Working With the New Standard Hair Shader in Arnold 5

Look Dev and Lighting TD Arvid Schneider opens up Arnold 5 to have a look inside to its new Hair Shader, with his latest MtoA series.

…covering the attributes in the shader and show you how to create realistic looking human hair

With the latest release for Solid Angle’s Arnold, the hair shader is out, and the new standard hair shader is in. Gone is the older old way to render hair, replaced by a more modern standard Hair shader. Meant as a one-stop solution to everything that is hair and fur in Arnold, the new shader lets you create physically based realistic rendered hair, by setting just a few parameters.

It can do this largely because new shader is based on the d’Eon model for specular and Zinke model for calculating diffuse. The shaders accounts for not one, but two types of melanin, the pigment that gives skin, hair and our eyes, color. Having two attributes for melanin offers much more realistic tones from the hair renders.

The new standard Hair Shader supports unbiased, hair-to-hair multiple scattering through specialized sampling techniques. The new scattering routine is fast enough to be used in production without turning to tricks such as dual scattering, or other hacks.