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Submitted on
January 12, 2012
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Polygon Hair Tutorial - 3dsMax by Athey Polygon Hair Tutorial - 3dsMax by Athey
It's huge - 13,884 pixels in height - and vaguely long. It also has typos and spelling errors, but I'm not going back to fix them right now.

Anyway, I've always had people asking me how I do hair, and a while back I did go into one of my files and take a bunch of pictures to sort of give an example of how my hair is put together, but it wasn't a step-by-step, during-the-process sort of tutorial.

So when I was getting ready to make hair for this model, I decided to just take screenshots as I went, so here's the results. Hope it clears things up for a few people, since this is one of the more common questions I get.
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Suu999 Nov 5, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I admire your patiency for making 3D hair^^  You're so skilled!  I've tried to make it before, and have epically failed, so I just cheat and buy 3D hair from Daz3D :D
Deltaforce11 Sep 15, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
been in maya school for 1 month and im finding it all very very hard!! how was it for u?
Athey Sep 16, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
My first 'real' 3D program was 3D Studio 4 for DOS, and it was a very long time ago... I believe I was it was 1998.  Then at my first college we learned Maya, but the teacher really had no idea what she was doing, and it was her first year teaching.

That school actually went out of business after my 2nd year, but I'd already left by then.  My 2nd school, we did 3D Studio Max first year, and Maya 2nd year.

3D Studio Max was my favorite for a very ver long time.  I do believe, that if I still had the option, I would probably opt to use it, but I only own a license for Maya, and I'm on an iMac now, and there's no 3dsmax for Mac - only Maya.  So I use Maya.

It's a squirelley program, honestly.  It often feels like half the features were never finished or bug tested.  Plus there's this whole mindset among the development community that if something doesn't do exactly what you want it to, you should just write your own script to do what you want.  But I'm like - I don't want to freaking learn MEL scripting.  F*ck me, huh? - so instead of actually fixing the tools, they leave them 'open' for scripters to modify.  Or they just leave features out all together.

3Dsmax unquestionably has a zillion more modeling tools than Maya does, and since I learned 3Ds max and then Maya (I don't count the 1st college with Maya - teacher had no idea what she was doing and only taught NURBS) it was like going from a huge garden filled with flowers, into a small white room with a couple cubes in it.  It was quite frustrating.

Maya is extremely unintuitive.  It can technically do most everything that 3dsmax can do, and probably a few extra things that 3dsmax can't, the problem is that it's freaking difficult to find what you want, or get it to work correctly.
Deltaforce11 Sep 16, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
done maya for a month now and i feel what u are saying, its very difficult at certain areas, and there is alot of things u have to check out before u can make something, but since im a noob its normal to feel that way. there are so much to understand to make something simpel. when u started did it feel like u will never understand this or the opposite?

for me it feels very hard and slow, but its only been 1 month, next year i will choose between game design or animasion, im gonna choose animasion.. :)
Athey Sep 20, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
There really is a large learning curve.  I remember feeling like I was walking blind for a long time.  And other people in my class understood some things that I hadn't figured out yet, so I always felt stupid for asking and didn't ask.  Just ask.  Seriously.  Just ask someone and don't be afraid of looking stupid - it's a huge program and there's so many different faccets of it, that its impossible to master all of them, so you have to pick and choose what areas to pay attention to.  It makes it easy to miss details about other areas, and it's really only years of using it that you finally start to understand how to use a decent portion of the program.  There's still big chunks of Maya that I don't know anything about because I've never had to use them.  The whole compositing area - I know nothing.  The dynamics?  Nothing.  Never needed to.  But I know my way backwards and forwards of the rigging system, the unwrapping, modeling, etc.  Animation has never been a focus of mine - only so much as is needed, to rig things adequately for animation.  So I know there's this whole system for animation that I don't know crap about.

The program is just too big to learn it all.
But that's also, arguably a downside, because it's just too big to put all the great stuff into every area (although, arguably, 3dsmax has done it fine but... whatever).

But yeah - it's very common to feel like everything is hard and slow and confusing at the beginning.  It just takes practice to get the hang of it.

Deltaforce11 Sep 20, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
thx a million, feel mucg better, know to find my speciality hehe
TehRage Dec 30, 2012  Student Digital Artist
This is a great example for a different way to do hair, thank you so much
HannahNew Nov 9, 2012  Professional Filmographer
Brilliant! I've tried to make hair a number of different ways. This one looks like it will give me the results I've been wanting. THANKS
YumeNoTsuzuki Oct 9, 2012  Student Digital Artist
So apparently reading your fanfiction is now helping me with my university work. (Since that's how I found you here and now I'm looking at this to figure out how I want to model my character's hair ^^) You're brilliant. Thank you for sharing~
Athey Oct 9, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
lol - it's always interesting when my two worlds manage to collide. I recently had an old roommate/college friend send me a text that said "What would your reply be if I said 'Again and Again' to you?" and I just laughed at him and said something like 'You've been reading Harry Potter Fanfiction!' He shot back that I WROTE Harry Potter Fanfiction - and smutty slash fanfiction, at that. I just pointed out that he was READING smutty slash fiction and we just laughed at each other.

I've got a couple co-workers that are vaguely aware that I write Harry Potter fanfiction (One's wife cosplays and works at an anime/japanese stuff store, and used to write Twilight Fanfiction, so we had that in common), and it's not like I keep my fanfictiony stuff a secret (use the same damn username everywhere - which just happens to be my real name as well).

Still, I don't think a load of people realize that I write, just like I don't think a lot of my ffnet readers realize that I'm a 3D artist working for Sony on video games like Resistance and Uncharted. But then again, its been my experience that most of the people who follow me on ffnet aren't even familiar with games.
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