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Hair and fur are vital details for realistic 3D models, and their texture can vary wildly—whether soft, prickly, tousled, matted, frizzy, spiky, or straight. This course, with animator Aaron F. Ross, shows you how to create, render, and customize all different types of fur in Maya. Fur starts in Maya with the Fur node, where you attach a fur description and define essential properties. Then you'll learn to map fur to your models with texture and style it with the Paint Fur Attributes tool. Plus, discover how to control shading and shadowing, render out your model in Maya or mental ray, and animate dynamic hair with the nHair system. In the end, you'll have textures you can use to create luxuriant heads of hair, fur of many stripes, and even other materials like grass.
Quite often when you render fur, you will see that the fur doesn't seem even distributed across the surface. Maybe it has to do with the density being greater or less in a certain area, or maybe it simply has to do with the length of the fur. By default, when you add fur, it's going to be parameterized based upon the UV space of the model. In other words, if you have very large UV faces, then the same amount of fur is going to be distributed across that large UV face. And if you have a small UV face then you will get the same number of hairs there.
Meaning that where the UV's face is smaller and tighter you're going to get more dense fur. Well, we can fix this by equalizing the fur across the surface. And we can even customize that equalization. To do that, we can go into the Fur Global Render Settings. In the Fur menu > Fur Render Settings. And up here at the top you'll see Fur Render Options > Equalizer Maps. And right now I've got it set to Default Equalizer Maps, which means that Maya is going to do its best to distribute the fur evenly across the surface.
And here's the result that we get from that. And, in fact, it looks kind of weird. We have plenty of fur here but not enough fur here around the face. But that's not because of the density of the fur being unequal across the surface, it's because the length of the fur is unequal. We have much shorter hairs here than we do over here. So that means that in order for this to look good, we need more hairs appear. We need lots of short hairs here and fewer long hairs over here. Go ahead and store that image, so we can compare it.
We'll change the Equalizer Maps Option to Custom Equalizer Maps. Now, when you do that, you will see something change in the viewport but, in fact, the rendering won't change because we have not yet painted into that custom equalizer map attribute. And so, the entire surface has a value of 1, currently. Go ahead and close that attribute editor. And we want to select the fur, and then go into the Fur menu > Paint Fur Attributes Tool options. And we want to paint into the Custom Equalizer Attribute.
And we want to paint onto FurDescription1, which is the main fur in this case. We'll start by flooding the entire surface with a low value. So set the value here to 0.1 and click Flood. Now, we want to just paint in certain areas. In order to see that better, let's go ahead and press the 5 key in the viewport to turn off the mapping. And then set the value to 1 and go ahead and paint. And as you can see, I'm adding more fur in those areas.
Maybe I'll use a softer brush, so we can have an easier transition between those areas, give us a little bit more fur up here too. Alright, and we'll do a test render and see what that looks like. So, basically, what we've done is we've distributed the hairs differently across the surface. So we get more of them here and fewer of them here. And, of course, we can also play around with the overall density, in order to kind of fill in all those gaps. So that is how we can paint density, using custom equalizer.
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