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Hair Sculpting Tutorial

By Joe Lee

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Date Added: 9th December 2009
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The following are some of my observations while learning the new features in ZBrush. It is my hope that this process will help shed light on achieving a unique look as well as open new ideas for other techniques.

Blocking It In

The goal was to add hair to a pre-existing head. Looking for a suitable base form for the hair, I settled on the Sphereinder3D tool, which has been a resident in the ZBrush tool library since I can remember. I immediately opened the Tool>Preview window so I could see the changes I am about to implement below.
Going to Tool>Initialize, I set:

- Coverage to about 270.
- In the Deformation section, I set Rotate with only z highlighted, to 45.

In the Preview window you will see what will be the front of the head.

Returning to the head, I pressed Tool>Subtool>Append to add the hair base to the Spereinder3D tool. Tool>Deformation>Offset was used to properly position the hair base. Once it is in the general vicinity that I like, I pressed Preview>Store to make this the new default position of this tool.

Now on to shaping the hair. I pulled on it with the Snakehook brush and a Dots stroke. Keep in mind that you want as evenly a distributed mesh as possible so I used the Nudge brush and Smooth brush to even things out as much as possible. If you were to pull the front of the hair down the forehead some, you would notice some stretching from the rest of the hair base. Use the Smooth brush from the dense mesh area to the sparse mesh area and you will see it average out more cleanly. The Nudge brush also speeds this process up as well. You want to do this before dividing.

I then proceeded to block in the hair with the Standard and Pinch brushes. Stroke was set to Freehand with a Mouse Avg of about 4 and the LazyMouse was pressed.

The trick I was trying to pull off was the illusion of the hair growing from under the head so I needed to try to keep the beginning of the hairline just under the head. I wanted to give the hair base enough 'runway' to start a stroke under the head and get it to surface as a strand of hair. You may need to toggle on/off the visibilty of the head subtool to get the look you want. If you get to a point to where you are starting to like your results then save everything.

I kept my hair base a primitive 3D tool until near the end after I divided it several times. But at some point you may want to make a polymesh 3D tool out of it. It's up to you. If you plan on going with mesh projection later on, it may not be necessary as you will most likely retopologize.

continued on next page >

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