Hair Creation for Games
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Registration Starts On
July 31, 2017
Class Begins On
Week of October 13, 2017
Johan Lithvall
Johan Lithvall is a character artist who specializes in real time rendered hair. Early in his career, after finishing production for Killzone Shadow Fall, he was given the opportunity to specialize in hair for Horizon Zero Dawn. His work has been featured on Kotaku, ArtStation Magazine and numerous other publications. He currently works at Starbreeze Studios on The Walking Dead.

Course Description

This class will teach you how to create AAA quality hair for games. Using techniques developed during the production of Horizon Zero Dawn, you will be taken through the full process of planning your work, creating hairs in xgen, baking the hairs into textures, creating a hair asset and finally putting it into Unreal Engine. The class will contain both practical workflows and theoretical mindsets to help you further hone your hair creation skills for games.

Standard Format:
Length: 6 Weeks.
Lectures: Pre-Recorded each week
Assignment: Deadlines each week.
Feedback: Individual recorded.
QandA: Once a week
*For classes with fewer than 6 students feedback may be provided during the live QandA session.

Course Outline



  • Gathering reference
  • Hair theory
  • Xgen
  • Xpressions


Card theory/card creation

  • Create splines for hair cards
  • Bake maps needed for Unreal Engine
  • Create chunks for different purposes/layers


Make the asset, part 1

  • Go through the different layers of the hair
  • Placing the chunks of hair
  • Start and finish with base layer of the hair


Make the asset, part 2

  • Root positions and angles, negative space and clumping
  • Complementing flow and breaking flow
  • Creating volume
  • Start and finish 2nd layer of hair


Make the asset, part 3

  • Flyaway hairs
  • Where and why flyaway hairs should be seen
  • Viewing angles
  • Start and finish flyaway hairs


Finalize asset and put in Unreal

  • Combine model to organize vertex IDs
  • Bake vertex AO
  • Import asset into Unreal and set up hair benchmark shader
  • Presentation and final words


  • Game Character Artist
  • Texture Artist
  • Prop Artist
  • Concept Artist
  • Visual Effects Artist