Digital human

Hey folks!
Just finished this R&D project on real-time character rendering in UE4. The engine has come a long way when it comes to skin, eye and hair shading. I used the new strand-based hair system, very pleased with the results. Hair creation and grooming in Maya via IGS. If you have any questions, just let me know. Head scan by




That’s beautiful work Dist :slight_smile:

Thanks ioFLow!

Great work! Could you shed some light on the workflow of using the new strand-based hair system for the hair and inter-op between Maya’s IGS?

@anonymous_user_d5d59e40 Thanks! As for the workflow, it’s very straight forward. You just export your IGS via Generate -> Cache -> Export Cache (make sure to tick “Write Final Width”) and in UE4 you import with conversion settings that accommodate your DCC (in my case X=-90, Y=0, Z=-180). I also had to set the scale for X to -1 in the scene to flip it horizontally. Let me know if you run into any issues.



@The_Distiller do you know how to expose the hair root/tip scale and other attributes? see attached…I can get a groom across and looks good but would look a whole lot better if i can expose and utilize these attributes. I understand (correct me if wrong) you need to add these properties to the .abc export. I just have no clue how to add them to it. Any help would be great!!! :slight_smile: Sorry for posting here and Artstation, this comment hadn’t been approved until this morning, after you replied back yesterday.

Figured out the above, if anyone is interested, the root tip features in the groom node is available via the “master” branch on git hub.

That’s some outstanding work -it is incredible what we can do and how accessible it is compared to only a few years back. (Much credit to Epic for what they’ve done for that).

What kind of performance did you get with this? Would it be usable in a real time game with multiple characters around? I’m thinking up close encounters/conversations predominately.

I’m still quite baffled with the new hair system though. I looked at the NVidia Hairworks program, which shows it off well, but getting anything from that in to UE is a bit beyond me at the moment and the documentation seems to skip literally the most important parts. Unfortunately I don’t have access to Maya etc and only use Blender. It would’ve helped if there were at least a single example hair asset in the 4.24 release (and I’ll happily be told I’m an idiot and pointed to where it is if there is one!).

@Boruki Thanks! The new system is relatively slow in 4.24 and not suited for games. Keep in mind though that it is early days and I’m sure it’ll get faster with each release.

When you say the system do you mean your whole approach or just the current hair system in UE4?

I’m struggling to even get it to import assets - it only allows me to make a static mesh. If I try to create a groom actor BP the editor just crashes… as it’s so new theres so little out there to explain what to do.

I’m talking about the new hair system’s performance, it’s just slow atm. The workflow on the other hand is super easy and straight forward. I guess you already checked the docs? It has a quick start guide.

@The_Distiller Thanks for the workflow tips. We have an internal hair system to author the groom and need to convert that to polys. The performance is indeed a concern at the moment.

I did check the documents - but I’m obviously missing something! There’s about 5 different pages for it. I have a mesh I’ve created in Blender, it’s imported (although currently invisible).

I’m not likely to get anywhere though if the engine crashes (in two different projects) as soon as I create a standard groom asset BP.

@Boruki When you say “mesh” I assume you’re talking about geometry. UE4 however expects curves for a groom, so make sure the hair from blender is exported as alembic curves.

This is how I’ve exported them from Blender:

It states the hair is being exported as a curve. But I must be doing something wrong if it get’s imported as a static mesh.

@Boruki Since this is a specific issue I’d suggest you open a new thread and we take the conversation there.


But just to re-iterate - amazing work! Also congrats on being featured on the launcher - well deserved.

Thanks dude!

Does this have a full body mesh, or is it just the head? Will this be available for purchase on the market place?

It’s just the head and not intended for sale, sorry.

Do you use transparent shading model for facial hair rendering? For my case, it will be flickering when using masked opacity, or get some shadowing issue when using transparent mode.