Producing realistic-looking hair and fur for computer graphics has long been a challenge for artists. The particular shine of hair or fur, instantly recognizable by any viewer, can’t be faked with solid models. Artists need to replicate those thousands of strands and their unique translucent and reflective properties to make it look right. And then there’s the rendering process, which can take a long time.
However, Epic recently introduced a system for rendering realistic-looking hair and fur in real time in Unreal Engine, giving artists the ability to see final results in action without a long wait for rendering – significantly improving the efficiency of what has traditionally been a tedious process.
In its new, free white paper titled “Grooming for Real-Time Realism: Hair and Fur with Unreal Engine,” Epic describes how artists can use Unreal Engine to generate real-time hair and fur for their own projects.
The purpose of this new white paper is to lay out the process of working with real-time hair and fur in Unreal Engine, considering the parameters that will help them work most efficiently, going beyond the documentation to discuss artistic and technical concerns that artists might encounter, and ensuring that their CG hair and fur looks as realistic as possible.
The white paper explores two use cases: human hair as seen in Epic’s MetaHuman Creator
announcement video, and fur and feathers from the
created by Weta Digital. For both instances, Epic takes an in-depth look at the grooming process including various workflows, best practices, styling and mapping techniques, and more. Additionally, both examples are available as free downloads.
The white paper is authored by Gaelle Morand, Charles de Rousiers, Michael Forot, and is available as a free download https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/realistic-hair-and-fur-with-unreal-engine-get-the-white-paper