Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair

Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
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As a rule, Final Fantasy games have amazing hair. But the 'dos in Final Fantasy XV look especially good. Thank fancy tech, professional hair stylists, and wigs for that.

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During the last console generation, a glut of characters had buzz cuts or sported coifs that looked like they were drenched in hairspray. Those bad hair days are hopefully numbered.

Square Enix is using its new Luminous Studio engine, which as Kotaku previously checked out and which looks truly impressive, to create Final Fantasy XV.

As Square Enix's Akira Iwata explains in a recent Famitsu interview,the Tokyo-based game company worked with a professional hair designer for its Luminous tech demo do the hairstyles in real life using mannequins.

The developers studied how the hairstyles looked and moved, and then brought them to life in video game form. The same process, which yielded realistic results, is being repeated on Final Fantasy XV.

Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair

Above, you can see the mannequin contrasted with the in-game model. Clever software then bridges the gap between the two. Here, you can see slides from 2012 via 4Gamer, briefly explaining the tech that goes into reproducing realistic hair.

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Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
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Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
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Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
Illustration for article titled Why Final Fantasy XV Has Fantastic Hair
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The result is realistic strands of hair that have volume and move naturally, instead of the unnaturally clumpy locks we've seen in past.

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Square Enix: serious about good hair.

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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Kotaku East is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

DISCUSSION

Hair is easily the most difficult thing to rig and animate correctly. More than shoulders, more than cloth. That's why most people give up on it since the standards we have set for us have been very low compared to what we CAN do.

Even still, the biggest issue I face in my work is how to handle alphas. Luckily, with the advent of this newer hardware, alpha sorting doesn't feel as expensive as it once did, and order-independent transparency is becoming a viable option. Even still, if you want to eek out more performance, you still have the classical issues of choosing between alpha-tested hair, alpha-to-coverage, stochastic transparency, and alpha sorting.

It really is a pain- that's why techniques like TressFX work so well, since there's little need to use alphas at all with that much geometry. I wouldn't be surprised if we keep using alpha-tested hair, just with a lot more geometry (Assassin's Creed: Unity, anyone?). I'm honestly a bit more interested in the rendering pipeline for transparency in this game, since the shadowing from the vegetation and hair looks awesome so far.