Despite the visual importance of hair and the attention paid to hair modeling in the graphics research, modeling realistic hair still remains a very challenging task that can be performed by very few artists. In this paper we present hair meshes, a new method for modeling hair that aims to bring hair modeling as close as possible to modeling polygonal surfaces. This new approach provides an artist with direct control of the overall shape of the hair, giving them the ability to model the exact hair shape they desire. We use the hair mesh structure for modeling the hair volume with topological constraints that allow us to automatically and uniquely trace the path of individual hair strands through this volume. We also define a set of topological operations for creating hair meshes that maintain these constraints. Furthermore, we provide a method for hiding the volumetric structure of the hair mesh from the end user, thus allowing artists to concentrate on manipulating the outer surface of the hair as a polygonal surface. We explain and show examples of how hair meshes can be used to generate individual hair strands for a wide variety of realistic hair styles.
The hair meshes method has been protected with US and Internal patents. The reason why I filed a patent application was to protect my investment on Hair Farm. If you would like to use hair meshes for research purposes, please contact me to avoid possible patent infringement.
A complicated hair mesh example, showing that hair meshes can be used, if desired, in a similar fashion to wisp modeling. The model is prepared by Lee Perry-Smith using Hair Farm, the ultime hair plugin for 3ds Max.
The same hair mesh can be used for generating multiple groups of hair strands, which can be styled differently. This is very useful for easily creating fly-aways.