Thursday, January 21st, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out new Maya hair plugin Draw Groom Guides

Originally posted on 21 January 2021. Scroll down for updates.

Software developer UnPLUG Tools has released Draw Groom Guides, an interesting new plugin intended to make the process of creating hair guides in Maya more art-directable.

The lightweight tool makes it possible to create a deformable target mesh defining the overall volume of the hair or fur, then have the tips of the hair guides snap automatically to its surface.

Snap hair guides to a target mesh, then sculpt the volume of the hairstyle interactively
Rather than an artist having to sculpt each guide curve for a hair groom entirely manually, Draw Groom Guides makes the process semi-automated.

Users begin by creating a mesh to define the target hair volume: the overall 3D form of the hairstyle. The simplest way is to duplicate the head mesh, then modify it with Maya’s standard modelling tools.

Guide curves can then be drawn in freehand, with the root of each guide hair automatically snapping to the head mesh, and its tip to the volume mesh.

The overall form of the hairstyle can then be edited interactively by moving or reshaping the volume mesh.

Users can also customise the form of the hair guides via built-in shape controls, including the option to display them in the viewport as tube meshes to give a better sense of the hair volume.

Once created, the hair guides can be used in Maya’s XGen toolset or more fully-featured third-party hair plugins like Yeti or Ornatrix.

Updated 24 May 2021: UnPLUG Tools has released Draw Groom Guides 1.5, adding an option to convert Maya curves to guides.

The firm has also just released another Maya add-on intended to streamline the process of grooming hair and fur in Maya, CombMyGuides ToolKit, which costs $50 for an individual licence.

Pricing and system requirements
Draw Groom Guides 1.5 is available for Maya 2017 on Windows, macOS and Linux. An individual licence costs $30, while floating studio licences cost $370 for up to 20 seats, or $680 for unlimited seats.

Read more about Draw Groom Guides for Maya in UnPLUG Tools’ Gumroad store