AMD’s TressFX Hair tech unveiled: Tomb Raider used as demo

Tuesday, 26th February 2013 11:33 GMT By Dave Cook

AMD has unveiled its TressFX hair rendering technology by sing Lara Croft’s filthy mane in Tomb Raider as an example of how it works.

The tech was revealed over on the AMD blog, and stated the need for better hair tech, “Realistic hair is one of the most complex and challenging materials to accurately reproduce in real-time.

“Convincingly recreating a head of lively hair involves drawing tens of thousands of tiny and individual semi-transparent strands, each of which casts complex shadows and requires anti-aliasing. Even more challengingly, these calculations must be updated dozens of times per second to synchronize with the motion of a character.”

The blog showed a few comparisons between standard Tomb Raider gameplay and TressFX-enhanced play. Here’s one for starters:

The post continued, “TressFX Hair revolutionizes Lara Croft’s locks by using the DirectCompute programming language to unlock the massively-parallel processing capabilities of the Graphics Core Next architecture, enabling image quality previously restricted to pre-rendered images.

“Building on AMD’s previous work on Order Independent Transparency (OIT), this method makes use of Per-Pixel Linked-List (PPLL) data structures to manage rendering complexity and memory usage.”

It’s seriously all Greek to me, but it looks rather brilliant. The hair also responds to gravity, wind and other environmental facets convincingly and should go a long way in creating more believable avatars moving forward. Check out the full post for a full run-down of the science behind TressFX.

Thanks AGB.



  1. Erthazus

    Yeah, hair on consoles is so freakin’ outdated that you need already a forced API for the decent hair and other effects like physX.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. CyberMarco

    IIRC this kind of animation was introduced by Nvidia back in 2007(?). Still there aren’t many games that use this technology…

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Malmer

    No video?!

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Samoan Spider

    @2 I think they showed it off as a tech demo but not till later on and I think it was 2010 when Nvidia released the demo for people to try. However, this wasn’t a tech plug in, it was just a tech demo. Proof of concept if you will. This looks like a fully working implementation. Be interesting to see what comes of it. And it undoubtedly will work on Nvidia products, just as the Nvidia tech demo worked on ATI hardware, as does Physx in s/w mode.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. YoungZer0

    The standard hair is so damn bad. Why didn’t they bother to add a few highlights here and there, to make it more natural? Instead we have one huge pile of hair as a ponytail.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. manamana

    Good, I’m tired of all those bald Space-Marines and such …

    #6 2 years ago
  7. xxJPRACERxx

    I wonder how bad is the hit on fps.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. sh4dow

    Looks great but… filthy? No. It’s shiny like hair out of a movie where they didn’t care for realism.
    Plus, I would also be interested in the frame rate hit.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ali

    Far Cry 3 on my PS3 had the hair done fine.

    Kathryn from Singularity had a decent hair especially considering the fact that it is an Unreal Engine game.

    This tech is awesome though.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Red Demon

    Quick question guys, is this technology going to be on the PC only and not on the PS3? Just had to ask. I like the PS3 more than the PC. Don’t get me wrong the PC is a powerful machine.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Samoan Spider

    @10 If I had to take a punt I’d say primarily PC but PS4/720 might see this tech if the API gets ported to whatever underpins the operating system and also doesn’t eat the rest of the systems horsepower/memory. In theory though this is an engine plug in so its up to the devs.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Red Demon

    Thanks, I just hope it goes on the PS4, because I’ll be getting it. Hopefully it will be ported to the PS4, this technology looks badass, because it looks like cgi hair style.

    #12 2 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.