AMD's TressFX ruffles Lara Croft's barnet

AMD has finally sorted out the problems of rendering realistic hair which has made graphics look like rubbish for years.

TressFX Hair, which will first see the light of day in the latest edition of Tomb Raider, will mean that game developers can actually come up with realistic skin, hair, and facial animation.

Nvidia has also had a crack at it and the PhysX engine will probably have a hair component under the bonnet. AMD, however, has not only beaten the Green Goblin to the punch, but got a decent partner to promote the tech too.

TressFX not only works in a playable game, it will also work on any DirectX 11 card.

According to a statement, the DirectX 11 treats each strand of hair as a chain with dozens of links. This allows forces like gravity, wind and movement of the head to move and curl Lara Croft’s hair in a realistic fashion.

Collision detection is performed to ensure that strands do not pass through one another, or other solid surfaces such as Lara’s head, clothing and body.

Hair styles are simulated by gradually pulling the strands back towards their original shape after they have moved in response to an external force.

If AMD has pulled this off properly, then it will mean much for creating richer characters, creatures, and, potentially, worlds. It is not just hair that has the problem of looking fake, there are objects like moving trees and grass which will suddenly get a makeover.