Grooming Tools 



Ornatrix provides a range of grooming tools designed to give you more artistic control over your digital grooms on a non-procedural manner. All tools can work over guides and directly on hairs, allowing you to manually scatter and sculpt the hair as you desire.

The grooming tools can be found in the Ornatrix shelf:

And as any other Maya tool, the settings for all the tools and brushes can be found in the Tool Settings window. Each tool has its own set of settings and they are stored individually.

The grooming tools work in conjunction with the Edit Guides Operator. This operator contains all the manual or non-procedural edits that you perform on the hair. Like drawing new guides, scattering hairs, painting channels and creating strand groups. Most of the following tools use Edit Guides, therefore they will add an Edit Guides operator to the Operator Stack if one is not present. If a hair object is not present on the polygon mesh under the mouse cursor then it will add a new hair object.

In this page you will find a detailed description and examples of all the grooming tools included in Ornatrix for Maya.


Tool Contexts 


Draw Strands 

Use it to draw guides or hair strands directly on a polygon mesh. When using this tool with Edit Guides operator below Hair from Guides it will add guides that will be used for hair interpolation. When this tool is used with Edit Guides operator above Hair from Guides it will create hair strands that will not be part of the interpolation.



  • Create new Strands
    When off, no new strands will be added but existing strands can still be edited if Edit Existing Strands is checked.
  • Edit Existing Strands
    When on, clicking and dragging on existing strands will modify its shape.
  • Point Count
    Sets the point count of the created strands.
  • Draw Along Surface
    When on, the tool allows you to draw strands wrapped to the distribution surface.
  • Distance from Surface
    When Draw Along Surface is checked, this parameter sets the distance at which the strand will be drawn on the surface.
  • Apply Smoothing
    Resample the created strands to smooth out its vertices.
  • Smooth Amount
    This parameter sets the smoothing strength when Apply Smoothing is checked.
  • Select Edited Strands
    When on, each strands is selected after editing it.
  • Maximum Length
    Sets the maximum length for newly created strands.

Note: See Surface Comb and Clumping documentation pages to learn more about Sink Edit and Clump Edit tools respectively.


Brush Contexts 



The Create brush allows you to quickly scatter strand roots on a distribution surface. This brush works together with Edit Guides operator to store the generated data. If the target distribution mesh does not have an Ornatrix hair object attached it will add one automatically. The length of the newly added strands can be set using the Created Strands Length parameter, but this length value will only be applied if there are no previously created strands present in the current hair stack. If there are any existing strands, the newly created strands will adopt their shape instead.

The Create brush will scatter the strand roots in different random positions depending on its settings, so it will not plant two strands in the same position, ensuring that two strands do not share the same root. This is important to avoid other issues related to grooming. You can also set the spacing between roots or plant a single guides by settings the Root Position to Center and increasing the Root Spacing parameter.




Root Creation 

  • Position
    Parameters to define the way the roots are created on the distribution mesh:
    • Center
      In this position mode roots will be planted at the center of the brush as you click and drag across the distribution surface.
    • Random
      Default mode. The roots will be evenly distributed inside the brush volume as you click and drag.
  • Spacing
    Determines the space between the scattered roots.
    The amount of roots to be added on each click.
Demo of Create and Delete brushes


As its name suggest, the Delete brush will remove hair strands inside the radius of the brush shape. This brush make use of the Strand Filtering Section from the Common Brush Settings to filter the affected strands. The _Root Creation settings will not have any effect on how this brush performs. The strands that are inside the brush shape will be removed uniformly.



This brush is designed to intuitively change the shape of hair based on the flow of user's mouse movements. Comb brush in particular will act as a real brush, changing the strands' orientations locally as you 'touch' them.

There are two ways a brush in Ornatrix can be used:
  1. To brush in current screen space (default), where your strokes will modify the hair strands in the screen direction.
  2. To brush along surface, where the brush strokes are projected onto the distribution surface. This mode can be used to constrain the brushing changes to make hair or fur flow along the character's mesh surface.


This brush will cut the strands up to the strand vertex that is inside the brush radius. The strand vertices or points will be reordered to preserve the global point count.



Different from the Comb brush, the Grab brush will grab and drag the strand points that are inside of the brush radius. It works like pulling a rope by its middle point.


Grow Shrink 

Grow and Shrink the strands when clicking and dragging up and down using a maximum and minimum length value.



  • Max. Limiter
    Sets the maximum strand length allowed.
  • Min. Limiter
    Sets the minimum strand length allowed.


Allows you to paint Per-Strand and Per-Vertex Strand Channels that can be used to apply and mask out the different effects and deformations performed by all Ornatrix operators. Almost every Ornatrix parameter can be controlled by a Strand Channel, essentially allowing you to paint different effects and deformations on the hair. Strand Channels can also be inserted in your shading network to paint fine details or masks on the hairs.



  • Color
    Set the color to paint on the strands.
  • Target Channel Type
    set the channel type to paint on. The available options are: Per-Strand Channel and Per-Vertex Channel. See Working with Strand Channels for more information.
  • Target Channel
    Select the target channel from a list of previously created channels.
  • Create Channel if one Doesn't Exist
    Adds a new channel if no channel is selected from the Target Channel list or creates a new channel if none exists.
  • Target Data Type
    The type of color data to paint. The options are Color or Scalar.
Painting the hair with color Using Strand Channels for shader masking

See Working with Strand Channels for more information about strand channels, its creation and use cases.



Pull the hair strands away from the distribution surface.



Reverts the strands to the state they were in before the current Edit Guides was applied, essentially straightening them.



Resample the strand vertices or points to smooth out the strand.


User Brush 

Allows you to create Ornatrix custom brushes using Python. The Ornatrix installation includes access to the Ornatrix hair interface that will give you access to internal functionality, allowing to create custom brushes that adapt to your workflow.

Custom brush scripting

Common Brush Settings 

While some Ornatrix brushes have a small set of unique options, most settings are common across all brushes. The unique brush settings are described above in the Brush Contexts section on this page. In this section we will describe the settings shared across all brushes, which are divided in different sections.


Target Shape 

The target shape is the Edit Guides shape node that will store the changes made with any of the brushes. The following settings allow you to change the behavior of the target shape based on the active brush.

  • Selected
    If an Edit Guides shape is selected it will be used to apply the brush changes.
  • Top
    If there are multiple Edit Guides shapes in the stack the very top one will be used.
  • Any
    Any Edit Guides shape within the stack can be used. Top overrides Any if it's on.
  • New
    When on, a new Edit Guides shape node will be added to the stack.
  • Create Guides
    When on, and New option is selected, guides will be created instead of hairs.
  • Target All Shapes
    When on, all shapes in the scene will be considered. Otherwise only the shape which contains the selected node will be considered.

Brush Settings 

  • Shape
    Choose the shape to use with the brushes. You can select between a Circle, Square and a Line.
  • Size
    Sets the size of the brush shape.
  • Strength
    Sets the strength of the active brush.
  • Use Surface Brush
    Enables surface brushing. This mode allows you to brush along surface, where the brush strokes are projected onto the distribution surface. This mode can be used to constrain the brushing changes to make hair or fur flow along the character's mesh surface. This mode can also be activated temporarily by holding down the Ctrl key.


  • Mirror Axis
    Selected the axis on which you want to mirror the active brush.
  • Mirror in World Space
    The active brush will be mirrored in world space coordinates.

Strand Filtering 

  • Affect Selected Only
    Only the selected strands will be affected by the active brush.
  • Affect by Roots Only
    Only the strand points near the roots will be affected by the active brush.
  • Respect Vertex Weights
  • Ignore Back-Facing Strands

Strand Modification 

  • Preserve Strand Length
    When on, ensures that the active brush will not affect the length of the strand.
  • Optimize Strand Geometry
  • Resample Strands
    When on, the strand points of the strands affected by the active brush will be resampled after each brush stroke.

Elastic Brushing 

Elastic Brushing allows you to deform the strands in a way similar to how elastic deformation works. The strand shapes follow the deformation of an elastic continuous medium - imagine the hair embedded in a large block of jelly, which is being deformed by the selected tool. The strength, extent, and application point of the deformation are determined by the brush or by the control point parameters. Elastic mode has the following settings:

  • Elastic Mode
    Activates Elastic Brushing
  • Poisson Ratio
    Sets the Poisson ratio of the elastic deformation (between -1 and 0.5), which determines how much hair will expand in one direction if it's compressed in the perpendicular direction. Incompressible materials have a Poisson ratio of 0.5; the default value of 0.2 is typical.
  • RK4 Integration
    When on, the numerical integration is carried out with greater precision. This is slightly slower but results in better reversibility: if the tool is dragged back to the original point, the resulting deformation will be minimal.
  • Multi-Scale
    When on, the deformation has a faster falloff (is more localized).
  • Moving Center
    When on, the deformation center moves with the tool during dragging. When off, the center stays at the initial position of the tool.
  • 2D Brush
    When on, a 2D deformation is applied in the viewing plane. When off, the deformation is three-dimensional.
  • Reverse Sign
    When on, the sign of the deformation is reversed.
  • Pinch
    When on, the Scale tool uses a pinch-type deformation.
  • 3D Depth
    For 3d deformations, this can be used to position the deformation center in front of or behind the viewing plane. A zero value means the deformation center lies in the viewing plane.
Missing Something? Let us know if this page needs more information about the topic.