Image courtesy of Chainwheel Productions

Grooming afro-textured hair in 3D

By - - Maya
2 mins

Groom Artist Thales Simonato gives us an overview of his afro hair grooming workflows for the 3D cast of Frank Abney's short animated film, Canvas.   

Creating the hair for the characters in Canvas was a huge challenge. The team at Chainwheel Productions tried many different ways to get it right and the process was a long road of trial and error.

xGen for Maya has a lot of great tools, but what was most important was its ability to combine the modeling tools with the curve controls in Maya, which could then work together with the grooming tools. This allowed us to convert guides into curves, extract curves from a model, reconvert curves into guides, use lattice, rebuild the curves, and so forth.

Canvas 3D Character Young Girl

Here, I will demonstrate how we created the pompoms. The result we aimed to reach is attached below.

Creating a 3D pompom

To create the young girl’s pom pom haircut, I started off with a simple model and then extracted the edges as curves.

3D Model Pompom3D Model Pompom3D Pompom creation

After that, I converted the curves into guides and made a very low density hair. I added a few modifiers and played around to get an interesting look for the afro hair, and then I exported the result as curves.

3D Model Pompom Curves

Then, reconverted them to guides. Once that was complete, we had our well-shaped guides. After that, I added more modifiers and played around with them to get a nice result.

3D Model Pompom Guides
Canvas 3D Young Girl Afro Hair

To conclude, don’t hesitate to use lattice to give the shape a nice silhouette. Be creative and make use of all your Maya knowledge to create your haircuts, don’t limit yourself to the xGen tools. Throughout the process, Frank was really patient and his feedback was great, helping guide me to create a better result.

Canvas 3D Grandfather Grooming
3D Hair Grooming CanvasCanvas 3D Mother Grooming

I’m glad that our work has been well accepted by the audience and I can’t
wait to see the final animation done.

Final results:

Canvas Final 3D Render Girl
Canvas Final 3D Render GrandfatherCanvas Final 3D Render Mother

Posted By
Published In
  • Maya
  • Animation
  • Film & VFX
  • XGen
  • Film & VFX
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| 1 month ago
Dawid... Yes, though the exact method will depend on the model you are converting edges from. The long answer is that you'll need to select each edge that you want to convert to a curve, and then execute the 'Convert To Curves' tool. With a regular topology like the example Pom Pom, you should be able to use a shortcut such as selecting edge rings rather than having to click each edge separately.
Edited by Z2rG3XI8 1 month ago
| 2 months ago
is there a way to extract the all curves from edges in one click or have to do it one by one?
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