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AMD shows off new hair processing technique

Since we all saw Final Fantasy: Spirits Within and were treated to the flowing individual strands of hair found on the protagonist, it’s been a long wait for the same thing in our video games (no? Just me?). Now though, AMD has helped us reach this pinnacle of follicle immersion. With the introduction of its new TressFX Hair tech, there will now be individual strands, unique physics properties and collision detection.

All this might seem a bit trivial, but in a gaming world of ever advancing aesthetics, these tweaks can make all the difference. No longer will we have to watch our main character run around, pony tale bobbing up and down in a distinct block and occasionally dipping into their upper back during a frenetic fight scene.

TressFX – with its catchy, Render. Rinse. Repeat. slogan – was announced on the AMD blog, with screens from the new Tomb Raider game that showcase the new tech.


“Since the dawn of the 3D era, characters in your favorite games have largely featured totally unrealistic hair: blocky and jagged, often without animation that matches your character’s movements. Many games have attempted to disguise the problem with short haircuts, updos, or even unremovable helmets. But why?” Reads the introduction.

“Simply: realistic hair is one of the most complex and challenging materials to accurately reproduce in real-time.”

Explaining how to deal with this problem however,takes a bit more text: “DirectCompute is additionally utilized to perform the real-time physics simulations for TressFX Hair. This physics system treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links, permitting for forces like gravity, wind and movement of the head to move and curl Lara’s hair in a realistic fashion. Further, collision detection is performed to ensure that strands do not pass through one another, or other solid surfaces such as Lara’s head, clothing and body. Finally, hair styles are simulated by gradually pulling the strands back towards their original shape after they have moved in response to an external force.”

KitGuru Says: So now we can look forward to good looking hair in upcoming games – though perhaps not those that feature the “Way It’s Meant to be Played,” Nvidia logo. What’s the bet that the next Mass Effect game has a certain other type of body hair perfectly rendered?

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