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Blender 3D New Hair System to Lightwave 3D FiberFX Workflow

In this tutorial I'll show you how to convert Blender's 3D new hair system to Lightwave 3D FiberFx. For this, I am using the Einar's demo file that can be downloaded here. Also, you can become more familiar with Blender's new hair system features by watching the developer's video here.


Blender's 3D new hair system cannot be exported directly as curves like 3D artists are use to do with the classic hair particle system. To be able to export the new hair system curves to another software, the artist must select each created hair bundle (which is a geometry nodes assembly) and switch to sculpt mode. Then, inside the Curves menu, there is an option to Convert to Particle System. This will convert the curves to the Blender's classic particle system that can be exported as alembic cache or usd, for example. By the way, in doing so, the artist can add modifications using the particle system hair options, combining them with the geometry nodes setup.


Converting the geometry nodes hair to a particle system.
Converting the geometry nodes hair to a particle system.

Menu Curves > Convert to Particle System.
Menu Curves > Convert to Particle System.



All geometry nodes were converted and disabled on the viewport.
All geometry nodes were converted and disabled on the viewport.

A hair particle system was created for each geometry nodes grooming.
A hair particle system was created for each geometry nodes grooming.

At this point, the artist will be able to render the hair using another render engine instead of Cycles, because, now, the artist has the classic Blender 3D particle system, which is recognizable by third party render engines as Redshift, Renderman or Octane, for example. Also, it is easy to export to other render engines as Clarisse or Guerilla Render as alembic cache or usd bundle. However, to export it to Lightwave 3D, it is a completely different story.


Lightwave 3D does not recognize the curves in an alembic cache or fbx, and doesn't have support for usd either. If the artist try to export it, in the current state showed in this tutorial, using an obj or any other format, Lightwave still wouldn't be able to read the curves. To be able to use them in Lightwave 3D, the artist will need to convert all the created particle system to mesh.


Converting the particle system to mesh.
Converting the particle system to mesh.



I also applied all modifiers.
I also applied all modifiers.

I recommend to organize the scene before exporting. This will easy and reduce the necessary work to be done in Lightwave 3D.


Renaming the meshes to be able to identify and to organize them easily in Lightwave 3D.
Renaming the meshes to be able to identify and to organize them easily in Lightwave 3D.

On this scene, some meshes aren't necessary. The artist can  delete them.
On this scene, some meshes aren't necessary. The artist can delete them.

All hair meshes were renamed, and are now ready to be exported.
All hair meshes were renamed, and are now ready to be exported.

Here are selected all geometry that needs to be exported.
Here are selected all geometry that needs to be exported.

The geometry needs to be exported as an OBJ file. Note that the option curves as NURBS must be ticked on.


Exporting as obj.
Exporting as obj.

Inside Lightwave 3D Modeler, make sure that, before importing the file, the option OBJ One Layer is unchecked in the OBJ tab at General Options. This will load each mesh in a separated layer.



The object was loaded and each mesh is in a separated layer, which will ease the organization of the scene.
The object was loaded and each mesh is in a separated layer, which will ease the organization of the scene.

The artist only need the hair in separated layers. Then, I flattened all geometry that was not hair.
The artist only need the hair in separated layers. Then, I flattened all geometry that was not hair.

Note that I renamed the layers to identify them better in Lightwave 3D Layout.


Now, the artist have to convert each hair layer to strands, to be recognized by the FiberFx system. This is easily done by selecting the hair layer and go into the Setup tab and clicking on the Strand Maker.


Converting to FiberFx strands.
Converting to FiberFx strands.

Here I have all hair converted to FiberFx strands and each strand layer was renamed for the scene organization sake.
Here I have all hair converted to FiberFx strands and each strand layer was renamed for the scene organization sake.

Then, we have the file ready to be loaded in Lightwave 3D Layout.


Layers and materials assignments all ready. Sweet...
Layers and materials assignments all ready. Sweet...

Inside Lightwave 3D Layout, it is time to prepare the scene for rendering. First, I have hidden all geometry that was need to be hidden. After that, it is time to activate the FiberFx plugin for each strand bundle. Of course, the artist can make any desired modifications using the FiberFx options.


Hiding some geometry from the render.
Hiding some geometry from the render.

Adjusting the FiberFx options.
Adjusting the FiberFx options.

I highly recommend to use the AFC Hair Shader. It is, by far, the fastest shader to render hair in Lightwave 3D. Below, I show you one of the shading networks that I created for the final render:


I also created custom buffers to allow me to do some post editing using DP Filter.
I also created custom buffers to allow me to do some post editing using DP Filter.

And here is the final render for this tutorial. The ability to export Blender's 3D new hair system is a great addition to Lightwave 3D artists to do hair grooming.


The final render done in Lightwave's 3D native renderer.
The final render done in Lightwave's 3D native renderer.

One last thing you should know:


Slick3d.art was selected as one of the Top 20 3D Art Blogs on the web by FeedSpot. It is a great victory to me. It is a huge effort in very hard times. Besides, Slick3d.art encompasses my love for design and writing that started in my teen years. I am very grateful for the recognition that was a total surprise. Click here to go to FeedSpot Top 20 list or click on the image down below.



And do not forget: Donation = Loving ❤

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