Like Prim Shoes, Prim Hair is probably one of the most popular items that attach to your avatar. So I thought I might try my hand at making a set of prim hair and sharing my experience. This will be a multi-part tutorial. We will create a static prim hair in the first 2 parts, complete with hair texture. I will try to do more later with flexi and curls :)
Its one thing to create a hairstyle, and another to write a tutorial about creating a hairstyle. Unlike shoes, hairstyling is mostly an art. A lot of prim twisting and styling work goes into making a hairstyle look pretty. There are dozens of these artistic decisions involved in creating a complex set of hair (which is impractical to spell out in a step-by-step tutorial).
This tutorial is about creating a base set of prim hair that can be described in a step-by-step fashion. This is a base style for women's hair, but can be used for men with adjustments (it does have a Beatles look to it though :P).
Note that I am not in the business of making prim hair, so Im not an expert. The pros at Gurl6, Taunt, HCT, etc do this all day long and probably have their own secret techniques, scripts, and templates. What I can show you are the fundamentals of putting a set of prim hair together. The pros would start from a similar base and add/modify the base to create their wonderful hairstyles.
First, a quick overview. As you probably know by now, there are 2 ways to cover your AV's head in SL:
First is the SL Hair (Texture Hair, or "Grown" Hair). This is the hair you probably wore when you first came out of Orientation Island. Its the hair you can adjust using the Appearance... menu. You create hair textures for SL Hair much like you would do for a T-Shirt, but using a hair Texture Template. Then you upload the hair texture, and adjust the styling using the Appearance... menu.
Second is the Prim Hair. Prim Hair is just a linked set of prims attached to your Skull and gives the appearance of hair. Think of it as a wig in RL. If you rezzed a Box and attached it to your Skull, you have prim hair. Making a decent-looking set of prim hair is the goal of this tutorial.
There are 3 major components in a prim hair: the SL Hair Bald Base, the Hair Texture, and the Prim Hair.
The SL Hair Bald Base (which is created and modified in the "Appearance..." screen) makes your AV's head bald and prepares it for the Prim Hair.
The Hair Texture is a texture file that will be applied to the prims in the Prim Hair. There are some techniques involved in making a Hair Texture for SL. Unfortunately, since I only know Photoshop, I can only describe them for Photoshop. In case you dont have Photoshop, you can pick up the ready-to-use Prim Hair Texture for free from Sirena Hair.
The Prim Hair is a linked set of prims that looks like a wig. It could be a an updo, short, long, ponytail, or even specialty hair (for a mermaid, for instance :) ). The hair could be decorated with headbands, flowers, hat, or jewelry. You are only limited by your imagination and what you can do with prims.
You will need Photoshop to complete Part 1 of this tutorial. If you dont have Photoshop, you can pick up the Prim Hair Texture for free from Sirena Hair. The Prim Hair Texture contains a ready-to-use hair texture (so you wont need Photoshop). You can then skip Part 1 and proceed to Part 2.
You will need Ged Larsen's wonderful LoopRez Generator to complete Part 2 of the tutorial.
So lets start building the prim hair.
1. Creating the SL Hair Bald Base
We need to prepare your avatar's head to receive the prim hair. This is done via the Appearance... screen.
First, detach and take off any SL or prim hair you are wearing.
Click on the Inventory button at the bottom of your screen. Click on "Create" at the top of the Inventory window, select "New Body Parts >", and "New Hair. This creates a new SL Hair called "New Hair" in the Body Parts folder.
Right-click on "New Hair" and select Rename. Change the Name to "Bald Hair Base".
Right-click on "Bald Hair Base" and select Wear.
Right-click on yourself, and select "Appearance..." from the menu. Select the "Hair" tab. Then click on the Style button. Enter the following settings:
Hair Volume: 0
Click on the square above the word Texture. This will open up the "Pick: Texture" window. Click the Blank button, then click Select.
When you are all done, press the "Save All" button and the "Close" button.
2. Creating the Hair Texture (or, like, How do I become a blonde? :P)
Ever walk down the drug store isles and stared at the rows and rows of hair colors? Theres brown, dark brown, reddish brown, auburn, and Shimmery Seduction. And they all look the same! :P
Well, we are about to make a reddish brown Hair Texture. That means you get to play with hair colors and texture. Thats right, its your turn to create Shimmery Seduction! :P
You will need Photoshop to complete this step (unless you know how to do the equivalent steps in your graphics program). If you dont have Photoshop, you can skip this step by picking up the Prim Hair Texture for free from Sirena Hair, which has a ready-to-use Hair Texture.
I originally learned how to make Hair Textures from an excellent video at Taunt.com, by the owner of Taunt Hair! Ive adapted the technique here slightly, mainly due to personal preference. Remember, this is mainly an art, so feel free to play with the settings!
Start with a New document in Photoshop. Set it to 256 by 256 pixels. You actually dont want hair texture to be too high in resolution, because it will become a dizzying mass of lines on your head. 256 pixels is a good compromise.
We will use the darkest color in the texture as the base. So make it dark. For our tutorial, we are going to use a very dark red.
Click on the foreground color tile and enter these numbers into the Color Picker window:
Red = 50
Green = 0
Blue = 0
Select the Paint Bucket tool and click on the document to fill Layer 1 with the dark red.
Now, change your foreground color to bright yellow.
Red = 255
Green = 255
Blue = 0
Click on the Brush tool and select the soft 65 pixel brush (Hardness = 0).
Draw a yellow line across the top. The colors will be blended together, so the line doesnt have to be perfectly straight.
Now, change your foreground color to bright red.
Red = 255
Green = 0
Blue = 0
And draw a line across the bottom.
Select Filter from the top menu bar, Noise >, and the "Add Noise..." filter. Set the "Amount:" to 15%. Click the "Uniform" button next to Distribution. And make sure the checkbox next to Monochromatic is checked. (Again, you can adjust these settings based on personal preference; I prefer less dark streaks, so I prefer Uniform)
Select Filter from the top menu bar, Blur >, and the "Motion Blur..." filter. Set the "Angle:" to 90 degrees. Set the "Distance:" to 999 pixels.
And you have a reddish brown hair texture!
Next, we are going to add some highlights to this texture.
Add a new layer by clicking on the "Create a new layer" button at the bottom of the Layer Palette.
Select a pure white foreground color.
Make sure that Layer 2 is selected in the Layer Palette. Select the Brush tool. Draw 2 white lines across the document. The first one should be about 1/3 of the way from the top. The second one should be near the bottom.
In the Layer palette, change the Blend Mode from "Normal" to "Overlay". Change the Opacity to 75%.
That's it! Heres our Shimmery Seduction hair texture, complete with highlights (thats the shimmery part :P).
One last thing: Be sure you click on File, "Save for Web...", and save it as a ".jpg" file. Choose a name like "Tutorial Hair Texture". Then upload this file to Second Life, so we can apply it to the prim hair.
If you want to play with the colors, try different combinations of base colors and colored stripes. You can also use different colors for highlighting instead of white. For example, you can use pink as a highlight for platnium blonde hair.
We will be building the prim hair and fitting it in Part 2 of the tutorial. I will be posting Part 2 in a couple days. You dont want me to go too long without a change of clothes, do you? :P
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