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Particle Hair Basics

Blender 3d tutorial

Playing with Hair

To create hair in Blender 3D, we will start by going over the settings involved in generating hair with strand particles, how to create materials specifically designed for hair, and finally we will use particle mode to comb, cut, smooth, and perform other changes to your hair.

The Particle System

To start this tutorial, be sure to add a cube or sphere to the scene if you don't have one already. The easiest way to get create hair is to use the Quick Fur option. You can do this by hitting the space bar in the 3D view, typing "quick" and selecting Quick Fur. Even though it is easy, we'll start from scratch so you know exactly what settings are important for hair. Just know that Quick Fur is an option available to you.

Select the cube in object mode and go to the particles panel of the properties window. Click the + button to add a particle system to the cube. To make hair appear, change the Type setting to Hair. You should see long stiff strands sticking straight out of the sides of the cube.

Basic Appearance

Right now, our hair doesn't look very much like hair. To fix that, first check the Advanced box. This will give us a big more control over the hair compared to the basic settings. Now change the Emission Number to 8000. Then go to the Velocity section and change Normal to 0.200 and Random to 0.250.

There are also other settings I won't specifically go over. For instance, changing the X, Y, or Z values for the Emitter Object settings in the Velocity section and the Tangent and Rot can also change the direction the hair points. I definitely recommend testing settings out to see what they do and how they work.

Improving the Appearance

To fill out our sparse hair, scroll down to the Children section and select Interpolated. Change Render to 12. This creates 12 hairs for each 'real' hair and fill it out quite nicely. If your computer is running slow with children, drop the Display setting down to a lower number. This has no effect on your final render, but shows fewer strands in the 3D View window. We use children instead of increasing the Number setting because children are far less computationally expensive.

Rendering results in an ugly spike ball. One fix that makes a huge difference is checking the Strand Render option in the Render Section. Rendering again should show how much this one setting improves the render.

Adding Materials

Go to the Materials panel of the properties window. Create a new material, if one doesn't exist already. In the Strand section, change Tip to 0.25000, Width Fade to 0.300, and Shape to 0.500. These settings make the tip smaller, adds transparency to the edges of the hair, and makes the hair taper more quickly at the tip than the root.

Before we add color, go to the Specular panel and change Intensity to 0.050 and Hardness to 80. I also changed Translucency in the Shading section to 1.000.


To add color, go to the Texture panel, add a new texture by clicking New, and change Type to Blend. Then in the Colors section, check the Ramp option. After that, pick the coloring you want to use for your hair. As you can see, I chose a purple to cyan color scheme.

Once your colors are ready, go to the Mapping section and change Coordinates to Strand/Particle and Projection to Cube.

Playing With Your Hair

Just like real hair, you can comb, cut, and manipulate the hair to make it look exactly how you want it. To be able to do so, click on the 3D view Mode dropdown and change it to Particle Mode. On the left hand side you should see a handful of brush settings and other options. All you need to do is select a brush type and start shaping the hair to your desire.

Keep in mind that many settings become locked in once you use it. If you go to the particles settings after making some alterations, you'll see greyed out options. If you want to change these, you must click the Free Edit button. This will remove all the changes you made in particle mode and allow you to change those settings again.

Want to help?

What do you think? Was the tutorial okay? Did I make mistakes? Am I doing it wrong? Does the format suck? Leave a comment or suggestion and you can help everyone by helping me make a better tutorial!

If you've got suggestions for new tutorials, I am happy to hear them. And if I feel I know enough about your suggestion to make a tutorial, I'll see what I can do.

Keep Learning!

No single tutorial will cover everything, so if you want to dig deeper, here are some resources for you to check out. If you have other resources you think I should add to this list, feel free to let me know!

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  •  irascibleone / 2561 / AAA
    Tutorial refreshed. Better results and in the new tutorial format.