Get A Haircut!

  / by Lee

You may remember Andy’s post some weeks ago about the new static particles. Well, we must say it was a great improvement for static particles, but we thought the possibilities could be pushed, and Ton came out with a bunch of great new options (that led us to have a few late nights playing around with them!).

For the film, we had decided that we wanted our characters to have believable yet also stylised haircuts, and after looking over the possibilities, now with the increasing functions of the static particles, we are very confident in using static particles in this case, and particles in general are now a lot more powerful.

Some of the newest additions include…

— Tangent Shading of particles in 3D View

Now you can see the particles in solid shading!

— Vertex group and weight paint options

Under some particle options you can set a vertex group (VGroup). One will control Density, and the other length! Using this in conjunction with weight painting you can (In real time!) paint length and density.

— Curve Guides

This is probably the teams favourite new feature with particles, and our key to making styled haircuts for our characters. One can use curves to guide the hair, using a range of options.

Another cool trick is to add hooks to the curve control handles (CTRL+H with point selected in edit mode). This can allow animation of the guide curves for some interesting effects.

Official release logs can be found here…

We haven’t as yet mastered the features in the short time they have been implemented, but we began some tests and then started seeing what would happen when applied to a characters head, our first result can be seen in the top image.

From now we look to integrating the particle hair with texturing and more material techniques. Wish us luck!

More news as it comes.

« | »

46 Responses to “Get A Haircut!”

  1. Richard said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    And here I am thinking that the older ones looked great. These ones look much better.

  2. Richard said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Sorry for double posting, but has any memory optimizations been added? I recently tried to render a small flat plane full of grass which took just under 200MB (to make it look realistic). I’m not much of a programmer but this seems to me, quite bloaty.

  3. Aren said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Oh my gosh, thats awesome :D Can’t wait till I can experiment with them, will they be in the next alpha? or should I just cvs right now?? :P

  4. Lee said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Everything we use is strait from the same CVS, you can update now and it should all be there, enjoy! =D

  5. Squirrel Havoc said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Wow, looking good. I’m too cautious to use CVS code, so I’ll wait till the next alpha :)

  6. Myster_EE said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Wow. All I can say is I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything with hair that realistic out side of *very* professional work. (referring to the top image)

    Guys, You’re turning blender into a lean-mean-rendering-machine in six months! You’re all amazing, and I am Sooo looking forward to the next Alpha.

  7. Micah Fitch said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    You are absolutely amazing.

  8. Micah Fitch said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    And yea, double post just like Richard, and for the same reason… Has there been optimization? I too tried to make a tiny plane of grass and found it impossible to move around with just a little bit of grass…

  9. Dittohead said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Whoa, that first pic of the dude with the hair has DOF in it. Is that faked DOF (photoshop/gimp/sequencer plugin) or is that “real” DOF from the renderer?

  10. Dienben said on 14 Nov, 2005:


    Great work, congratulation! Will
    you soon post a 2.40 alpha 3?


  11. Bassam said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Hmm, wrt speed problems- use the display percent before cranking up the number of particles; blender will only show that percentage of hairs/particles in the viewport.

  12. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Hehe, people still think you guys are using a special CVS branch for Orange.

    I am also testing the new features on a mascot I am doing (should be done by now), but I haven’t got that much time to finish it yet, nor test the particle guides, to make decent hair.

    You could post some tips, since you are working on it like 24/7. :)

    Here is an old render of the mascot, a new one will be up this week, I will post it here later, if anyone cares to see the progress on the hair.

    Keep it up, looking good.

    — RCAS —

  13. Matt said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Dittohead: No, it’s not DOF, it’s selective hiding by andy :)

  14. thoro said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Very useful additions – I spent some hours to get used to the new particles. I’m currently using a CVS version built on 2005/11/10, but I can’t use a vertex group to control the hair length… I guess I’ll have to wait for a newer build :-)

    Keep up the great work.

  15. dude said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Sorry to ask a (seemingly) obvious question, but where do you get the CVS? Also i’m not sure what CVS stands for :D. I’m really excited about all the work you guys are doing on particles for hair, the features were somewhat limited before.

  16. Lee said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    dude: Just pop over to the forums and then the testing build section, should be able to get a later build on the Operating System of choice. As for CVS (asks one of the expert coders in studio….) stands for Concurrent Versioning System. =)

  17. dude said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    That’s wicked sweet! Thanks for the CVS Lee!

  18. Matt said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Here’s a little test I did, playing with the curve guides to try braids:

    Image: /wp-content/themes/orange/images/blog/braids.jpg

    .blend file: /wp-content/themes/orange/images/blog/

  19. quickflash said on 14 Nov, 2005:


    I was wondering if the rendering time has been sped up for hair since mid-October. When I was playing with it back then, switching from halo to strand greatly increased memory usage (to be expected, but was about 3 times as much) and also increased my render times from 2 minutes to 2 hours. I only ask in regards to whether I want to go back through my blend files on my current project and update the hair on each of them, or just wait and hope that by the time I really need to render that it’s been sped up and I can switch at that point.

  20. Deathguppie said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    WOW! This is great!

    I have battled with the idea of using feathers all weekend with not so good results..

    I have’nt had time to mess with the CVS version because I am a Gentoo user, and it’s kind of a comunity responsibility to write an ebuild if there is none. So I think I’ll do that tonite, and give this a shot.

    Keep up the great work guys .. and thanks again Ton!

  21. mthoenes said on 14 Nov, 2005:


    I tried your file – The hair looked wrong – all wrapped in a coil – apparently the rotation of the emitter plane has a dramatic effect on the way the guides work. I rotated it so Z was up and it seemed to follow the guides much better. I am using Nov 10 CVS blender version.

    Great work – thanks for the sample…

  22. Matt said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    mthoenes: Hm, that’s weird – other people seem to be able to open it ok, like in this thread:

    I guess there have been a few changes since November 10, so maybe you just need a fresher CVS build.

    quickflash: Ton is currently working on that, and a number of optimisations have been committed to bf-blender CVS today. With any luck, it should be quite a bit faster now.


  23. dude said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    Matt: I had the same problem as mthoenes, the hair was all wrapped in a coil using Nov 10 CVS. Where can I get a ‘fresher’ CVS?

    The picture of the braids lookes so cool though! I can’t wait to be able to do it myself!

  24. Bob Bobson said on 14 Nov, 2005:

    The sideburns could do with a bit of work of some kind.

  25. quickflash said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Matt –

    Thanks for the update, I’ll check it out. I was playing with it a bit today on 11/10 CVS and it was using 1.5 gig and took 23 minutes on a 2×3.0 Xeon. I’ll try tommorow and see what results I get. BTW I greatly appreciate all the work you guys do, I didn’t mean to sound like I was complaining about speed. I was just wondering what I could do realistically.

  26. dude said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Aha! I found my problem! I was using the 11/10 CVS posted by broken, not the correct one posted by Bellorum.

    Now i’m getting 3d view tangent shading and the braids work perfectly! Also the rest of the cool features that you guys are adding! Thanks a bunch.

    Happy blending!(And coding… and scripting and etc.)

  27. quickflash said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Great improvement! Took 23 minutes on my AMD, so basically almost twice as fast if not more. Still the same amount of memory, but I’m using too many particles as it is. Nice job guys, this basically completes everything I need for my project at this point, so I’m rather happy.

  28. Myster_EE said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Great! took 3:44 (That’s minutes, not hours) on my machine! And that’s at a resolution of 1080×720!

    This is insane, I can’t believe that this is free, much less OpenSource!

  29. mohd_moustady said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    To orange team: I think that with this progress it is a matter of time that Blender will be the standerd 3D solution for every industry.

    I have opened my own studio and I am using blender as the main 3d software, thanx a milion for all your efforts.

    question :
    1- do u have an intention to increase the number of texture one material can have
    2- can you script some setting for the shadow color


  30. mohd_moustady said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    one more question
    is there any permanent member for direct contact for feature request

  31. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    To mohd_moustady: Ton will be changing the material system in the future, possibly you will have no unlimited textures / materials on any given mesh. I’m sure he will amaze us all.

    To Orange Team: Looking good so far.

    To Matt: The Braids look very cool.

  32. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    When I said “no unlimited textures / materials” I meant “unlimited textures / materials”.


  33. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Windows version of Blender compiled with Cygwin, using Python 2.3 (Python 2.4 coming tonight) and featuring these latest additions can be found on the link below.

    Be gentle, it is my first Windows build.
    Just hoping to give people a little taste of things to come…

  34. Lee said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Hi there mohd_moustqady: The team thanks you for the support! In regards to your questions…

    1. We are at the point in the project where the focus of features has gone from Animation side to Materials and Rendering. As far as I know there will be a bunch of features coming in for materials and textures. Though not sure the exact length of the features and what they will be, what’s certain is that the way we usually apply materials and textures will be dramatically changed at some point in the near future and should allow you to do what you need.

    2. I don’t think there are plans to do too much with lights and shadows, but for the needs of changing shadow colour in contrast to the exposure, one can always play with world settings such as ambience etc to get the same effect.


  35. quickflash said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    FYI The render on the 2×3.0 Xeon now takes only 8 minutes (as opposed to 23).

  36. quickflash said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Hello –
    Playing with hair particles a bit today, I have a question regarding memory usage. I was wondering if someone can explain how each parameter effects how many vertices will end up being created in strand mode, so I can get an idea of where I can limit things to maybe take up a little less memory during a render…

  37. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    quickflash: How many particles ? 1 million particles test ?

    I made a test with 300 000 particles and it was much faster then that on an AMD XP 2600+.

  38. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 15 Nov, 2005:

    Latest Blender, Windows, now also with Py 2.4 build,


  39. peter said on 16 Nov, 2005:

    is there any chance that we also can use the tilt function when using a curve with static particles? this would be so awesome!

  40. mohd_moustady said on 16 Nov, 2005:

    to Lee:
    thanx for your quick response.

    when I was referring to shadow color I meant different shadow color for every light.
    – can it be done with world settings such as ambience etc?

    – and is there a specific plane for feature request, implementation, validation and release for studios using blender in the future?

    keep up the good work!

  41. Rui Campos (RCAS) said on 16 Nov, 2005:

    To mohd_moustady: That would mean companies financially supporting Blender development ?

    I have already proposed a Bounty system with companies offering a given amount of cash to get a given feature in Blender. Any interested developer could apply for the bounty, do the task and get that cash, of course the feature would have to be done in such way that it would be put on the next official release.

    If you feel this is what you meant, you should get in contact with Ton and state you are interested in sponsoring some bounties.

  42. Lee said on 16 Nov, 2005:

    mohd_moustady: The best place to put in a feature request is at the forums, Ton checks them all out there and community base is strong. I’m not sure exactly on how the change of shadow colour could be acheived, the theory was with ambience but I couldn’t seem to work anything out strait away, but post your thoughts over at and you will be able to chat with people a lot more knowledgeable then me about such things. I’m sure it wont be anything too hard for the great coders there. =)

  43. Tom Musgrove said on 16 Nov, 2005:


    [QUOTE]- and is there a specific plane for feature request, implementation, validation and release for studios using blender in the future?[/QUOTE]

    For feature requests there is the bf-funboard list, and the forums.

    As a studio, something you might want to consider for future hires is to mention that programming experience is a desireable factor for future artists that you hire. Or you might specifically seek out a dedicated programmer (depending on big your studio is/becomes.), another option is to offer up compensation for a current Blender programmer to implement a feature you want or need. Of course we programmers like implementing features that are useful to users for fun, but what we are planning to work on, may not coincide with what your immediate future needs are.


  44. mohd_moustady said on 19 Nov, 2005:


    I thank you so much for all the replies you gave me, its overwhelming to see such ALIVE blog.

    If I may ask can I have
    – the E-mail of Mr. Ton Roosendaal

    – and possibly your e-mail Lee

    My e-mail is [email protected]


  45. cory said on 19 Nov, 2005:

    this is going to be great for indy artists =)

  46. rubbleman said on 28 Nov, 2005:

    I just watched efbie’s video tutorial on making hair and man this is absolutely AWESOME!…so much fantastic new stuff…in fact so much stuff that it boils over into 2.41!
    Blender 2.4 is an amazing achievement – be very proud of this.
    Today the old rubbleman got out of his armchair and did a backflip inspired by the spirit of Blender ;o) YES! :o)