|Rapunzel - great hair!|
|XGen is free with Maya 2014 and 2015|
At the BlueGFX Expo in London last year, Autodesk demonstrated their new hair simulation tool, giving us a step-by-step tutorial in how to go about creating great hair effects in Maya with this new instancing system. So how exactly does it work?
XGen is found under the Dynamics tab in Autodesk Maya. You go to Create/XGen/description, and give it a project name. Pick groomable splines/create to create your new hair map. You can use the Density slider to add to or reduce the density of the follicles.
Using the brush tool you can paint the hairs to make them bigger or smaller. You can pose them too, grooming the hair to make it follow the contours of the body, growing out in different directions, just like real hair.
On a facial rig, you can add stubble, a moustache, a beard. You will generally do this on a separate mesh. Underneath the hair mesh will be the original mesh, which will have its own skin shader.
You can also use XGen to create other effects, such as long grass waving the wind. You can use the same system to propagate trees in a landscape, or grass over a field, or roof tiles on a roof.
So, next time you're working on a character rig, have a go at XGen and see what you can create.
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