Version 2 has begun development and discord followers will receive free alpha test builds from time to time. (ETA 2022)
Demo version will only receive updates every major release (less frequent updates).
FREE full 4k Sample Textures included + DEMO (no export/saving)
The SIMPLEST solution for generating hair textures at a one off cost, perpetual license. Buy it now, UPDATES FREE FOREVER! (no price hiking! Price will only increase by a very small amount at the end of the Financial Year to cope with inflation).
Minimal Memory Usage (Works on 4GB machines)
Pixel based strand generation (no 3D strip-based cut-through issues)
Designed for Hair Shader 2 (Unity) and Stylised Hair Shader (Unreal Engine)
Frequent updates with planned features and future versions made free to current buyers, no extra costs.
4k Support (windowed version)**
Added Heart icon so you can see the 'pulse' of the software. If it is still, be patient, don't click as it can upset the intense rendering or file saving.
Windowed mode - window moved so there is only a slither of the top bar for grabbing and moving - this means you don't have to maximize manually as doing that would affect the texture memory and give you grey renders. If you get grey renders F6 or restart.
Press F6 if you do resize or minimize or maximize the window at any point in time to refresh the texture memory.
Latest Version 1.62.2 updated on the 18th June, 2021 - Improved normal map pass.
Workflow best practice:
Recently in V 1.581 - 5th Feb - Highlighting:
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. Improved normal map pass. Multi and single strand mode. Improved compatibility. Slow, Medium and Fast modes to improve UX.
Progressive display mode (DyanMode) to increase performance, plus solo mode (Click twice on a a set number)
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
Previous videos (may be useful)
LATEST VIDEO (In depth): (18th April 2020)
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 at full length. 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.
Performance varies from machine to machine, it was tested on a Medium Spec PC with 16gb Ram, Nvidia 970GTX, i7.
If you are having issue with the Windows version losing focus / restarting itself. Try the Fullscreen version, it is much more stable.
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Root Jitter range increased, please note this will affect older files you load, their root position will be affected by this extra increase in range.
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
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
00| Release v.1.62.01 | Commercial License - For Freelance work | 25 days ago
It's excellent for people who are bad at this and want a refined result quickly.
Not to mentioned priced very well for how great a product it is.
I see a lot of potential down the line for people who want to take it seriously.
00| Release v.1.62.01 | Indie / Hobbyist use - For Folio work | about 2 months ago
What does this program do that is so power intensive? I've got a gaming rig with RTX 3070 and it feels like my PC is about to fly away everytime I open this program, it runs at 5 FPS in the generation screen too, making it very tedious to select strands and sliders. I'm guessing it's because the program continues to render or refresh strands, even if you're not making any changes to them? Still a handy tool though, would be 5 stars if not for the horrible performance.
Edit: The UI appears to run much better now, and no longer stutters, still performance intensive, but as the author explained, not much can be done about that. Bumped up to 5 stars.
Thanks for the honest review Tomas. The main reason for the performance issue is that when I first created the application there was no way to preview the strands and you had to render to see the results which was much more of a time consuming process, so reluctantly I decided to create a previewer which is not very performance friendly due to the way that it draws the hairs pixel by pixel, there are optimization modes at the bottom left, that as well as isolating a set by clicking on the number twice will help a bit. You can Also Press F2 to toggle on motion detection optimization which will reduce the previewer detail if you are moving the mouse.
EDIT: I've made some improvements in V1.65 which means the UI now avoids any latency as much as possible but strand updates only happen on mouse release.
10| Release v.1.62.01 | Indie / Hobbyist use - For Folio work | 4 months ago
Very good tool for creating hair cards. But some things I feel can be improved which is why I am not giving 5 stars.
The UI needs work. The UI elements look abit messy as they are not aligned nicely. Some of the text is very hard to see (very small dark grey text on a slightly lighter grey background with little contrast).
I also do not like that turning on the multistrand option affects all hairclumps, it would be better as a toggleable option for each clump so that you do not have to spend time manually combining the generated maps inside photoshop if you only want extra strands on certain clumps.
i also find that the maximum values for the parameters that you can change are sometimes limiting, I found that having only 11 clumps maximum and 100 strands per clump, and only 3 different mixer options is too little, which again forced me to spend time combining maps in photoshop to get the desired result. Just a bit more would have been perfect.
Thanks for the concise review, all things I agree on too. As this is HSD1 and was grown very organically in terms of features, HSD2 will defiantly be taking all these things into consideration and be a vast improvement and I am sure you will like it. It will take some time to develop but it has begun and will be a free upgrade for all users. This could even change your review in the future when it is ready. Thanks again for making use of this product and the 4 stars is well respected. Robert