Trying to paint hair, need some help

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  1. #1
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    Trying to paint hair, need some help

    Ok, ive been trying to get this look right and it still doesn't I feel like its missing something or there isnt enough of something else. Here is what I have so far. This is first shot at trying to get realistic hair but it still looks cartoony =(

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  3. #2
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    please anyone who has done this before

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  4. #3
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    I'm a hair novice (although I have hair). It looks okay to me, except that you seem to have given it a totally uniform appearance. Is there lighting in your picture?

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  8. #6
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    Fuseboy - Well the scene is going to take place at night, so there will be the moon light, but im not sure just how much light that would add to the hair.

    Pate5 - Thanks for the link. Helped a bit.

    Any other suggestions would be helpful, thanks.

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  9. #7
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    It's almost impossible to draw good looking hair as a bunch of individual hairs -- as counterintuitive as that sounds. The shine doesn't go down the length of the hair, but across masses of it in flat areas.

    James Gurney calls it the "ribbon secret" and explains it very well here.

    Notice, in the examples he gives, hair is painted mostly as flat ribbony masses, then some individual hairs are added on top -- mostly around the frame of the silhouette.

    I was once on the receiving end of a critique so savagely nasty, I marched straight out of class to the office and changed my major (sketchbook).
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  11. #8
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    stoat is right about the treatment of individual hairs, you have to treat hair as a mass quite similarly to everything else.

    since the scene is at night and the moon is a fairly weak light source most of the hair probably wont be very bright, but their are point on the surface where the hair can reflect the moon itself very brightly. This is called a specular highlight and it is a reflection of the light source, theirs a thread about speculars here http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...light=specular.

    local color wont count for much here because the light source is weak and the light that dose show up is a reflection of the moon so the reflected light will take on the light sources color.

    as a final note the eye looks flat, the lid should curve around the eyeball to show its form.

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  13. #9
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    Stoat - THANKS! that link is very helpful!

    Surfandsnow - OMG thank you, thank you. Thats what it was missing and why none if it ever looked right!!!!! they tips are fabulous and i redid it and it looks good. thanks again! BTW the eye looks much better as well thanks.

    WOOT i think this looks a BAZILLION times better!!!! THANKS GUYS! I changed a few things here and there. But I'm liking it so far!



    Last edited by Havok Reed; August 31st, 2009 at 04:08 PM.
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  14. #10
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    Yeh draw your hair in blocks - if you want it too look like a block. Please people, if you want to draw hair realistically you'll have to put the time in. Draw stand by strand. Hair is layered and you will have to draw it that way to make it look good. Blocking in the hair will give you a foundation to start with. Hands down the best tutorial I've seen - http://features.cgsociety.org/story_...?story_id=3174
    and it was the first search item on Google under painting hair.

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    Hair does not need to be drawn strand by strand, as sometimes only slight definition and detail where it's needed is enough to give the impression of actual hair. Realism comes in many different ways which is what makes the art interesting.

    The ribbon technique really fascinated me, it's very helpful. Thanks for sharing.

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    Impressionism and realism are too different styles.
    Realism comes in many different ways which is what makes the art interesting
    Yeh that makes a lot of sense - kind of defeats the purpose of realism. He didn't ask how to make alternate reality hair (or manga) , he asked how to paint realistic hair. Any how, keep exploring all techniques Havok and see what works best for you. Good luck!

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  18. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by eb_sculpt View Post
    Yeh that makes a lot of sense - kind of defeats the purpose of realism. He didn't ask how to make alternate reality hair (or manga) , he asked how to paint realistic hair.
    You misunderstood me. I meant to say that there are different ways to make a certain subject look realistic without having to go through the pain of painting each and every tiny detail exactly as it is.

    Last edited by Lhune; August 31st, 2009 at 04:20 PM.
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  20. #14
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    If your going to recommend a article, make sure you read it first.

    quote from eb_sculpt "you'll have to put the time in. Draw stand by strand."

    quote from the article

    "Common mistakes:
    A lot of people start painting hair by painting the strands. Some won't even block it in, initially, but start frantically sketching in strand after strand on top of each other."

    I'll also mention for future reference that hair like other things has two different properties diffuse and specular. The diffuse lighting is lower contrast and softer and its the diffuse light that will show the hair mass and the local color and the specular high lights help indicate the location of the light source, the curve of the hair, and how shiny it is. because specular are high contrast it makes them a good opportunity to show texture and details of the form your trying to describe. details are also present alot in core shadows but that dosent apply to hair a whole lot.

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  21. #15
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    Well EB, you are correct. It does take time to make things look good. But I will tell you this, I am not rushing through this at all. Hence why I asked for some help, which I have gotten and I love that people are really cool about it. I appreciate every bit of advice, which BTW thanks for another great link. I did how ever use this link on my first few attempts, (Im so new to this, its where I learned how to make a custom brush, lol) but its good for other people to use.

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  22. #16
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    I've always been dubious about that tutorial, eb_sculpt. I mean, quite apart from the idea that photorealism is just one of a gazillion ways to approach representational painting, and not particularly the most interesting one.

    I mean specifically, the tutorial looks the last image is a softened photo and he worked backwards from there erasing things trying to make it look like a drawing.

    An example: in frame 14, see that little strand of hair that loops across the mass of hair? See how it has a little forked end? Well, in the previous frame, the beginning of that hair is there, and the forked end is there, but the stroke is missing in the middle. Why would you have the beginning and end of the stroke before you have the stroke? See what I'm pointing to?

    If I owe him an apology, fine. But even if it is 100% drawing, the very fact that I mistook it for a snapshot with some gaussian blur applied means...what's the point? I find any one of the oldstyle illustrations in Gurney's post more beautiful and, in their own way, more realistic. Or more evocative of hair, anyway.

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    @ Stoat: I definitely agree with the point about photo realism in the article. If you want your art to look like a photo whats the point? I dont know if id say that the articles fake, but regardless, its a little too much for just about anyone but advanced artists.

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    I did - step 8 -
    paint strand after strand after strand on top of each other, then on top of those on a new layer, strand after strand. Do up to five different layers with different colours, set them to different opacity, blur the strands individually either with smudge or with the blur tool and just keep at it.
    Blocking is good for form, but you'll have to use a custom brush that can do strands to get that realistic look.

    If you want your art to look like a photo whats the point?
    Seriously - have you ever seen or taken a picture of a werewolf? Do you want to make it believable? Sometimes you have to paint things that are based on reality to achieve the fantasy.

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    Havok Reed--
    What you think is your problem isn't really your problem. The question isn't "how do I paint hair," it's "how do I paint?" Until you begin to understand structure and form, the most beautifully rendered textures in the world aren't going to do you any good.


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  30. #21
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    elwell makes a good point your problems with hair probably stem from a lack of understanding about lighting and probably ultimately stems from problems with perspective.

    you might want to try to block in the planes of the face and hair and MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHICH DIRECTION THEIR FACING IN 3D SPACE. Practicing cross contours might help too. you need to make sure you have a solid idea as to where the plane is pointing so that you can get the lighting right. Getting the lighting right is very hard if you dont have a good idea of which direction the plane is facing.

    I'll also mention that none of these threads mention speculars, and if you dont understand how they are formed its going to be difficult to paint the highlight correctly.

    A texture brush will not paint things for you, you have to understand what causes the lighting of the hair. Thats why I gave you a link about speculars and not, 'how to paint hair' or more accurately 'how to paint this random object'.

    eb_sculpt: I responded rudely because you responded rudely. "Yeh draw your hair in blocks - if you want it too look like a block." sarcasm is not polite.

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  31. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwell View Post
    Havok Reed--
    What you think is your problem isn't really your problem. The question isn't "how do I paint hair," it's "how do I paint?" Until you begin to understand structure and form, the most beautifully rendered textures in the world aren't going to do you any good.
    First off, this is something that I already know. That's why I joined this forum, is to learn. Secondly, I didn't mention a single word about textures. I don't use them because I don't know how yet. Everything I'm doing is a learning experience. When I get to the textures part, I will look around and ask people who are willing to give pointers and what not.

    surfandsnow - Also, I understand lighting, it is the fact that I have never done digital painting nor have I ever painted/drawn detailed hair. This is just another study that I am working on.

    I ask for help and aside from the very helpful tips that people were generous enough to take the time and help me with, I get responses saying that I don't have any idea what I'm doing and that I don't understand things. That just pisses me off because that's not helpful at all, it's just a pointless statement that is completely unnecessary.

    Thirdly, being rude to other people in a forum who have different opinions is childish, especially an ART forum. All opinions about the related topic are welcome, but please don't go ranting and bashing other people in a thread that I created where I'm seeking help.

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  32. #23
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    Calm down man, Elwell's not being rude. The point being made is that you need a better understanding of how to depict form. When you get the hang of that, things like how to paint hair become clearer on their own, you'll start to see what you need to in order to depict it. This is a mistake I made when I was first learning to paint- looking at hair/eye/lip tutorials before I really knew how to draw the head and its underlying structure.

    The hair in your painting looks a little better than it did at first, but you need to think about the mass of the head, the planes, light direction, etc in order to really make sense of it and to depict the hair properly. That's what Elwell's getting at.

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  34. #24
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    I understand what he was getting at, but the way it was said kinda came off rudely when I read it. The way it sounds is "learn to paint, textures wont help you". So I'm just like, wow, ok. So you can see why I took that way. Apologies to elwell.

    Moving on. Anyway, Sidharth, thats pretty much how I'm going about all of this, tutorials and what not. This is just one of those things where it's my first time doing it and I want to get it right because I'm picky like that. Also, when I first started drawing, it was always Anime style and I wanted to break free from that because I felt like I was always drawing a cartoon. Don't get me wrong, drawing anime is a good place to start when it comes to drawing the body and stuff. But for the head, it's a whole different ball game. Most of the same rules apply except there are no saucer sized eye balls, pointy noses, and people have lips.

    Everything I have posted so far is just the hair process. I haven't gone into detail with the face quite yet.

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