Creating Fur in Maya
Illustration by John Hersey

Refining details per attribute


From:

Creating Fur in Maya

with Aaron F. Ross

Video: Refining details per attribute

The fur description node gives us the ability to map any and all attributes, such as color, length, and so on. Let's take a look at the details of the base and tip color. I'll select the fur and go into the fur description node, and you will see base and tip color here. As I increase that, you'll see that we're able to change the overall color, but notice that the color is not uniform. There's a pattern here already and that pattern is actually built into the fur description node.

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Watch the Online Video Course Creating Fur in Maya
1h 12m Intermediate Aug 09, 2013

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Loading the Fur plugin
  • Understanding the Fur node structure
  • Optimizing viewport performance
  • Rendering in Maya and mental ray
  • Adding shadow and shading
  • Setting fur density and scale
  • Adding curl, scraggle, and clumping
  • Styling with the Paint Fur Attributes tool
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Maya
Author:
Aaron F. Ross

Refining details per attribute

The fur description node gives us the ability to map any and all attributes, such as color, length, and so on. Let's take a look at the details of the base and tip color. I'll select the fur and go into the fur description node, and you will see base and tip color here. As I increase that, you'll see that we're able to change the overall color, but notice that the color is not uniform. There's a pattern here already and that pattern is actually built into the fur description node.

There are noise algorithms inside each one of these color attributes, and to find these we want to scroll down and go into the details and you'll see base color, tip color. They've got an amplitude for noise here as well as a frequency. So the frequency of course is the scale of the noise and lower frequency is going to be a larger wavelength to the noise. High frequency will be a tighter pattern. Right now I'm going to disable the noise amplitude on both the base and tip color and now we've got a uniform color to each and every fur hair.

Now I'm going to map that with a Maya texture. We can do that by going up here to the base color and tip color. And we can just simply click on the create render node button as we usually would when building a shader network. And we can actually map the fur color with any Maya texture including 3D textures. So let's try that. We'll go to 3D textures and choose solid fractal. Now right now the size of the noise is going to be very small, and so if we do a render, it probably won't look like very much.

It'll probably just be pretty much all white, but we can increase the scale of the 3D texture placement node here. Which will give us a larger pattern on the first. So I'm going to grab the scale tool and scale that up a bit to a factor of let's say six or so. And we still don't see any change here. And what we need to do in order to really see this happen is click this button that says Bake. And when we do that the 3D texture is actually going to be converted into a 2D map.

That has the size and pixels shown here. And that's going to be store in the Maya project. When I click Bake, we now see a change, okay. And now we've got a different color there. Let's go ahead and assign this base color map also to the tip color. Let's go into the hypershade and click on Window, Rendering Editors, Hypershade. And go to the textures tab and here's our solid fractal. I'm going to go ahead and middle-mouse drag that onto the tip color. And click Bake.

And now both the base color and the tip color are assuming that solid fractal. Go ahead and render that. So you see we have some variation here in the color. We can make that more dramatic, actually, by going into the solid fractal node. And, in the Effects section, we can insert a color. We can click on this button that says, Insert a Color Remap. And when I do that now I get a ramp. And we won't see the change yet until we go back to our fur description node.

And click Bake again. And now you'll see we've got the colors from that ramp, are controlling the colors of the fur, go ahead and do another render of that. So once again, this is creating a texture on disk. It's actually storing a maya.iff file. We can investigate that. We can scroll down, back into the details and open up the maps section here, and you'll see what this says here. It says base color map is. In a folder called render data, fur, fur attributes map and then it's got the name of the scene file, and the name of the attribute.

As you can see that tool tip there. So that's the actual file that's been created. When we click this big button. We can also assign a file texture directly. Let's go and do that. I've got a leopard print file in my source images currently, and I'll go ahead and break these connections here. I'll right click and choose break connection, right click and break connection, and then create a new render node. It's going to be a file node, and then browse for an image, and in my current project source images we've got leopard.png, go ahead and open that.

And we'll need to assign that to the tip color as well, to see it most dramatically. I've selected the fur once again, gone back to the fur description node. Back in the hypershade in the textures tab we've got this file and we can middle mouse drag that onto the tip color as well. And then click Bake. And now we've got that leopard print. Go ahead and render it. Okay, that's pretty cool. So that's how we can assign textures to change the color of our fur.

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