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I am new to Blender, and I was wondering if anyone could give me advice or a general method on how to create a model of a single piece of hair. I am writing a report for school, and I need a graphic showing a microscopic view of a strand of hair, like this one:

enter image description here

For the graphic I will be adding spheres that represent air pollution particles and their relative sizes compared to the hair. I'm basically trying to recreate this:

enter image description here

I haven't really started making the model yet. I was trying to play around with a cylinder for the hair, but I'm not sure if I'm headed in the right direction. Any help is appreciated! Thank you! :)

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  • $\begingroup$ May I ask why you aren't using the images you provided above instead of making your own? $\endgroup$
    – christai
    Feb 25, 2017 at 2:10
  • $\begingroup$ Your question got me curious, so I gave it a shot. Here is a .blend of what I've made so far. It still needs to have the uniformity broken up a bit before it will look natural, but I think it stands as a good proof of concept. If I have time I will write an answer detailing the steps for creating this. For now I'm posting what I have because it may help you. $\endgroup$
    – Mentalist
    Feb 26, 2017 at 22:48

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I think you are on the right track.

I would use a cylinder for the hair strand itself (with loop cuts along the length so that it can be bent). You can create a tip by simply scaling down the loops towards the end of the strand.

Of course, a cylinder will be perfectly straight. You have a few options for giving the strand a curve. Personally, I would use the (curve modifier. I would warn that the curve modifier can be a little tricky if you are new to Blender (or I think so anyway), so check out Youtube for a good tutorial - this is quite good. The aim would be to give your cylinder a subtle kink so it looks like part of a strand of hair. For a simpler option, you might want to avoid the curve modifier, and simply drag the loops of the cylinder around to make it less uniform. It depends on the look you are going for.

Finally, you are probably best creating the cracks on the hair using a texture. There are many texture sites, so head over to something like Textures.com and find something that approximates the surface you see in your reference images. Searching "cracks" or similar will get some results.

To use the texture, you will first need to UV unwrap the mesh. See this Stack Exchange answer for an overview of the concept. UV unwrapping essentially tells Blender how to apply a 2D image to a 3D object.

Once you have UV unwrapped your mesh, you will need to create a material with your texture, and use it as a bump map (which is really a way of making a flat surface appear to the eye like it is raised and dipped).

As you will appreciate, I can't give you a fully detailed answer as this would basically amount to "how to use Blender", but I hope the above are enough to point you in the right direction for each of the steps.

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Generally you could do that with a simple Normal Map in your Material Nodes in Cycles or in Blender Render in your Texture Influence put a number like 0.1 in warp value. For that technique you will need a Height Texture of Hair. You could also try do make some Procedural Texture.

For your image I would actually use some Image Editing Software and not Blender because you don't need to recreate a hair in Blender you could just use the image you have shown to us. If you still want to use Blender for this you could add a Plane with the Image on it and put the Spheres in front. Also for the tinier particles you have to either dont render backfaces on the bigger one or use X-ray

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