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NEW HAIR SHADER! - Blender 2.8


Woah look at that! The first GSoC project just landed :)

This shader is an implementation of the paper by Chiang et al., which was used in the Disney film, “Zootopia”®. Documentation is available here.

Landed in both master and Blender 2.8. Will it come to EEVEE? Eventually parts of it can be made compatible but it won't look the same as this is quite raytracing heavy.

Artwork by Chris Chuipka, thanks!

About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  1. This looks very good but won't Blender be accused of intellectual property theft/plagiarism or the like if we reproduce the same things as large studios use just recently? If Blender is free but has the same 'knock off content' as industry leaders who invest $$$ wouldn't they get upset with that? I know Blender is always on the look out for new methods/technology but Is it ok to reverse engineer papers or do you need the authors permissions? Is it in any way implied they have ownership of these published ideas even though it is not stated as being say copyrighted? Just wondering....hate for Blender to land in hot water in the enthusiasm to get ahead and be as good as the big names.

    • @BIG_FAN:

      There isn't IP theft happening regarding the hair BSDF; nor are they reverse-engineering anything.

      The research papers are freely available to read and implement.

      • I hope you are right because it will only take one law suit to bury Blender. Even just defending a case would do it regardless of the veracity of it. The more successful Blender becomes for free in offering what the big companies have really big money invested in the more likely they are going to be looking for 'violations'. Personally I would be avoiding using the same papers as the basis for new features for fear of accusations of cloning etc.
        even though the code in each is different and so forth. Disney didn't like us referring to Blender as having Disney type shaders and I am pretty certain they won't be happy us citing our shaders as being the same as those used in one of their films. In my opinion we ought to stop referring to Disney even obliquely as tempting as it is when being proud of Blender's capability.
        It would be bad form to advertise a Chinese car as having the same seats as a BMW regardless of the source of information... Just saying...

        • Your FUD is unfounded and lacks the facts to back it up. The "Disney" Shader or otherwise known as Principled BSDF is implemented across all the render engines.

          None of them require a license or Disney's blessing to implement.

          • No, I am being pragmatic and realistic. The world is often not a fair place. If say Autodesk decided its toes were being trodden on and therefore wanted to make life very difficult for Blender it could do that. The US economy is in pretty deep sh*t ATM and could easily go down in a bad way. You shouldn't think the relative ambivalence or even generosity toward open source will always be there especially if corporations suddenly find themselves severely stressed. There is no golden halo around Blender's arse. IMO it would be better not to stray into an 'occupied zone' that might lead to reprisal. Blender can go its own way and be successful without saying to the world 'hey look we included the latest 'Disney' or 'Pixar' shaders so you can make your movies the same as 'XYZ' blockbusters. That is just begging for trouble IMO. I bet Pixar would defend itself against any other studio that was turning out work of the same style as theirs. They would be claiming ownership of a certain look and feel as being recognisably Pixar. This is what I am alluding to - its not just a matter of incorporating things that are out there to be used but also of maintaining an independence/uniqueness. Imitation might be thought of as flattery but it could also be seen as invasive or threatening.

    • Astro1derboy on

      There is no legal penalty for using the same freely-published source papers. Anyone has access to use, or not, the information (or even parts of it) and apply the knowledge however they wish in whatever manner they wish. I'm grateful we have an intellectually-capable team that can decipher and use this-type info for integration into Blender. I wouldn't lose a second of sleep over this. There has been no illegality here. If the 'big boy' companies want to be offended, that's their choice. Someone, somewhere will always be offended at something. No way around it. Can't please everyone. And if the 'big boy' companies want to whine and cry about the playing-field that Blender has leveled then it's way more a reflection on them and not Blender. I can understand your not wanting to see Blender get dragged down but hopefully your concerns can be alleviated a bit. The Blender Developers are calculated and know what they're doing. I also believe that if any of the 'big boys' tried to do anything unfounded that the Blender community would rise up and defend as humanly possible. It would probably surprise us all to know just how many Blender users/fringe-users have deep legal knowledge and resources. I believe we will be okay. Be encouraged. We'll all hang together. :)

    • Exactly. The name should give the uninitiated user some clue. Like Maya, Houdini, Modo, Zbrush, Sketchup, Cinema4d do ;)

      • How do the names maya, houdini, modo, or sketchup imply 3D? Closest will be "Auto"cad and 3Dsmax. Best to say Blender 3D to newcomers until they fall in love and call out Blender like it's water.

        • Hi Sheldon Cooper ! @HEINI was sarcastic, of course none of Maya, Houdini & co have a name that represents 3D application. As a clue to sarcasm he added a smiley at the end ;)

    • Astro1derboy on

      I don't know this for certain but I believe the idea was that this set of digital creation tools are 'blended' together into one fantastic application . . . hence the name 'Blender 3D'. This is strictly my interpretation. Hope this helps.

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