Game Dev Update #6: Making and styling hair in Blender via particle systems and weight painting.

5/8/17: Particle systems and fake users in Blender.

I gots fuzz on muh floating bunneez naow. But it looks like garbage.
  • You can find particle systems in the properties panel. There are two types: hair and emission. It seems like emission works similarly to how Unity treats particle systems and hair makes it look like hair (duh). A particle system is actually a modifier, but controlled in a different area. Because of course it is.
  • A fake user is uh… a weird way to say you want to create a new brush/material/etc without using it (yet). At least that’s my current understanding.
  • Materials available to particle systems rely on which materials are available/applied to the mesh.
  • When your mesh object is using a particle system, you can go into Particle Edit mode (icon is a comb, lol). This mode allows you to use a comb to comb the hair, fluff it out, change its length, remove and add hairs, etc.
  • These brushes work similarly to sculpting brushes — [f] to change size, [shift+f] to change strength. There is also a button that allows you to see and affect hairs that are hidden by the model’s geometry (limit selection to visible).
  • The deflect emitter, when set to an amount of zero (or turned off), has a chance to push hairs into geometry, which is probably not good in most cases.
  • Note: switching to rendered mode while in particle edit mode will not show you what you want. Have to go back to object mode. Conversely, you can’t use a particle brush in an area that is trying to use rendered mode (unless you don’t want to see it as you’re doing it.
  • If you’ve done something way too destructive with particle edit mode, you can always revert back to the particle system you started with before the edits by going to the particle system icon in the properties panel and clicking on the Free Edit button. This will make you lose all changes made in particle edit mode, but you get a chance to start over with the particle editing.
Playing with the comb brush in particle edit mode is so weird. I feel like I’m in the 90s playing with a gigapet or tamagotchi.

5/12/17: Weight painting in Blender.

I painted different sections of the bunny and gave each section its own particle system (hair type) so that they could all be unique in their own way.
  • You can use weight painting to limit how particle systems are used. For this bunny, I’ve painted each of the red sections you see in the image above, to help define where the hair should be.
  • I think the right way to look at this is more of a masking system (as seen in some programs like Photoshop) for particle systems in Blender. I suspect it can be used with other tools, too.
  • First make a new vertex group, then do the painting by switching to weight painting mode. Finally, go to the vertex groups section under the particle system and assign the vertex group to density. Blammo!
  • Unrelated: I randomly learned you can use [cmd+shift+o] to bring up the recently opened files menu. Handy.
All that work to make this pile of garbage. It looks better than an uncombed, single particle system but there’s a lot to be desired here too. I think my favorite part about this has been making the whiskers. Hopefully soon, I’ll learn how to make this hair look a lot nicer.

Here are some other fun bits:

  • Currently (still) playing ClusterTruck, Heavy Weapon, Pinstripe, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe.
  • Currently listening to Brute Force by The Algorithm