Saturday, May 21, 2011

Long Hair in 3D Art

 3D Art

Computer artist Danae Kotsi contacted LHL looking for long-haired models to be featured in 3D computer art. Danae is a top artist with who actually specializes in creating realistic looking long hair for computer models. We asked Danae a few questions about this interesting medium.

DK: I live in Athens, Greece and I now work full time in 3D. I started out working in television and later on as an interior designer, but 3D art has totally won me over.

LHL: How did you become interested in 3D art?

DK: I started using computers in college and discovered I got hooked on using all the different painting applications like Photoshop.

I could spend hours, even days in front of the PC. When doing interior design I needed some 3D applications to display to clients my ideas. Later on I discovered Poser, a 3D program that uses digital human models. You can move and animate them and even dress them up like virtual Barbie dolls. It became a hobby for me as I discovered that thousands of people were sharing knowledge and 3D accessories like clothes, hair, poses and anything you could imagine through the Internet. I then got into making skin and characters for these models and slowly started to sell them through the net. Their skin is made through a technique based on assembling digital photographs of real people and wrapping it around the models so it can get as photorealistic as possible.

I discovered that the models, like real humans, were in a huge need for some decent hair. I know I hate it when I'm having a bad hair day so why should these models be any less?
I set out in making long hair because I love long, healthy looking hair in real life. I always wanted to grow mine as long as possible but then there always comes a hairdresser that snips your locks 5 inches more than you have agreed.

In big Hollywood studios they can make great looking 3D hair but then again, they have hundreds of computers lined up as they require so much space and memory. The usual home-based Poser user doesn't have this possibility. So I needed to come up with long hair that looked as nice as possible without being hard on the normal PC.
Making characters and hair has now become my full time job since I have become a merchant for a site called Renderosity.

LHL: What exactly is Renderosity?

DK: Renderosity is the biggest online 3D community that currently has more than 200,000 members. It includes forums, galleries and stores from which over 1000 merchants sell add-ons mainly for Poser. It's a fun place to be and it's a true, live community with something always going on!

You can find it at

LHL: Do you have any special training?

DK: I have a university degree in Media Arts but I'm totally self-taught in the 2D and 3D applications I'm using.

LHL: How did you develop your technique for creating 3D images of long hair?

DK: Places like Renderosity and PoserPros (another great online community) always offer knowledge and support through their forums and their members. I learned from other peoples' work since there are so many great artists there. It took hundreds and hundreds of hours of experimenting till I could do what I wanted with hair. Every time I start a new project or product I have to do a different technique and it takes a lot of trial and error to get to the aesthetic and functional results I want. In the end it all is very rewarding and worth every minute of it.

LHL: What are the images used for?

DK: Images rendered in Poser are used for all sorts of things. People express themselves by making images for their own pleasure or for the galleries. They can also be used for book covers, animations and all kinds of illustrations.

LHL: What kind of images would you like our visitors to send you?

DK: The 3D hair models in part require the use of digital photographs of hair mixed with painting techniques in order to achieve a texture that resembles hair as realistic as possible. Obtaining digital photographs like that has always been difficult and I'm afraid I've used up most of my friends as models already! If you have a good digital camera and like to see your hair or even skin as a part of a virtual model you can contact me for the details and you may become a part of this fun process!

The images I usually require should be as high resolution as possible. Usually the back of the head, side and crown is what I'm looking for. They can be general and a few close up shots. It's best if you can have your hair down in the photos.

If you'd like to have your hair immortalized in 3D computer art, please contact Danae at and my store at

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