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This is how I make hairs

Discussion in 'Tutorials' started by Gingerless Soul, May 29, 2013.

  1. Gingerless Soul

    Gingerless Soul Avid Affiliate

    Mar 22, 2013
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    A few notes:
    -this is my first tutorial
    -I'm not well versed with using Inkscape
    -I'm more comfortable with Photoshop since I've had more experience with it
    -I've only been making hairs for about 3 months
    -I don't use the "paint bucket" tool because it doesn't work as intended. This is a problem with the way vector paths work. I know there is a solution to this but I haven't bothered to learn how to fix it. And in some cases, having overlaping fills is beneficial.
    -I still haven't learned how to taper lines

    -You should already have a basic understanding of the bezier tool before you attempt to make hairs using inkscape
    -You won't need a drawing tablet for this, this can all be done with a mouse and keyboard
    -This is also a learning process for me. I am constantly striving to improve my techniques so if you have awesome time-saving tips for Inkscape or want me to explain something in further detail leave a comment below.
    -Thanks for reading and I sincerely hope this will help some people

    In this tutorial I will show you how I create hair imports for SDT using Inkscape and Photoshop. I will also show you a few tricks I learned in Inkscape.

    Inkscape for lines and coloring.
    Photoshop for editing and cutting.
    Maineim's template svg files.
    View attachment taemplate-blank.svg
    He also has an Inkscape tutorial which you can see here Undertow Is Live | Undertow

    The way I create hairs is by taking as many references as possible and then choosing the ones with the best profile views. Then I try, to the best of my ability, to recreate the hair as accuratley as possible in Inkscape. If its necessary I export the hair to Photoshop where I cut the hair into peices that fit the SDT template. Finally, I test the hair for errors like spacing, alignment, or color. If I need to adjust the color or add more lines, I go back into Inkscape. If its a problem with spacing or alignment I can fix it in Photoshop. After all this is done I take a snapshot of the final hair and paste a preview in the lower right hand corner of the import and its ready to share. To see how this is done check out the process below.

    First things first: Open the Layers Window (Ctrl+Shift+L) select the Reference shots layer then import/paste your references. The example I am using for this tutorial is Maeda Keji from Hyakka Ryouran: Samurai Bride. As you can see its not a perfect reference because the ponytail part of her hair is obscured by her dress. Sometimes I get references like these and my solution is just to assume that the rest of the hair flows similar to the visible part. If the visible portion is convex I will make the non-visible portion be concave and vice versa. If I can't draw the lines how they should look, then I will draw them how I think they should look.

    Now for the actual drawing. Select the Lines layer then select the Bezier tool (Shift+F6) and make an outline of the hair by placing nodes along points that will need to be curved as well as corners. I like to start from the neck but it doesn't matter. I also like to make my paths with a red stroke before converting to its final color. You can change it by going to the menu bar > Object > Fill and Stroke (Ctrl+Shift+F). Then under the Stroke paint tab adjust the RGB sliders.

    Word of advice, set the hair inward a little so when she isn't choking on dick the hair doesn't come off her neck like so.

    Also some parts of the hair are going to be placed in the BACK section of the template, therefore I am not going to make a full outline of the hair but just the section that will be placed in the TOP and UNDER. I make new layers for these parts of the hair because I will be exporting them separately.

    After all the nodes are set up, I adjust the lines to makes the curves using the Node tool (Shift+F2). Holding shift while dragging a node with right mouse button will create a uh, line thingy that can be used to change the curvature of the path. As far as I know each node can have 2 of these curve adjusters.

    If I want to have a smooth looking path that doesn't indent at each node, I press this button to smooth it out.

    Now that I have the outline complete I make a test hair to see if the length of the ponytail is okay or if I need to adjust anything else by going to File > Export Bitmap (Ctrl+Shift+E). Under Export Area make sure the values for Width and Height are 1200 and 2400, respectively.

    Then I go back, readjust some path nodes if I need to and start making the rest of the hair lines.

    Once that's finished select only the hair outline with the Node tool (Shift+F2) and go to Edit > Copy (Ctrl+C) then select the Fill layer and do Edit > Paste in place (Ctrl+Alt+V). Now I have a copy of the hair outline that I will use for the hair color.

    With the hair outline copy still selected, open the Fill and Stroke window (Ctrl+Shift+F). Under the Fill tab I can use a solid color fill or a gradient fill for the path.
    A gradient is like a gradual change between two or more colors. To make a gradient select the Linear gradient icon under the Fill tab. To edit the color of the gradient double click on one of the nodes and then pick a color.

    A quick way to get the right color is to use the Dropper tool (F7). Select the hair outline in the Fill layer and just click on the colors used in the references. Then turn off the opacity of the stroke by making the Alpha's value 0.
    This part of the hair should be cleared. What I am going to do is select the path from the Lines layer then go to Objects > Raise to top. Select both the path then the hair fill and do Path > Difference.

    Now for the shading, using the same method as the hair fill I copy the original hair outline and then I paste it on the Bright and shadows layer. Then I edit the nodes to reflect the shape of the shadows. After copying and pasting, break the path at the nodes where the shadows will end.

    Have the shadow path selected and use the bezier tool make new nodes and connect the paths. The other shadow paths will have to be drawn in manually. After all that is done I typically use a gradient to fill the paths. Don't forget to set the shadow's stroke opacity to 0. Repeat this step for the highlights as well.
    Now I export to Photoshop where I cut that shit up.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 25, 2015
    SyntaxTerror likes this.
  2. gyn

    gyn Avid Affiliate

    Sep 22, 2012
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    its well explained and easy to follow amazing tutorial :)
    i will give it a try kudos to you ;)
  3. dotsanddots

    dotsanddots Guest

    Very thorough tutorial thanks :D but i do have one question; why go through the trouble of recreation when you could trace the reference pic? All you would have to do is make a layer transparent and then place the nodes
  4. limecat

    limecat Potential Patron

    May 7, 2013
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    the file would probably be a jpg then, swf files can not be created with photoshop
  5. Vestrum Andrejas

    Vestrum Andrejas Potential Patron

    Nov 16, 2013
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    Can you save the new ones if they've been imported twice?
  6. Gingerless Soul

    Gingerless Soul Avid Affiliate

    Mar 22, 2013
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    The problem with tracing reference images is when they are superimposed onto the hair template the reference is not compatible with the shape of the head in the template. Sometimes the hair is too narrow for the head and thus will not cover the entire head. Its like playing with lego and mega blocks/kre-o where the former is the template and the latter the reference image. Sometimes I get a mega block that fits too tightly onto the lego, other times I get one that fits too loosely. In either case I get something that doesn't look like they belong together. But now you might be wandering why I don't just trace and then move the nodes. I tried this once before but then I ended up spending so much time editing the nodes that I could have just placed the nodes freehand. This is not to say that I am ignoring the fact that some hairs were meant to resemble their origins but that I try to find a balance between a seamless hair and accurate portrayal to its original source.

    tl;dr tracing non-perfect references won't cut it, the product will look bad.

    I like to save my files in png format because I hear it reduces the quality compression so I get clearer and sharper images.

    I really don't know what you are referring to. If you would clarify for me I might be able to answer your question.