Shader: Hair

Weighs like mobile

Hair shading has always been tricky business, especially on mobile devices. The upper limit of resources for hair can often be pushed as handheld hardware becomes more powerful.

Real-time hair shading in console games has progressed leaps and bounds over the past few years, and hair fidelity has further improved through varying forms of physics simulation. While real time hair simulation on mobile devices is not yet feasible, there are hair shading techniques that can transition from console to mobile.

Performance + Intuitive Authoring

Our team was challenged with replicating Thomas Jefferson through his presidential painting, and create an interactive experience on a mobile platform. This gave rise to the unique opportunity to explore real time hair shading that reflected an impressionist painting. I developed a hair shader that satisfied our visual goals while being optimized enough even for older mobile hardware.

The shader combines the speed of alpha-tested sorting, the softness from alpha-blended texturing, and outline feathering through vertex manipulation. The result is a shader that can transition between hair planes and the underlying geometry combined with the ease of authoring natural looking, alpha-blended hair strands in the texture.