Hair and fur
Hair was a huge learning curve, testing several methods and finding a solution which ultimately wouldn’t crash at the university! XGen was good, but out of the question for this reason.
I finally used a method that allowed me to groom the curves in XGen, export them and then I could apply maya’s nHair system and use paint effects with a vray shader. This made it very fast to simulate, render and wasn’t prone to crashing easily.
To save time, only the whiskers and tail are dynamic, but vray fur was used for the torso. It’s modified by using paint maps, such as density, length, gravity, bend and direction.
Below is an animation render test of the cat (sadly no eyes)!
The hair below was made using maya’s nHair. I made a script to more easily modify the curves, so I could select a clump of hair and change the length.
Additionally, here is a hair test which using nHair to drive geometry.