NVIDIA tries creating real hair

Ten years ago, Final Fantasy VII upped the ante on realistic portrayals of their human characters in their cinematics. It’s a good thing, too –those cinematics became a terrific reward for the hours spent acquiring EXP and levelling up to make one’s characters fortuitous enough to withstand the battles they laid in wait behind.

It wasn’t long before the other companies started to ‘level up’ their own cinematics, and less time still before gamers started to crave that sense of realism in the actual gameplay. To that end, NVIDIA (video above) has been working on real-time rendering — literally down to the last hair they can manage.

According to their demo at the GDC, they are now capable of, in-game, rendering up to 18,000 individual strands of hair at a time, completely interactive with light, wind, and, apparently, conditioning — just look at that bounce and shine!

Given that the average human head of hair has 100,000 strands, NVIDIA hasn’t hit Caprica levels of in-game realism yet — but for today’s technology, we figure we can settle for this remarkable leap forward.