This Is Why Game Character Lara Croft Has Better Hair Than We Do

We know that 3D technology has come a long way since the days of N64. Eyes blink, lips shape words, and facial emotions are rendered freakishly real, but hair has always remained boxy and stiff (something we all have experienced on occasion). However, this revamped Lara Croft for the newest Tomb Raider game has the most realistic 'do we've ever seen on a playable, interactive character. It moves with the wind, strands fall when Croft lowers her head, and light bounces off — just like real hair. We can't believe we're asking this, but Lara, what's your secret?
Turns out the folks behind Tomb Raider teamed up with a group of software developers at AMD to create a digital hair treatment, appropriately titled TressFX Hair. The challenge of "drawing tens of thousands of tiny and individual semi-transparent strands" and updating them "dozens of times per second to synchronize with the motion of a character," as described by the makers of TressFX has finally been tackled. The new Tomb Raider features the first real-time hair rendering software that raises video games' capability of virtual realism to a whole new level.
With digital characters slowly coming to resemble real human beings who react and experience a virtual environment like we do, the line between what's real and what's a game gets fuzzy and a bit like a Cronenberg movie. The weird Cronenberg movies, that is. (AMD)
Photo/Video: Courtesy of Tomb Raider/Square Enix

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