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In 3ds Max 2010 Essential Training, instructor Steve Nelle provides a thorough introduction to the techniques needed to take an animated project from start to finish. Steve provides new users with everything they need to know to get up and running, while offering experienced users plenty of tips and tricks they can apply to improve their productivity and workflow. He walks through the program's newly designed interface, details how to create both simple and complex objects, and shows how to bring things to life through a variety of keyframing techniques. Exercise files accompany the course.
Thanks to PhotoSpin.com for use of their photos in this course.
With believable hair and fur being fairly common these days on most animated characters, 3Ds Max has incorporated a handy little modifier to get the job done. Let's take a look at how it works. This is a file named Hair Modifier. Let's go ahead and select the object and get into the Modifier List. Under the World-Space Modifier category choose the Hair and Fur. Now it's pretty easy to see the changes made in the scene. Let's go ahead and render the Perspective View real quick.
As you can see, it's pretty straightforward applying hair to an object. Let's see if we can limit the hair to being only on the top half of the surface. To do that, we'll close the render and then open up the Hair and Fur modifier. At the sub-object level, click on Polygon. What we are going to do, in the Front view, we'll select the top half of surface as a series of polygons. Once you've done that, you will want to go back to the right-hand side and click on the Update Selection button, in the Selection category.
This basically signals to Max that we'd now like to reposition our hair only to the selected polys. With the change in place, let's render again. Now as you can see things are still a little bit patchy in the front. If you want your hair to be a little thicker, you can change the number of hair strands. To do that, on the right-hand side we'll right-click in the Modify column and we'll then from the list choose General Parameters. This just gives us a quicker way to drop further down in the Modifier commands. The very top setting in the General Parameters has our Hair Count set to 15,000.
Let's changed that to 50,000. Once you lock that in, let's render again. In as much as the majority of the patches are filled in, to save ourselves a little render time for our demonstration, let's back that Hair Count number down to its original 15,000. So we can then have a baseline reading from which to work from, let's render again. You can also control the color of the hair under Material properties.
Let's take our Tip Color to a bright green then render that out. Now let's take our Root Color to let's say a dark navy blue and then render again. Up against the lightened surface, you can now see the dramatic affect that changes made. Now if you ever find yourself in a situation where you'd like to add little aging into the hair, you can do that using a setting called Mutant. Controlling both the color of the aging and the amount. To get a good idea of how this works, let's first of all change both the Tip and Root Color of the hair to black.
Do you see the white that we were picking up on the right-hand side? That's actually because the material has been setup to have a little shine. To eliminate that white shiny area, you'll go below the Tip and Root Colors and then take the Specular level down to 0. Once you have done that, let's render to see what that change has done. So there is your pitch black tuft of hair. This thing about aging the hair. You'll want to go to the Mutant controls above Specular and off to the right let's change the Mutant % to let's say 25.
This basically blends a little of the Mutant Color into the black hair strands. If you want the whitening effect to be a little more prominent, take the Mutant % to 50. And you can see what that's done. There is also a handful of preset styles and types that you can choose from. You are going to find those in the section called tools. In that category about halfway down, we have a control called Presets. Let's go ahead and click on Load. Okay, there you go. 13 different preconfigured hair styles that you can pick directly from your list.
Let's try the one on the bottom lower left called fuzzy brown. We can render again and take a look at how that's turned out. Let's try another one. We'll go back in the Presets and this time we'll go the top row, second from the left, let's choose tall grass. So this would work great in example or maybe you're creating an outdoor scene where you have a lawn somewhere within view. Let's try one more.
This time we'll again stay on the left-hand side, second row. Let's choose redscraggle. Now again, we are getting a little white on the right-hand side being caused by the Specular setting on the hair material. Let's go back down in the materials and lower the Specular value to 0. See the difference that's made? Now if things get little frizzy on you, you can also control that. You have some Frizz parameters. Let's go find those. From the settings, we're going to want to take out Frizz Tip to let's say in this case down to 0.
This simply removes a little of the frizz that we're getting at the tip of each hair. It's even possible to interactively comb or style the hair to your liking. Watch this. We'll go ahead and close the render, and we are going to want to go back up Modify column to the Styling category. At the top of that section, you'll see a button that says Style Hair. Go ahead and click that. When you position your mouse within the viewport, you're going to have a green shape that's now attached to the mouse. This is basically your brush.
I am going to be working in the Perspective View combing the sides of my hair up. One you've got things the way you like them, you can Render again. Look at the difference that's made. Let's touch this up a tad more. This time I'll go back in the Perspective View and I am going to comb this a little bit more down to the sides here, there we go. Once I am done, I'll render again. Now when you're done with your combing, you are going to want to go back to the right, and click on Finish Styling.
So there you go with adding a little hair to something in the scene. The modifier is fun. It's practical, and I am sure you've got a project or two where you can put it to work.
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