HAIR STRAND DESIGNER - STANDALONE TOOL FOR PC ONLY (HSD was initially created in April 2019 and is completely developed by 1 person, it may need some help in the form of bug reports, especially on update releases.)
Latest Version 1.5 updated on the 25th October 2020.
Per-set override control for most sliders - DONE
Position control via mouse - DONE
Fix unwanted shuffling of neighbouring strand sets - DONE
Saving and Loading (detecting older file types and still having compatibility) 0 (expected done by 29th Oct) - DONE
Per strand images to add even more strands (instead of singular) - (expected done by 26th Oct) - DONE
Alternative normal map generated from Depth pass. - DONE [ TESTING PHASE before Version 1.5 Release ]
Planned for Version 1.6 (around Xmas 2020)
Rogue colour + frequency for even more colour control (for the colour pass)
Swap Colour picker image for any other image/multiple palettes
Copy/paste setting of one set to another
Predefined setups/user defined pre-sets
Red channel mask bias control (for more control over the variation tones)
Waviness mixer curve (to give more control of the waviness power - will need experimentation)
Preview of version 1.5 (demo included)
GENERAL FEATURES and UPDATES of Version 1.5(Current)
Full set control and repositioning, mixer control. Much improved usability and overall tuning. Improced normal map pass. Multi and single strand mode. Improved compatibility. Slow, Medium and Fast modes to improve UX.
Hair preview is now a little more accurate estimate to the final render but still not 1:1 due to performance limitations, always generate a colour or depth map which are good for checking.
Algorithm refinements (Will affect older files, load and regenerate then save the new HSD).
Blur button now blurs as you hold the button down, or press B, it works on the currently active map being viewed (must have been generated before).
Memory leak has been investigated and needs to be worked around manually (currently due to a bug in the IDE). Save your HSD file after generating a map for checking. Restart HSD to clear the memory and reload the file. HSD will memory leak if you are constantly asking for many renders of many hairs. This will only be fixed when it is fixed at the IDE end (Gamemaker Studio 2) - This may be down to large texture sizes and bad Graphics Memory management.
If there is a crash, you should be able to press F11 to recover the 'state' of HSD before it crashed, the best option is to simply reload your HSD file and re-generate (this will basically give you all the memory capacity needed). A good tip is to leave the AO map to the end as it is particularly prone to the issue perhaps due to the multi-pass nature of higher RGB content in that texture (not certain).
Save your files to a folder outside of the HSD folder or it will be moved to the folder: C:\Users\*username*\AppData\Local
QUICK GUIDE: Press Enter or Click Generate to Generate rendered strands of enabled texture types. Save the HSD file (Bottom right) after making edits. Save your files to a separate folder from the program to avoid them being moved to local appdata folders. Play with the sliders, get used to them!
Hair Strand Designer creates hair strands in the form of 4k texture maps ready for placing onto your hair cards. It produces an RGB Masking system for Color Variation(red channel), Root Mask(green channel) and Tip Mask(Blue channel) This masking system is designed for shaders where you want to control the colors directly in a game engine or even via Photoshop. It does produce a Color Map which uses the RGB masking technique just mentioned, it also creates a Normal Map, Depth Map, ID Map and Mask Map, New: AO map and Flow map. You have control of waviness, tapering, scale, variation, coloring, spacing, thickness, length and number of strands in 8 possible sets.
Please Note, If you have bought the Unreal Hair Shader pack, then there is no need to buy this pack separately as it comes with that pack and is updated at the same time for no extra cost. For anyone who has bought both packs you are entitled to a refund for this pack, just send me a PM and I'll be happy to do so.
Processing your textures created in Hair Strand Designer using Photoshop (optional):
Functions: F1 - View/Enter custom seed value (Randomization ON creates a new seed number, enter your own seed number then disable Randomization, then click generate to see your own seed value represented).
Once generated, save out your maps and recombine them however you like in Photoshop/Gimp.
Potentially you could also use these generated hairs as brushes or for other nice painting effects!
Hair Textures Generated with this tool can be used either personally or commercially based on the purchase tier, if it's just for hobby/folio work, the standard licence will be fine for you. If you are doing freelance work or if you are part of a company and using this at work, you should by the extended commercial licence. Many thanks!
Memory Crash is cause by asking HSD to render too many textures in one go. Try to limit things to just a few textures if you are using more than 400 strands. Typically you should think of each texture pass as having a memory allocated to it. The calculations are intensive, so try to generate map-by-map. You can do all at once if you are only using about 200 strands or less (depends on your machine), however the AO pass is very memory hungry, so keep that to last or on its own. If you are trying to generate about 1000 hair-strands, definitely just go one-by-one. I recommend 16gb Ram, and i7 or Ryzen 7 and above. A high-spec Graphics card will also be beneficial.
For personal or hobby use only (non-profit, folio based)
One installation by a single user.
All Updates are Free. (will include free access to future versions)
It can be installed on any machines owned by one single user. (example 1 home pc, 1 laptop, 1 family pc but not work PC, for work PC's please purchase an extended license below).Read MoreRead Less
For use for profit based work or part of your company who you might work for. (commercial, profit or funded game development based, also includes personal use.)
All updates are Free, (will include free access to future versions)
You can install it on : Your home PC, Work PC or Laptop, Family device. (One machine per department / used at home for when working from home or on the move).Read MoreRead Less
For multiple machine use in the working environment. Perpetual, free updates, install on any number of machines. Can be installed on ones own machines if working from home. If one no longer works with this establishment, their own personal or commercial licence should be purchased.Read MoreRead Less
Can be used in a single Educational Course E.G VFX. One purchase per Course of Education any number of machines. Perpetual Licence with free updates. Updates must be installed manually. Can be used on a students own home or laptop machine while in education, after this a new licence should be purchased for their own personal use or commercial use if applicable.Read MoreRead Less
10| Release v.1.5002 | Standard Use License | 7 days ago
Artist intuitive and easy to pick up. Consistent updates and developer accessibility/support make this app worth a purchase. Plus, It utilizes hardly any utility space. I recommend for those in need of real time hair strand solutions.
10| Release v.1.5002 | Commercial License - Singular | about 1 month ago
Fantastic tool, simple to use once you get your head around the UI, which hopefully will see a facelift in the future.
Produces adjustable and high quality maps for hair of different types and lengths - 100% recommended for pipelines outside of Maya/ Ornatrix or 3DS Max hair and fur.
10| Release v.1.5002 | Standard Use License | 3 months ago
Masterpiece. Waiting for future updates. Right now I think "quality of life" updates such as good UI and UX will be more relevant then new features. :) But program does it's job pretty good, so I don't complain.