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How I Shade Hair - A Pictorial

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the_soup
Retired Moderator
Level 68 : High Grandmaster Button Pusher
Hello everyone. After the release of my last skin, I got asked how I shaded the hair on that skin. I haven't really seen many hair shading tutorials, so I figured I should make one. I'll show you a simplified example of the hair on that skin with only 5 shades, while the original skin had 7 shades for the hair. In reality, you could do even more than that if you wanted.

Generally, each side of the head is made up of 3 different components, so I'll be showing you each three components and what they look like combined.

yAHhIEpng
The back of the head is shaded like this. To understand why I put the shading and highlights where I did, think of the actual shape of the skull. It's not strictly round--instead it bulges out in the back slightly above center. That's why the highlight is higher than center.

tkITYpng
The shading on the side of the head is pretty similar. Keep in mind that the 'front' of the head is where the arrow is pointing. I put the highlight slightly towards the front of the head. Also keep in mind that, like I said in the picture, the front first column of pixels is generally covered up by 3D hair put in the hat layer. When I put hair in the hat layer I like to have it wrap around the sides slightly--I feel this looks more natural than putting it only on the front.

XeGFVgOpng
The top of the head is probably the most complex part of the head to shade. The reason of this is because this is where the strands of hair from the sides meet, and this is where the part is. For skins with long hair, you should always include a part at the top of the head for realism. To get an idea why I shade my parts with one dark line and one light line, take a look at this lovely lady. Look at how the light creates a highlight on one side of her part while it leaves the other side in shadow. That's basically what I'm trying to replicate.

If this example seem too complex for you, try simplifying the colors a bit. Try only using one shade of highlighting as opposed to two, so the highlights are less complex to draw.

Before I finish this blog, I'd like to address some of the common problems I see when people shade hair:

-Many people shade hair vary lightly. While light shading might make sense for clothing (since clothing isn't shiny or reflective), hair looks better when it's shiny. Don't be afraid to make some bright highlights on your hair.

-Sometimes people will shade hair by only drawing stripes (or 'strands') and leave out any other shading. Remember, the head is rounded, so your shading should indicate that.

-Finally, most people don't hue shift their colors. I can't overstate how important hue shifting is! Out of everything, it's probably the simplest way to make your skins look eye-catching and professional. As an example, think of shiny dark brown hair. When the light hits it, it doesn't just look light taupey-brown, it shines a bright golden shade. Similarly, red hair will shine a coppery-orange shade and not just a pale red pink shade. For more information about hue shifting, check out my blog on the subject.

I hope this blog is helpful and informative. If you like it, please leave a diamond or comment! Thanks.
Tags:Shading, Hair, Girl, Skins, Skinning, Hue Shifting, Head, Long, Tutorial

Comments : 53

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  • Hellial
  • Level 27
  • Expert Pixel Painter
  • February 9, 2016, 12:05 pm
This helps so much ;o
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  • Melancholism
  • Level 35
  • Artisan Demolitionist
  • December 21, 2015, 12:19 pm
I LOVE THESE COLOURS <3
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I tried that shading on this skin, and it ended pretty cool! Thanks!
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  • pleaseno
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • October 24, 2015, 4:28 pm
Didn't help
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  • Joolia
  • Level 2
  • Apprentice Explorer
  • October 17, 2015, 10:44 am
thank you so so sooo much! this has helped me so well, once again.. thank you.. <3
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This helped A LOT! Thank you soooo very much for making this!!! ♥♥♥
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  • Aisz_Yisb
  • Level 1
  • New Explorer
  • May 22, 2015, 1:11 pm
Very helpful! Thanks! :)
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  • Reefripz
  • Level 9
  • Apprentice Fisherman
  • October 12, 2014, 11:59 pm
Thanks you realy helped me
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  • ThatEazyRider
  • Level 32
  • Artisan Creeper Hugger
  • May 17, 2014, 8:34 pm
awesome great idea XD!
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  • SparklePuff
  • Level 19
  • Journeyman Artist
  • January 22, 2014, 3:39 am
I dont get it LEL XD
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  • Angeli
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • July 30, 2013, 5:12 am
Hey,
Are we allowed to use the shading? C:
I'd be proud to ^-^
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  • Sarcasm_
  • Level 27
  • Expert Unicorn
  • July 8, 2013, 8:33 pm
What skin editor do you use
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  • Karma
  • Level 44
  • Master Necromancer
  • June 14, 2013, 2:56 am
Amazing tutorial! :D I used this tutorial + tried my own version of roobus's shading :3

Here's the link:
http://www.planetminecraft.com/skin/farmer-girl-new-shading/
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  • laxgoalie413
  • Level 3
  • Apprentice Architect
  • June 5, 2013, 3:37 pm
This tutorial is exactly what I've been looking for!
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  • jum
  • Level 1
  • New Network
  • June 2, 2013, 11:02 pm
100th diamond! ^w^
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  • RunningPiano
  • Level 21
  • Expert Pixel Painter
  • May 18, 2013, 4:51 pm
Thank you, very good tutorial :)
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  • Knifefreak333
  • Level 12
  • Journeyman Warrior
  • April 15, 2013, 5:48 pm
You just blew my mind
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  • Aranwen
  • Level 14
  • Journeyman Cowboy
  • March 16, 2013, 8:11 am
I don't think you've ever done a tutorial on this, but could you show how to combine two different hair colours (or more)? I'm not sure how to make a smooth transition between, say, pink and blue. It would probably look very unnatural (thought pink and blue hair is unnatural to start with e - e).
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  • the_soup
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 68
  • High Grandmaster Button Pusher
  • June 23, 2013, 12:30 pm
Sorry about my late reply, but I've never really done anything like that. What I'd probably would do would be to look at examples of other skins with two-colored hair and see if there were any techniques they used that I like. Probably, in that situation, I'd attempt to have a bit of purple in the middle where they met.
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  • FallingRain
  • Level 17
  • Journeyman Dragonborn
  • March 13, 2013, 4:21 pm
Sweet
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I created my own skin using this tutorial! Thanks :D
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  • milbelle1
  • Level 25
  • Expert Pony
  • March 9, 2013, 3:47 am
the_soup how do you shade the bang part (front part) of the head?
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  • Girouette
  • Level 18
  • Journeyman Button Pusher
  • March 8, 2013, 7:34 pm
le_soup -Fox- here found 2 pieces of stolen content, on this guys page.
http://www.planetminecraft.com/member/fallingoutatruck/
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  • iminer978
  • Level 35
  • Artisan Grump
  • March 7, 2013, 4:05 pm
Umm... I'm trying to think of a good pun to comment here.
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  • Purpaw
  • Level 37
  • Artisan Dragonborn
  • March 6, 2013, 9:53 am
Thank you :]
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Pretty cool!
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  • solemnote
  • Level 28
  • Expert Skinner
  • March 5, 2013, 10:19 pm
About time I found something like this -_-
Finally.
You're awesome :3
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this is kinda confusing, I dont understand? could u please dumb it down a bit?
sorry. It's a great blog ^.^ I just dont understand D=
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  • Phrozenbit
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • March 4, 2013, 11:38 pm
Helpful :) thanks. I'll keep this in mind for whenever I create a skin again.
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  • Fox
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 36
  • Artisan Ladybug
  • March 4, 2013, 9:42 pm
Eh. I think I'll just stick with my style, But thanks for the tips I guess..
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  • blinky36
  • Level 36
  • Artisan Pixel Painter
  • March 4, 2013, 5:26 pm
Thanks for the tips! I never thought of shading parts of my skins by "overlapping" in this technique. Nice to see some open mindsets :)
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  • LeSparkz
  • Level 1
  • New Miner
  • March 4, 2013, 4:53 pm
ermagerd awsum rainboo hare
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  • CatStack
  • Level 1
  • New Network
  • March 4, 2013, 1:36 pm
Colors Hurt Meh eyes Nice Tutorial!
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  • kvSketch
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 63
  • High Grandmaster Pixel Puncher
  • March 4, 2013, 12:43 pm
Very nice, you should make a tutorial on none-linear hair too, for a more advanced tutorial.
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  • Zeerawk
  • Level 1
  • New Network
  • March 4, 2013, 6:53 am
So ,I create a few layers,and combine them?
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  • the_soup
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 68
  • High Grandmaster Button Pusher
  • March 4, 2013, 9:31 am
Well, I don't do it with layers (obviously can't with MCSkin3D), I just keep those three things in mind when drawing the hair. Usually I start out by drawing the strands, then the darker bits along the edges, and finally I add the highlights.
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  • CuteMurphy
  • Level 53
  • Grandmaster Unicorn
  • March 4, 2013, 10:16 am
I did it with layers and it actually turned out quite like yours
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  • LightTwig
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 56
  • Grandmaster Scapegoat
  • March 4, 2013, 6:24 am
I hate hair.
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Ok, Francis.
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  • Giggimish
  • Level 1
  • New Lad
  • March 4, 2013, 4:05 am
how to draw llama? kntxbai
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  • +Sheena+
  • Level 35
  • Artisan Vampire
  • March 4, 2013, 3:25 am
its loveleh
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  • King Veezie
  • Level 48
  • Master Lad
  • March 4, 2013, 1:53 am
thanks i have trouble for the head top and back :)
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  • Happs
  • Level 43
  • Master Blockhead
  • March 4, 2013, 1:37 am
thx this will really help in my upcoming skins( i will credit you )
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  • Dollars
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 62
  • High Grandmaster Skinner
  • March 4, 2013, 12:46 am
i like
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  • Ludicrous
  • Site Moderator
  • Level 61
  • High Grandmaster Senpai
  • March 4, 2013, 12:24 am
nice tutorial, made things easier! :3
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  • Ragnur Le Barbare
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 61
  • High Grandmaster Caveman
  • March 3, 2013, 11:50 pm
How2shade body hair pls?
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  • Teddy
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 66
  • High Grandmaster Skinner
  • March 4, 2013, 3:31 am
make frizzy not striped ok
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  • Ragnur Le Barbare
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 61
  • High Grandmaster Caveman
  • March 4, 2013, 3:34 am
STRIPES???!?!!?!!!?
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  • Teddy
  • Retired Moderator
  • Level 66
  • High Grandmaster Skinner
  • March 4, 2013, 3:34 am
GREEBLES!?!?!1!?!?!!?!?1
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  • CuteMurphy
  • Level 53
  • Grandmaster Unicorn
  • March 4, 2013, 10:17 am
SCRIBBLES?!?!?!?!??!?!?!?!
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  • Dralyona
  • Level 47
  • Master Dragon
  • March 4, 2013, 1:14 am
That was almost homicide. I could have died from laughing so hard.
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  • shinysword
  • Level 26
  • Expert Spider Rider
  • March 3, 2013, 11:46 pm
Yes, how to shade the top of the head!
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  • CuteMurphy
  • Level 53
  • Grandmaster Unicorn
  • March 4, 2013, 10:16 am
:D
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