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kattington

How to make FULL ALPHA HAIR ?

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Posted (edited)

Im trying to figure out how to make full alpha hair with no glitching issues. I have asked a creator or two that know the work around and who have come from the game called sims ( creating hair for that game too) and no one seems to be willing to give a helping hand. 

I understand that alpha masking is a piece of the puzzle. There must be something im missing. Vertice ordering ? Id like to know more about that.

In my reading and research, could be the order that we select the meshes before combining...?

Has anyone worn a full alpha texture hair and understood how its created to NOT glitch ? 

After asking hair creators who do know the answer and getting 0 help, I will ask here for more support.

Thank you for any input. 

 

 

Edited by kattington
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You can certainly use alpha masking mode if you wish.  That will avoid the alpha sorting problem.  If you use alpha blending mode, there's  no way to avoid it with something like hair because you will always have two 32-bit surfaces close enough to each other to confuse your graphics card.  The big drawback with alpha masking is that the cutoff is hard  Things are either visible or transparent, so you can't get some of the subtle grading that you'll get with alpha blending.  Personally, I tend to prefer updos for that reason.  They have fewer flyaway elements to deal with, and alpha blending still looks fairly good.

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thank you rolig for any input on this topic. ive noticed that with the alpha masking the cut off will tend to need to be up in the 200's for me.

Id love to figure out the work around for not using masking as this is something ive seen achieved and yet im scratching my head.  alpha blending with no glitches.

I appreciate your response. will check back later for more clues if any.

 

 

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Posted (edited)

You can't, not reliably.

Alpha sorting is an issue that exist with every realtime engine out there and the typical answer given to asset creators is usually along the lines of  "avoid layering alpha blended surfaces as much as you can".

 

Edited by Kyrah Abattoir
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21 hours ago, Kyrah Abattoir said:

You can't, not reliably.

Alpha sorting is an issue that exist with every realtime engine out there and the typical answer given to asset creators is usually along the lines of  "avoid layering alpha blended surfaces as much as you can".

Gonna need a big source on that. Alpha sorting is certainly not an unsolvable problem, especially not to the degree that it is in SL. Our rendering code is just a bit ancient, duct tape and all. (Doesn't help OP, but that's way too big of a claim to brush over.)

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There are a couple of hair makers that seem to have figured out a work around. I think that’s what’s shes referring to.

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Posted (edited)

You mean " avoid layering alpha blended surfaces as much as you can "?

Never did I say that you can't layer them, but if you solely rely on that to create the illusion of hair volume it will absolutely break, do remember that SL like every game, is realtime 3D, and a lot of the time it means we have to create the illusion of something , rather than making the thing because it's simply not computationally reasonable ( modeling and texturing the appearance of fur vs actually simulating individual fur hair )

There is a bunch of good examples here. http://wiki.polycount.com/wiki/HairTechnique.

A lot of hairpieces you see in videogames only use alpha blending at the very tip of hair strands and tufts, and use masking or no alpha at all for the rest of the haircut, but they also typically build haircuts as carefully textured volume+strands+tufts rather than just a "pile" of strands, and that is a skill that can take time to learn.

My advice would be to specifically look at what game dev studios do for their game characters and not what people do in SL because you can't assume that popular SL creators actually know what they are doing (business skills != art experience). Also many youtube tutorials are done by people who are not more experienced than you and are just eager to share what they just discovered/learned. Sadly, that tend to be how bad habits spread, and how their legitimacy is reenforced.

(I realize I sound like an ***** everytime I give advice but believe me I only want people to get better)

Edited by Kyrah Abattoir
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19 hours ago, janetosilio said:

There are a couple of hair makers that seem to have figured out a work around. I think that’s what’s shes referring to.

yes correct~ and they wont share lol.  so this is the crap im working with right now. Im interested in reading all your responces and thank you for the links and input. thank you.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, kattington said:

yes correct~ and they wont share lol.  so this is the crap im working with right now. Im interested in reading all your responces and thank you for the links and input. thank you.

Can you share examples of these brands with alpha sorting workarounds? Deconstructing how they're built shouldn't be too difficult.

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator

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two examples are sintikilia and stealthic. however im not convinced that this is a work around for alpha blending any longer as i can see they both use masking :)

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4 hours ago, kattington said:

two examples are sintikilia and stealthic. however im not convinced that this is a work around for alpha blending any longer as i can see they both use masking :)

I figured that was what you were talking about.

I think this is close to what you’re looking for:

http://www.paultosca.com/varga_hair.html

Hopefully that’ll help some.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, kattington said:

two examples are sintikilia and stealthic. however im not convinced that this is a work around for alpha blending any longer as i can see they both use masking :)

I have hair from Stealthic that uses alpha blending. (Pictured below is "Passion") It has the same issue as all other hair.

bd7e4b9812.png

What may be a big difference between this and other brands like, say, Magika, is that the strands of hair are built out of thin planes rather than those "round globs" of mesh. This minimizes the surface area that might be covering other alpha blending textures, but isn't any kind of "workaround" that prevents any of it from happening. It's a treatment, not a cure.

Fun fact I noticed after taking that picture:
My older sculpt hair that I actually use on that avatar also uses alpha blending, but it does not cause that "cut out" effect. The worst you get is sorting issues, where nearby alpha textures behind may appear in front of surfaces they shouldn't be.

a4b4b3da8b.png

Edited by Wulfie Reanimator
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1 hour ago, Wulfie Reanimator said:

My older sculpt hair that I actually use on that avatar also uses alpha blending, but it does not cause that "cut out" effect. The worst you get is sorting issues, where nearby alpha textures behind may appear in front of surfaces they shouldn't be.

Continuing on the fun fact, I noticed almost as soon as I started making mesh plants that they alpha glitched way more than the old sculpted plants. It was almost a must to use alpha masking with mesh, whereas the old sculpted plants looked decent with just alpha blending.

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16 hours ago, Reid Parkin said:

Continuing on the fun fact, I noticed almost as soon as I started making mesh plants that they alpha glitched way more than the old sculpted plants. It was almost a must to use alpha masking with mesh, whereas the old sculpted plants looked decent with just alpha blending.

Alpha masking is also a lot quicker to render so you typically get less of a framerate hit with those.

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@Wulfie Reanimator I "think" there used to be a trick with sculptis because of the order the triangles get ordered you could wrangle the object into a configuration that is "more favorable" for its shape.

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thank you very much for coming back to this thread. i appreciate all the input and links. very good information and its a fine feeling not to be alone on the learning path. you guys are good people ❤️

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Sorry for reopening this thread; But someone already discovered how to make full alpha hair ?. Because I think I found the solution

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Sorry for my bad English (I use translator xD)

For many months I was observing the textures of these hairs and I have the hypothesis that they mix masking with blending in their textures. I put some examples where I can observe this mixture:

Dura's hair

dura.png.34f759b6df28f41ad72e924c10445ea5.png

Sintiklia's hair

sintiklia.png.96f581fb6c93a53297f81278f5bca6de.png

George where did you go?'s hair

795705638_georgewheredidyougo.png.43d65403e9fa87dba248b84d1d4f36bd.png

and, apparently, the hair of the Magika store confirms my hypothesis:

magika.png.06363d2131afbe6ecd747ea6e2fdd151.png

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Then I was experimenting with this and these were the results that I obtained:

Here I took two mesh planes and superimposed them by micrometers, almost overlapping them

prueba1.png.b56dab9dcd6ae4b5311a8f5198d80e3e.png

And this is the result

prueba2.png.2faa6ae810401062bd3626880a657405.png

I also did it with 2 prims

prueba4.png.43bebbb920b2079e2fd03f516b95f5e2.png

And with 2 cones

prueba3.png.b751036358f8896faab4b1825d10e583.png

 

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Right now I am designing a hair in blender with this way of superimposing two layers, one with blending and the other with masking. If I am correct and it comes out like these creators, then I will show you the result

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Posted (edited)
On 4/15/2019 at 8:14 PM, kattington said:

Im trying to figure out how to make full alpha hair with no glitching issues. I have asked a creator or two that know the work around and who have come from the game called sims ( creating hair for that game too) and no one seems to be willing to give a helping hand. 

I understand that alpha masking is a piece of the puzzle. There must be something im missing. Vertice ordering ? Id like to know more about that.

In my reading and research, could be the order that we select the meshes before combining...?

Has anyone worn a full alpha texture hair and understood how its created to NOT glitch ? 

After asking hair creators who do know the answer and getting 0 help, I will ask here for more support.

Thank you for any input. 

I had the same problem finding any info about it, until I talked with one of my friends who does create all-alpha hair... but she said it had something to do with the order in which the mesh planes are created, that determines which pieces overlap the other? There doesn't seem to be any actual published guides or walkthroughs, it seems to be knowledge passed down exclusively between creators. x_x 

But even after learning about that, it just sounded too much hassle for me, especially since I don't actually plan my meshes I just like to sculpt as if it were clay... so I just went another route.

It's not the "all alpha" solution that bigger hair creators like Stealthic and my friend Raven Bell do, but I did find another solution which is not perfect, but I think is way less hassle if you're willing to sacrifice that perfection in night lighting for hair that is still fun to mesh, and this was also a solution to how the spotlight lighting looks different on Alpha Mask/Non-Alpha vs Alpha Blend textures. For example, if you walk into a spotlight lighting in SL wearing a hair from Ayashi, you will see the whispy alpha parts of the hair seem to be noticeably darker, while the non-alpha parts are lit up properly by the light source.

I wrote about it here on my blog:
https://audaxinc.net/post/169866082344/alright-i-think-i-have-found-somewhat-of-a

To summarize: I basically just duplicated the alpha portions of the mesh hair, set the rest to Alpha Mask, and “fattened” the Alpha Mask mesh very slightly over the Alpha Blend mesh.

This hair is free and moddable in my store if you want to take a copy to examine it for yourself (my username is Kouki Elska, just search in the Picks for SLURL).

I'm not 100% sure, but I THINK this might be how Rezology (AKA Newsea the Sims hair creator) makes their hair work in SL (?). At least my friend told me that.

However, I do not know if this will work very well for hair which has a lot of alpha or where all the alpha is too "wispy" or sheer (compared to mine where only the ends become transparent). It worked for my hair because I do not use much alpha except on the ends and very few out-of-the-way wispy pieces. I aimed this hair in particular to a similar style as Dura's hair which isn't too wispy. Also, I highly advise against duplicating the entire mesh if you mesh high-poly hair. My hair is extremely low poly (1533 polys) and can afford to duplicate while staying very low poly count. So if you choose this way, you should only duplicate the conflicting alpha portions underneath the fattened mesh.

I attached a photo showing how it looks in Blender, where you can see the orange highlights the "Alpha Blend" faces of the mesh, and you can see it has non-alpha mesh over it which will be the same texture but as "Alpha Mask" to prevent visible alpha bug. The upper pieces of the hair you can see are just left as they are because they do not really conflict and are meant to be more sheer.

hairalpha.png

haircomparison2.png

Edited by Kouki Elska
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Thank you very much for your advice, it is exactly what I intend to do, and I hope, I achieved it (it is difficult to keep the polygons low when trying to make wavy hair xD)

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As promised, this is the hair I did partially with alpha hair (I only did it in the bangs part)

Screenshot_1.png.12856908b3421f7e157ff86b4b24321f.png

I did it by duplicating the bangs and giving a masking to the one at the bottom. This is the result seen closely, very similar to the hair of the other creators:

Screenshot_2.png.58fee12974ed15010e9152fae97f8882.png

This is a view from inside the bangs, where the part with masking is located. But you can see the details more clearly by seeing it in person xD:

Screenshot_3.png.a997324598b7deb5d4626b3acc20a1d3.png

My conclusion is that doing this type of hair is very difficult (for me it was) because you cannot duplicate all forms harmoniously. The more curves a strand has, the more it will cost to find a way that the masking layer does not break the layer with blending. And second, is that more resources of the SL engine are spent to have to process not one, but two hairs at the same time, there are also creators who put several layers of hair to "change the style" with a HUD.

I will continue using this technique, but as Kouki said, only in some parts.

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