Creating hair in Maya and Unreal Engine 4: part 5

Apr 21, 2020 at 10:00 am by nemirc

As you have seen in my previous parts, I have a hair style I have settled on. My next step was to animate the hair.

Epic Games has released preview versions of the engine version 4.25. I had not downloaded it because I usually don’t like to test preview versions, but this time I decided to make an exception because the hair support on version 4.24 was a little buggy in two specific situations: the environment showed some shadow artifacts generated by the hair, and sometimes the hair went crazy when I added physics simulation to it.

Although I switched to the new version just to see if it would solve the dynamics issues, I was pleased to see version 4.25 increases the hair rendering quality.

RELATED: Creating hair in Maya and Unreal Engine 4: part 1
RELATED: Creating hair in Maya and Unreal Engine 4: part 2
RELATED: Creating hair in Maya and Unreal Engine 4: part 3
RELATED: Creating hair in Maya and Unreal Engine 4: part 4

Obviously, to test hair physics I needed my character to be animated, so I imported a rigged version of my character, and one of the animations I had already imported into Unity (I used the same rig I had used for the Unity version, so the animations I created for Unity are compatible with this character in UE4, even if the polygon count is slightly different).

Another thing I had to do was to import the hair in two separate parts: the top of the hair, and the flowing part. Originally, when I tested the animation, the top of the hair was bouncing around, causing a weird result since that part is supposed to be somewhat stiff. I separated the hair in two files so I could only apply physics to the flowing part, while leaving the top part stiff.

Tweaking the hair dynamics is taking me a lot of trial and error, but I should slowly reach a result that I like. The dynamics let you tweak the hair’s bend resistance, stretching, gravity, among other things.

The video below shows how the hair is looking. I’ve placed three character in different positions, so you can see the hair from different angles. Even if it requires some more work, I’m pretty happy with how it’s looking so far.

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