Check out Coiffure, a neat Maya add-on for real-time hair
Character TD Florian Croquet has released Coiffure, a useful-looking Maya add-on that simplifies the process of creating geometry-based hair for use in games and real-time work.
The tool bakes strand-based hair created using Maya’s XGen toolset to textures and applies those textures to geometry strips, which can be created and groomed with Coiffure’s custom ribbon tool.
Convert XGen hair to hair cards for use in games and real-time work
Coiffure streamlines the workflow often used in production for converting strand-based hair to faster-rendering geometry-based hair, baking out sets of strands as textures and applying the textures to hair cards.
Users can either create their own sets of XGen strands, or pick from Coiffure’s built-in library.
The plugin is tailored towards baking textures with Maya’s bundled Arnold renderer, and comes with hair colour presets for Arnold’s hair shader and 10 preset Arnold AOVs.
The hair cards can be created using Maya’s native tools, or by using Coiffure’s Ribbon brush to scatter geometry strips across the scalp surface. Strips created using the Ribbon brush are automatically UV mapped and oriented to the normals of the scalp meshes, and remain editable when duplicated.
Users can then apply their baked textures, with the option to assign textures randomly across hair cards.
Unlike Maya’s native toolset, each part of the process is iterative, making it possible to move back to a previous step to make changes without destroying work done later.
According to Croquet, Coiffure also includes a collaborative reviewing system, and groom presets can be exported and shared with other members of a team.
Updated 6 February 2020: Florian Croquet has released Coiffure 1.1, a free update to the software.
The release adds support for feathers as well as hair and fur, making it possible to create strand-based feathers and convert them to textures in the same way as hair.
The workflow is shown in the video above: if you’re wondering, the footage at the start and end shows Stan Winston’s practical effects for 1980s TV series Manimal.
Other changes in Coiffure 1.1 include support for baking rectangular as well as square textures.
Pricing and system requirements
Coiffure is available for Maya 2018 and above. It costs €75 (around $83) for an freelance licence, for users earning under $100,000/year, or €150 ($166) for a studio licence. Monthly subscriptions are also available.
Read a full list of features in Coiffure for Maya on Florian Croquet’s blog
(Note: the information is split across several blog posts. Includes demo videos.)