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I was thinking about making a hairball character. The character is simply a sphere with a hair particle system. In addition to it's base hair, it'd have a couple longer tighter hairs to act as arms.

I'd want the "arms" to act as regular hair (i.e. hair dynamics) but have the ability to be posed when it's time to reach out and grab something in its environment.

Does Blender have the tools needed for such an organic rig?

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You can use curves as hair guides. Set their maximum influence to create a small "sphere" around their base which influences the hair system, which will allow short hairs, and under the curve's influence only, long hairs.

Than you can use shape keys to animate the curve. I'm not sure if you can use an armature but that may also be an option through some other round about method.

Here is a step by step, sorry there is no screen shots.

  1. select an object and create a particle system. Select "Hair" as the type. You will see some strands.

  2. create a bezier curve (shift+a -> curve -> bezier curve)

  3. this is the step that may have been unclear sorry. Select the curve, and go to the Physics tab, and click "Force Field". In the properties below, under "Type" change from "Force" to "Curve Guide". There will be 2 circles, a dotted and solid at each point. The solid sphere is the root of the guide.

  4. Check the "Use Max" checkbox. This will change the root to a dashed sphere. Set the maximum distance as desired. It will change the size of that sphere, and any hairs inside of it, will be influenced by the hair guide.

Now changing the hair system in particle settings will affect the normal parts, and the hair guide fill affect some specific parts.

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  • $\begingroup$ I think this should be able to do the trick. Thanks! $\endgroup$ – ajwood Mar 16 '15 at 20:47
  • $\begingroup$ Pretty sure a hack to get bones working is to copy/convert the curve to a mesh, and make the mesh vertices parents to the edge handles. Then bones move mesh, which move the curve, which move the hair, which pleases me greatly. $\endgroup$ – ajwood Mar 17 '15 at 14:11
  • $\begingroup$ There is another solution. You can use the "hook" modifier to hook the curve control point to a bone, or any object. But your solution does sound interesting! $\endgroup$ – beiller Mar 17 '15 at 15:00
  • $\begingroup$ Your answer was good in theory, but now that I'm trying it, I'm having trouble figuring out how to make a "hair guide." Could you please add that to your answer? $\endgroup$ – ajwood Mar 20 '15 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ Sure no problem. Answer updated. :) $\endgroup$ – beiller Mar 20 '15 at 16:31

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