If we are watching a live action film with actors, it’s very rare that one of the main character features we concentrate on is the hair. Occasionally a judgemental comment of whether it looks good or not is thrown out there but that’s the extent of it. The average viewer will fail to notice if the colour looks wrong in one of the scenes or that it doesn’t look realistic enough.
Well, it’s a whole different spectrum when watching animation because every last detail counts; from the fingernails right down to the individual hairs on a character’s head. And there's one film that features characters with A LOT of hair... enter, Brave.
Brave was released theatrically very recently (beginning of June in the USA), but it's important to note that it's been in production for the past three and a half years. And from what I've read, it was not an easy journey. Pixar faced some difficult challenges during the making of this film, in particular with the flamboyant wild hair of the main character, Merida. Hair on animated characters always present a variety of problems as it is one of the overlooked features that, if incorrect, has the potential to detract from an otherwise great film.
FXguide has released an online feature explaining the processes the Pixar team went through in order to create Merida's hair, along with other characters and some of the clothing. The feature covers issues, software, render processes and also the use of live action simulation to create the desired final looks that everyone wanted to see. It also includes videos for you to see the transition from the beginning of the different processes, right through to the end. Go forth, and learn!