I finished modeling the mouse - at last! Even before I had a final mouse model, I was playing around with fur settings. Lightwave's FiberFX (fur) is not friendly. It's very quirky and buggy! I tried so many tests - sometimes it sort of worked and sometimes not. A funny thing happened to one test. I modeled the mouse out of scale without realizing it - I usually model to scale. So when I shrunk my mouse down to the right size - about 6 inches - I didn't adjust the fur settings - Hah!
After more attempts, I gave up on it. I'm not even going to show these tests! In the end, I was going to settle for a velvet type fur effect. It works. Its basic and stylized, and sometimes less is more. I really wanted some more depth to it, so I began searching the internet for a velvet shader. I only found one basic one for the Mac version of Lightwave, and one excellent one for the PC. It was an older shader. The mac version was for a PowerPC mac because it did not work in OS X ! It was updated in 2007. Bummer. Since I did not have Windows on my mac yet, I was going to settle for the basic shader.
I found new hope the last couple days. I was watching the new DVD release, "Despicable Me" this weekend with my family. Cute movie. Loved it! There was this nasty little dog in it that was a great little design. I liked the way his fur was fuzzy and long and splotchy in some areas. I realized I could do something similar for my mouse.
I thought I could make better alpha masks than my first attempts - using alpha masks to control the amount/length/etc. of the hair. I made these in photoshop from a basic side view. Also, I wanted to use ZBrush to paint the skin of my mouse. This was more of an effort, but after some trials, I think I have enough to get by. This render is just an early test. The model in the render is a day old - I have detailed the feet and hands and started the new improved versions of the skin texture and alphas for the hair.