Character Sculpting: Hair

Before starting to sculpt the hair I gathered together some references, the images below are taken from google images, pinterest and behance.

I chose the images above as they show examples of work that would suit the style and nature of our short. We won’t be using any sort of hair system but instead the hair will just be sculpted on to the character’s head within Zbrush – this would give us a product that would fit wit the style of the head model – they aren’t too realistic and represent a much more stylised approach to sculpting.

A pinterest board I found with a lot of great 3D toon sculpts:

The board link above has some really, really nice examples of character work that could be of a great use to us. Again they represent that stylised look that we wish to create, a successful collaboration of 3D and 2D to produce a hybrid.

Some speed sculpts to show the process of sculpting hair with zbrush, the artist’s through process throughout the sculpt and how they tackled any problems that had arose while sculpting, these timelapse videos also gave me an idea of how best to approach the hair, where and how i should start:

The video directly above was the most helpful, I applied the technique they had shown for sculpting the front clumps of shorter hair to my own model – seeing as her hair is all short. Below is a link to his youtube channel which has some seriously nice work:

I really like the stylised look of the images placed below and feel they are quite close to the style of our short, they’re sculpted in clumps rather than strands so they would still be able to bounce slightly – I think they would suit the style of our girl character better than a simulation because we are aiming for a more stylised hybrid outcome.

The most relevant images would be the model with the shorter hair as it is very similar to that of Matt’s concept art, also pictured below although it wouldn’t have just as harsh edges or have just as much volume and characteristics to it:


The sculpt with short hair also reminded me of the style of Dragonball Z, which could be an interesting style to try with the model in 3D, it could give a really nice outcome when sculpted rather than drawn.

I then jumped into sculpting the hair by firstly blocking it out to get a rough shape and silhouette of the character.


Translating the 2D concept into 3D was proving to be a little tricky at first:


Although it was looking like the concept, it wasn’t looking like a 3D concept of hair, in fact it wasn’t really looking much like hair at all, it wasn’t really suiting the style of our short just yet . I needed to think about where the hair was coming from, it’s origin, much like the image below:


The post linked below has a nice technique to follow when sculpting hair in Zbrush:

It discusses how a simple silhouette of your character is incredibly important when establishing an overall shape. It also mentions some brushes in particular that would be good for sculpting with: the clay build up for creating volume and build up. The dam standard (which I found to be of particular use.) The slash brushes which are effectively the same as the dam standard only the slash doesn’t produce as much pinching as the Dam, both are good for cutting into mesh with a straight line. Curve brushes, which would be a useful way of creating individual strands of hair.

Attempt 02: This one is much more like the image above and the Dragonball Z characters. The hardest part now I found was trying to figure out where the hair was going and how to make the strands look like they were naturally lying there. I then plan on creating smooth defined lines and areas within the hair which can be seen slightly within the screenshot below.


Some progress shots of the sculpt, as you can see the definition is starting to come through as I figure out where each clump of hair will lie and how it will be displayed.




Now I started to create some definition in the hair through using the hpolish brush and dam standard brush – helping to achieve that stylised look by adding some harsh edges:






The holes would then be filled in when the hair mesh was being retopologised using Z brush’s own tool instead of bringing it into maya and drawing all of them by hand. The final model can be seen below. The hair has really helped her look a little less terrifying than when it was just her head, it is nice to see the model start to come together. I am enjoying pushing my technical abilities in areas I haven’t explored before.




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