may encounter some hair that’s neither; these will likely be highly stylized rather than realistic (Nata Toon Hair is one example). Think of transmapped hair as a series of ribbons attached to a skullcap. The ribbons are textured to look like locks of hair, with transparent stripes and sections for the gaps between hair strands. The last promo image of Pure Hair: Catwalk gives a good illustration of how these ribbons look without the textures and transmaps. Fibermesh hair is more like real hair, with each strand (fiber) represented—although the fibers tend to be somewhat thicker and not as dense as real hair. Fibermesh hair usually has a very high polygon count, so it’s memory-intensive. Transmapped hair can also take a very long time to render, due to the transparency maps. Later in the tutorial, I’ll discuss strategies for rendering hair more efficiently.
Figure 1.0 (above) shows, from left to right, fibermesh hair, transmapped hair, and a geometry-based hair without transmaps. It was rendered in DS4.5 with basic, non-Uber lights. The character is Candace for S5 mixed with Young Teen Julie.
1.3 Other Types of Hair
There are other varieties of hair you’ll hear about, such as procedural hair plugins, dynamic hair, and shader-based hair. True dynamic hair can be found for some programs like Poser and Carrara, but it doesn’t exist for DAZ Studio at this time. It’s similar to dynamic clothing in that it has realistic movement with a sort of gravity to it, and it can even be combed and styled in various ways.
Shader-based hair is basically a fur shader (like the one found in the Supersuit Fantasy Pack or Furify) applied to a figure’s scalp, or to a bodysuit covering the scalp. It can yield results like the mohawk seen in the image at the bottom of this page: http://www.daz3d.com/shop/products/genesis/genesis-michael (although as far as I know it has not been confirmed whether or not that was the method actually used to create the mohawk in that image). This is an unconventional method and not one that this tutorial will cover in any more detail…if you wish to try this, I’d recommend getting the Supersuit, the Supersuit Fantasy Pack, and finding a good tutorial on shaders.
While most if not all hair products will include an .obj file, you may encounter hair that’s in .obj format (without an associated .hr2, .cr2, etc.). Like any .obj file, it can be imported into DAZ Studio. This type of hair would fall into the category of hair props, but it’s rather unusual and will not be discussed in more detail here.
Two new hair plugins for DAZ Studio offer additional options for realistic hair: Look At My Hair (now available in the DAZ shop) and Garibaldi Express (in beta, as of this writing). You can find out more information about these from their official sites, forum threads (LAMH | Garibaldi), and other sources, but the bottom line is either plug-in offers users the ability to create, grow, and shape their own fiber-based hairstyles. I haven’t used either, but I have admired the results I’ve seen from other users. These aren’t truly dynamic (the hair doesn’t behave dynamically in DAZ Studio) but within the plugin it works much like dynamic hair—it can be combed, cut, grown, etc.
II. If the Hair Fits…
When the hair you want to use is compatible with the figure you want to use it on, the procedure is usually very straightforward. There are several ways to fit the hair to your character’s head, and they correspond with the methods for loading clothing or accessories. With your figure selected (the whole figure or just the head), double-click on the appropriate hair icon from Smart Content or the Content Library, or right-click the hair and choose “Load it.” You can also click and drag the hair icon onto your figure (and the figure doesn’t need to be selected in advance for this method to work). Another option is to load the hair separately by double-clicking it without the figure selected, then right-click on the hair once it loads, and choose the option to fit it to the figure (for example, “Fit ‘WildMane Hair’ to…”).
Sometimes this is all you’ll have to do; other times, if the hair loads untextured, or the fit isn’t quite right, or if you want to color or style the hair in a certain way—there will be additional steps. These will depend on the situation, but they are covered in parts IV, V, and VI of the tutorial.
With AutoFit, it’s nearly as simple to use conforming hair made for 4th Generation figures on Genesis—especially in DAZ Studio 4.5. With your figure selected, double-click on the hair. A dialog box will pop up asking you to select the figure that the hair was made for (if you don’t know, consult the readme or the online product description), and the type of object (hair, in this case). The software will do the hard part, leaving the hair conformed to the figure’s head. This should work with all Genesis shapes, but it may not work perfectly with the more extreme ones, so keep that in mind if you want a gorilla with braids or a troll with an updo.
If you’re still using DS 4.0, you can still use this method, but be aware than any morph dials that the hair contains will not be usable after you AutoFit the hair to Genesis. This was fixed in DS 4.5. Alternatively, you can use the Transfer Utility to accomplish this, and keep the morphs intact. See here for details on this method: http://forumarchive.daz3d.com/viewtopic.php?p=3277033#3277033
III. Parenting 101: Not Just for Moms and Dads
When the hair you want to use is not compatible with the figure you want to use it on, all is not lost! Virtually any hair figure or prop that DAZ Studio can load can be made to work with the figure of your choice; it just takes a little more effort. If you’re using Genesis and a hair that was intended for another figure, you can try to AutoFit the hair to the figure. Results vary, and you may lose the ability to use the hair’s built-in morphs if you do this (unless you’re using DAZ Studio 4.5, that is).
An alternative way to get your hair onto your figures is to parent it rather than “fitting” it. The difference is that if the software is not able to adequately get the hair to fit to the figure’s head, you can do it manually instead—but you’ll have to tell the software to make sure the hair moves with the figure so that it doesn’t suddenly come off if you change the figure’s pose, position, or shape. The way to do this is called parenting.
Here is the basic procedure for manually fitting and parenting hair to a figure. We’ll use Mitsu Hair for Aiko 3, which is available for free as part of the Anime Star Fighter product (http://www.daz3d.com/shop/free-3d-models-and-content/anime-star-fighter), as an example, and for the figure let’s say Genesis, but in practice this same method works with virtually any hair and any figure. Start with Genesis (or your figure of choice) in the default position and pose. You can apply a shape or morph either before or after you parent the hair. If you’re using Mitsu Hair and you own the Aiko 3 shape for Genesis, it may be helpful to apply that shape first. Deselect the figure, and then load the hair. It will probably load either too high or too low, but otherwise it should be in the right position assuming you haven’t moved the figure.
Select the hair and go to the Parameters tab. Zoom in so you can see what’s going on. Adjust the y-position slider until the hair is in the right vertical position. You may need to adjust some other sliders as well—such as scale (or one or more of x-scale, y-scale and z-scale). When it’s looking as close to perfect as you can get it, take a look at any morph fit sliders in the Parameters tab, and/or pose sliders in the Posing tab, to fine-tune the fit. These will depend on the hair that you’re using, but often there are sliders that will let you control how the hair fits specific parts of the head, such as the temples, and perhaps move the hairline. The idea is to align the hair’s skullcap with the figure’s head as perfectly as you can—otherwise when you render your scene, you could see something like sideburns that seem to float next to the character’s head, or bangs sprouting from the forehead. If you’re not sure, it may help to do a test render to see how things look. The next section of the tutorial will discuss this procedure in more detail.
Finally, you’ll want to parent the hair to the figure. There are a couple of ways to do this. You can go to the Scene tab, click on the hair in the list, and drag it to the figure’s head (you’ll have to expand out Genesis by clicking the triangle next to it in the Scene tab, and the triangles next to each node, until you see the listing for the head). Alternatively, you can right-click the hair in the main viewing pane and select Change Parent. A dialog box will pop up—select your figure’s head from the list (again, you may need to expand out the figure by clicking on the triangles), make sure “Parent in Place” is checked, and click Accept. Note that there may be more than one “Head” node in the list…be careful to choose the one that belongs to the correct figure.
Now that your hair is parented, you should be able to move the figure around, or pose it, and the hair will stay on the head! If you change the figure’s shape, the hair should still stay in place, but you may need to adjust the fit again by using those sliders in the Parameters tab, and perhaps the Posing tab. If you go to the Scene tab, you’ll notice that the hair is no longer a separate entry—it now appears nested under the figure’s head in the list.
Another thing you can do with prop hair that you may not be aware of: you can convert it into a figure so that it will conform to Genesis (not sure if this works on other figures). RAMWolff’s tutorial on the subject explains how to accomplish this…it’s easier than you may think: http://www.daz3d.com/forums/viewthread/1866/
Example 1: Using Mitsu Hair for Aiko on Genesis
1. Load Genesis
2. With Genesis not selected, load Mitsu Hair for A3 (see Figure 1-1)
3. Select Mitsu Hair, and, on the Parameters tab, slide the “yTrans” dial until the hair seems to be sitting on top of the figure’s head
4. Zoom in and rotate the camera to check to see if the fit is correct, or if it needs work.
5. If necessary, adjust the scaling and translation dials to perfect the fit. In this case, the fit seems fine to me, except for some pokethrough in the Genesis figure’s back that we’ll fix later (see Figure 1-2)
6. Parent the hair to the figure’s head by right-clicking on it, select “Change ‘A3 Mitsu Hair’ Parent…” and choose your figure’s head from the list (see Figure 1-3)
7. Now you can move, pose, and reshape your figure, and the hair will stay where it belongs! Please note that if you change the shape of the figure’s head, you may need to make some changes to the hair to make it fit properly. For example, if you dial up the Victoria 5 shape to 1.00, you’ll see the scalp poking through the hair’s center part. To fix this, I adjusted the yScale and zScale both to 101.5%. That seemed to do the trick (there are probably other ways to fix this, also).
8. Once your figure is shaped and posed the way you want it, and the fit of the hair has been adjusted if necessary, you can make other changes to the hair if desired. For example, if the hair is colliding with the figure’s back, or if you wish it to look windswept, there may be movement morphs or poses you can dial to achieve the right look. This process will be covered later on in the tutorial.
See Figures 1-4 and 1-5 for the parameters dial formula I used, and final rendered image. Products used in the creation of this image include Victoria 5, V5 Elite Skin Texture Valerie, Fiery Genesis (pose, though I made some changes to it), Onyx for Genesis (clothes), Chablis for V4 and Genesis (lighting), and Light Dome Pro (backdrop).
(Version 0.9.2, last edited 2013/01/08)