Cloth and Hair Artist

Make the hair and clothes of animated characters move as if they're real.
picture of Cloth and Hair Artist

Quick Stats

Salary Range
$34,000 – $100,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Cloth and Hair Artists do?

A plastic top hat is easy to create using computer graphics programs. After all, it’s a uniform color, it’s made of one solid piece, and it doesn’t move unless it’s hit or picked up.

A head full of hair is much more difficult. Each hair is a slightly different color, and as frizzy-headed girls know, the strands may move independently of one another. Cloth is much the same, and it might buckle and bend when it’s moved. Cloth and Hair Artists specialize in rendering these materials in a realistic manner for 3D animation projects.

As a Cloth and Hair Artist, you begin your work when the project is well underway. Writers have crafted a story, Character Designers have created the look and feel of each player, and the Lead Animator has created a rough draft of each scene. You’re given a specific set of instructions from your Effects Supervisor, and you know exactly what scenes you’ll target for intense work.

Cloth and Hair Artists use a wide variety of computer programs, so you have a fast tool at your disposal. At the start of your work, you craft models of how the hair should move and how the cloth should bend and fragment. In some scenes, when the character is close to the screen, a significant amount of detail is needed, and you might tweak your programs for those intense shots. If the player is just running or standing in the background, you might scale the programs back so detail isn’t wasted.

When your work is done, you show it to your Effects Supervisor. Often, you adjust your work after these meetings, revising and revising until everything looks perfect.

Should I be a Cloth and Hair Artist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.
  • Reliable: You can always be counted on to do a good job.
  • Team Player: You're able to listen, communicate, and work with tons of different people.

  • Also known as: Cloth and Hair Simulation Artist

    How to become a Cloth and Hair Artist

    Most Cloth and Hair Artists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aut9aa&chl=|certificate+%2820%25%29|associate%27s+%2819%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2862%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,62
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