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Before you begin, see Create custom content for Fuse to know about the prerequisites and the general recommendations for creating custom hair.

1. Start from a base character

Hair is modeled on a base character. You can either:

  • Model your custom hair on the base meshes provided in the Content Creator Pack (MaleFitA.obj and FemaleFitA.obj).
  • Model your custom hair to fit on a custom body you have created. See Create a custom body for details. To use the custom hair in Fuse CC (Beta), first import the custom body.
Once you have picked your base character, the next step is to sculpt the mesh hair.

2. Create the hair

1. Create simple polygon planes of varying lengths and widths. These polygons are duplicated multiple times to make the hairstyles. It is important to create simple polygon planes first so that their UVs are consistent and easily modifiable.

2. Preview the length and appearance of the hair on the planes by assigning a texture version of the Fuse hair substance and then adjust your UV mapping. You can find the default substance texture in the Content Creator Pack (AlphaHair_DIFF.psd).

3. Open the texture in Adobe Photoshop CC and paint various hair strands by using a layer mask for transparency. Save the image as a .png with transparency.

5. Assign a material to the polygon planes in your 3D program and name it 'hair'. The transparency automatically connects to the material and the hair show up in the viewer.

6. Layer the polygon planes on the head to build up volume and the style.

Note: Ensure that the planes do not intersect each other or the head of the character. Keep a small amount of space between the planes and the head, if possible.

Combine the geometry by selecting the inner most planes to the outer most for correct transparency sorting. Objects selected first are rendered 'behind', while objects selected last are rendered 'in front'.

3. Extract your maps

Once you have finished creating your custom hair, extract the key maps explained below. These maps are used for generating textures for the custom hair when you import them in Fuse CC.

The following settings are recommended for the extracted maps:

Map dimension: 2048 x 2048 pixels

Color depth: 8-bit RGB

Image format: PNG

Naming convention for extracted maps

The generic file naming structure for the maps is Category_CharacterModeledOn_NameofItem_NameofMap. For example, Hair_FemaleFitA_AlphaMediumWavy_AlphaSwitch.png.

The alpha switch map enables the transparency of the Detail Diffuse map. For hair that is entirely 'alpha', the map is completely black.

Detail diffuse texture map consists of the hair strokes with transparency.

4. Gather final files for importing in Fuse CC

Use the recommended naming convention for filenames for importing them into Fuse CC in an organized manner.

Your hair geometry: Hair_FemaleFitA_AlphaMediumWavy.obj
Alpha Switch Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_AlphaMediumWavy_AlphaSwitch.png
Detail Diffuse Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_AlphaMediumWavy_DetailDiff.png

6. Import your custom hair into Fuse CC

To import custom hair files, choose File > Import > Import Clothing option from the menu bar in Fuse CC. See Import custom clothing and hair for details.

1. Start from a base character

Hair is modeled on a base character. You can either:

  • Model your custom hair on the base meshes provided in the Content Creator Pack (MaleFitA.obj and FemaleFitA.obj).
  • Model your custom hair to fit on a custom body you have created. See Create a custom body for details. To use the custom hair in Fuse CC (Beta), first import the custom body.
Once you have picked your base character, the next step is to sculpt the hair.

2. Focus on the sculpt

The quality of sculpt is important to a good hair asset. Use your digital sculpting software to achieve the highest quality in your sculpt.

3. Create a low resolution mesh

Unlike the custom body, the custom mesh hair does not have any specific UV requirements. So you can use any topology and UV layout for the custom mesh hair. However, consider the following points for the low resolution (or low poly) mesh that you create:

  • The low poly mesh has a single UV layout per item.
  • It does not extend beyond the 0-1 UV space and does not overlap.
  • It is not flipped.
  • The UV seams placed where they would not be visible.

It is recommended to have the average triangle count close to the value mentioned below depending on the custom hair type that you are creating:

Alpha Hair: 4,000
Mesh Hair: 1,000

4. Extract the maps

Once you have finished creating your custom hair, extract the maps explained below. These maps are used for generating textures for the custom hair when you import them in Fuse CC.

The following settings are recommended for the extracted maps:

Map dimension: 2048 x 2048 pixels

Color depth: 8-bit RGB

Image format: PNG

Naming convention for extracted maps

The generic file naming structure for the maps is

Category_CharacterModeledOn_NameofItem_NameofMap. For example,

Hair_FemaleFitA_MeshPonytail_NM.png.

The normal map holds the high-resolution details of your sculpt and projects that detail on the low polygon geometry. You can extract the normal map from your sculpting program. This is where much of the detail of your mesh hair comes from.

Mesh hair, unlike other custom content in Fuse CC, has a diffuse texture that contains hand painted hair strokes. These strokes are painted over transparency or saved at 50% transparency as shown in the image.

The ambient occlusion (AO) map holds the shadow information for your high resolution sculpt and is used to add that shading information into your custom mesh hair within Fuse CC. You can extract the ambient occlusion map from your sculpting program.

If your hair has extra details like hair bands, you can choose to create a detail overlay or detail extra map. The detail extra map is overlaid on top of the hair textures.

The alpha switch map enables the transparency of the Detail Diffuse map. For hair that is entirely 'mesh', this map is completely white. This map is optional for mesh hair.

The occlusion mask is unique to both clothing and hair. It is painted on the base character on which the mesh hair is fitted over. The occlusion mask excludes the body geometry that is covered by the mesh hair.

To create this mask:

  1. With the mesh hair placed over the character, paint the body polygons that are to be deleted in black.
  2. The rest of the polygons are white.

5. Gather final files for importing in Fuse CC

Use the recommended naming convention for filenames for importing them into Fuse CC in an organized manner.

Your hair geometry: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail.obj
Normal Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail_NM.png
Occlusion Mask: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail_OccMask.png
Ambient Occlusion Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail_AO.png
Detail Diffuse Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail_DetailDiff.png
Detail Extra Map: Hair_FemaleFitA_Ponytail_DetailExtra.png

6. Import your custom mesh hair into Fuse CC

To import custom hair files, choose File > Import > Import Clothing option from the menu bar in Fuse CC. See Import custom clothing and hair for details.

To create custom hair that has both mesh and alpha styles such as a braid with realistic bangs or stray hair, you can combine the techniques for creating alpha and mesh hair explained in the preceding sections.

1. Sculpt the mesh section of the hair and create low poly mesh

First start by sculpting the mesh sections of the hair. After your sculpt is done, create the low poly mesh. See step 2 and step 3 of Create mesh hair for details.

2. Add polygon strips for alpha section of the hair

The next step is to add the polygon strips for alpha hair on the low poly mesh. See step 2 of Create mesh hair for details. 

3. Extract the maps

To have proper alpha and non-alpha sections, create an alpha switch map. The alpha switch map for an alpha mesh hair contains both the sections - white for mesh and black for alpha. The UV shells for each type are completely masked - not the strands of the alpha hair.

The mesh sections of your hair has a normal map while the alpha regions do not need this map. The normal map for the alpha sections is controlled by the hair substance in Fuse CC.

The detail diffuse map is painted based on a combination of the techniques for custom mesh and alpha hair. This map is correlated to the alpha switch map.

  • The diffuse texture of the mesh part has hand painted hair strokes. The strokes are painted over transparency or saved at 50% transparency.
  • The alpha part of the hair has a texture map (.png) of hair strokes with transparency.

It is recommended to create Occlusion and Ambient Occlusion maps as normal with mesh hair. See Create mesh hair for details.

4. Gather final files for importing in Fuse CC

Use the recommended naming convention for filenames for importing them into Fuse CC in an organized manner.

Your hair geometry: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid.obj
Normal Map: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_NM.png
Occlusion Mask: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_OccMask.png
Ambient Occlusion Map: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_AO.png
Detail Diffuse Map: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_DetailDiff.png
Alpha Switch Map: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_AlphaSwitch.png
Detail Extra Map: Hair_MaleFitA_VikingBraid_DetailExtra.png

5. Import your custom hair into Fuse CC

To import custom hair files, choose File > Import > Import Clothing option from the menu bar in Fuse CC. See Import custom clothing and hair for details.

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