SIGGRAPH 2010 Course Notes
Advanced Techniques in Real-time Hair Rendering and Simulation

Course Description

Hair rendering and simulation have always been challenging, especially in real time. Due to their high computational demands, they have been largely omitted in real-time applications and studied by only a small group of graphics researchers and programmers. Recent advancements in graphics hardware and software have made real-time hair rendering and simulation possible, but achieving acceptable levels of performance and quality requires specific expertise and experience.

This course reviews accumulated knowledge in real-time hair rendering and simulation, and shows how it can be applied in video games and other real-time applications. It begins with the fundamental techniques for real-time hair rendering and then presents alternative approaches, tips and tricks to achieve better performance and/or quality, an overview of various hair-simulation techniques, and implementation details of the most efficient techniques for real-time applications. The Course Notes include example source code.


Cem Yuksel is the founder of Cyber Radiance LLC and is receiving his Ph.D. from Texas A&M University in 2010. He designed and programmed Hair Farm, a leading hair software plugin for 3ds Max, used by various production studios and individual artists. His published research work on hair includes hair modeling with hair meshes, curve formulations, real-time hair shadows, real-time computation of multiple scattering in hair, and efficient global illumination techniques for hair. His other published graphics research includes methods like mesh colors for efficiently storing color data on arbitrary meshes and wave particles for real-time water simulation.

Sarah Tariq is a software engineer on NVIDIA's Developer Technology team, where she works primarily on implementing new rendering and simulation techniques that exploit the latest graphics hardware, and helping game developers to incorporate these techniques. During her time at NVIDIA she has been involved in the development of several game titles for the PC, including Hellgate: London, Supreme Commander and Dark Void, and has helped optimize several other titles. She has presented talks at various conferences, including SIGGRAPH and GDC. Before joining NVIDIA, Sarah pursued graduate studies at Georgia Tech, where she worked on research projects including subsurface reflectance capture of skin.

Course Notes

Complete Course Notes [PDF] - 56.8MB

  • Chapter 1 [PDF] - 0.6MB
    Introduction and Fundamentals of CG Hair
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel
  • Chapter 2 [PDF] - 15.1MB
    Data Management and Rendering Pipeline
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel and Sarah Tariq
    • Overview
    • Rendering Hair
    • Efficiently Sending Data to GPU
    • Generating Hair on the GPU
    • Final Details
    • Hair Meshes
  • Chapter 3 [PDF] - 7.2MB
    Transparency and Antialiasing
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel and Sarah Tariq
    • Overview
    • Antialiasing
    • Transparency and Depth Sorting
    • Avoiding Sorting for Transparency
  • Chapter 4 [PDF] - 10.2MB
    Hair Shading
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel
    • Simple Hair Shading
    • Physically-based Hair Shading
    • Improving Shading Performance on the GPU
  • Chapter 5 [PDF] - 11.0MB
    Hair Shadows
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel and Sarah Tariq
    • Shadow Maps
    • Transparent Shadow Mapping for Hair
    • Shadow Filtering
    • Simplified Shadow Maps for High Performance
  • Chapter 6 [PDF] - 7.0MB
    Multiple Scattering in Hair
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel
    • Introduction to Multiple Scattering
    • Dual Scattering Approximation
    • Implementation Notes
  • Chapter 7 [PDF] - 8.0MB
    Hair Dynamics for Real-time Applications
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel and Sarah Tariq
    • Overview of Hair Simulation Techniques
    • Fast Simulation of Hair on the GPU
    • Handling Inter Hair Collisions
  • Chapter 8 [PDF] - 1.1MB
    Presenter: Cem Yuksel and Sarah Tariq
Cem Yuksel, Scott Schaefer, John KeyserHair MeshesACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH Asia 2009), 28, 5, 2009
Arno Zinke, Cem Yuksel, Andreas Weber, John KeyserDual Scattering Approximation for Fast Multiple Scattering in HairACM Transactions on Graphics (Proceedings of SIGGRAPH 2008), 27, 3, 2008
Cem Yuksel, John KeyserDeep Opacity MapsComputer Graphics Forum (Proceedings of EUROGRAPHICS 2008), 27, 2, 2008