Hello Maxers. If you've ever made opacity-mapped polygonal hair, you'll know what a pain in the glutes it is to get all the planes sculpted & positioned nicely & densely over a characters scalp (& avoiding intersections too). So, check this scene out...
(r-click & save target)
-uses simcloth3 to lie the hair down in a reasonable-looking & quite predictable manner (hair meshes keep their initial curvature), & since it works on a control mesh below meshsmooth it calculates in seconds. This could form a base for collapsing & some final mesh tweaking, or even left as it is so more forces & simulations can be applied (cloth hair effects like squaresoft's final fantasy fmv characters).
note: in the example scene, you'll need to click 'start calculation' in the hair mesh's simcloth modifier.
So, that's the rough idea, but it'd be great to refine this to a re-usable system that could automatically make a full head of hair in a similar way to a proper hair plugin (where you'd typically set a distribution area & a number of 'model hairs' to interpolate & fill in the area).
My idea was to have a 'scalp' mesh that acts as distribution surface for the initial outstretched hair planes, & maybe uses a scatter-type modifier/script that can assign different hair plane sizes/lengths based on perhaps a greyscale bitmap or vertex colours applied to the scalp (so a simple scaling function based on the scalp's colour at its origin). I don't think the default scatter modifier does this, but maybe there's an existing plugin/script or partcle system...
Another important aspect is how the hair planes are aligned in order to get them to 'fall' into the correct place, eg. looking at the example scene you can see how curvature & orientation affects the fall direction. I've no idea how this sort of thing could be incorporated into an initial scatter or particle distribution.
I'm sure you clever buggers out there can think of something better, so it'd be great to hear your ideas!
Original thread with replies can be read here (http://www.cgtalk.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=93722)