The amazing hair of Tomb Raider

2 min read


On the technical side, there’s a lot to love about the new Tomb Raider game. For starters, Lara isn’t a top-heavy fantasy, but a more realistic and grounded character. And the world that she happens to be inhabiting and constantly falling through, is rich and detailed. But all of that pales in comparison to the greatest piece of tech on display – her hair.

Despite the fact that she spends the majority of her day escaping pirates and crawling through filthy tombs, Lara somehow still manages to sport a luxurious mane of hair with full body and colour, thanks to the TressFX technology that AMD created. What this also means, is that no Hollywood actress can ever complain, ever again, in an advert where they stress about their poor wittle scalps.

Over on the AMD blog, the need for more realistic hair in games was a challenge that had to be met. “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.

According to the blog, this is what Tomb Raider looked like with and without the technology activated:




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.

No idea what that means, but the results speak for themselves. The game is out today, so you’ll also be able to see for yourself. Maybe she’s born with it, maybe she’s OOOOOOH CRAP I’M FALLING YET AGAIN BUT MY HAIR LOOKS LOVELY!

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Last Updated: March 5, 2013

Darryn Bonthuys

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  • TriangularRoom

    I’m guessing this is a PC only thing…?

    • PsiCoRe

      Should I google that for you? I just quickly skimmed some articles. TressFX requires a DX 11 card and will run on Nvidia devices. I suspect that the next gen consoles including the Wii U will have it since it seems they will all be running AMD.

      • Was just gonna ask if this is for AMD hardware only. Good to know that it’ll work on my nVidia card.

        • PsiCoRe

          I’d probably make sure my facts are correct. You know how rumours are 😉

    • FoxOneZA

      Yes. Console’s are so last season 😛

  • matthurstrsa

    TressFX. They’ll stare at your hair. Not your boobs.

    • OVG

      Hair porn.

      • matthurstrsa

        You don’t really tend to see hair in porn these days. Not that I watch. I wonder if there is a fetish for hairy people?

        Sexpo is coming up, I guess I could find out there.

        • OVG

          Nothing beats a vintage bush 🙂

          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            The line You ————————

          • OVG


          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            Let’s say, well crossed 😉

          • OVG

            So its not a Brazilian?

          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            Most definitely not 😉 Not much rendering needed for that…

          • OVG

            SHAVED? 😛

          • OVG


  • OVG

    I was amazed to see a 5 min expose of the game on SKY NEWS this morning. WTF? Games are getting reviewed on news channels now.

    OK they did harp on about the first M Rated Tomb Raider and all of the violence, bit still its the thought that counts :p

  • Scruff304

    So who has gone and bought this? I’m so tempted!

    • OVG

      If it was out on payday last week then yes. But one can only afford 2 games a month. Going to have to wait but its a must have considering the great reviews thanks to some of the best mo cap that gives VAAS a run for his money.

      GET IT!! 🙂

      • Scruff304

        Ha ha. I’m still getting through Vaas (Gotten myself caught up in the Co-Op stuff), nevermind Borderlands 2! The list goes on and on…

        • OVG

          To many games but to little time. I think Bioshock 3 and Tomb Faller will be the last few games I buy before the hype train starts for GTAV.

  • PsiCoRe

    Sometimes you need a little FX, Sometimes you need a lot

  • DaxterZA

    Picking up my pre order copy in about 30 minutes 😀

  • Admiral Chief Erwin

    O_O hair porn

  • Sir Captain Rincethis

    Defo worth getting. But still need to finish Darksiders 1&2 and Dead Space 3! dammit, not enough money, time to start hanging out under Claremont bridge again…

  • Darth_Clericus_The_Ultimate

    Maybe she’s born with it, maybe its TrendFX

  • Sir Rants-a-Lot Llew

    Looks impressive.

  • The Lying Dutchman

    Header win!!!

  • Deon Steyn

    I bet Agent 47 is jealous.

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Played the game today, and yeah, TressFX is awesome. However, it straightaway makes the fps dip around 10-15 and makes the game almost unplayable on my PC. Disable it and viola, back to normal. I do have an NVIDIA card though, I guess AMD cards will handle it much, much better. But Lord knows I was helluva confused why the game was working so slow in the beginning, till I noticed the hair and a “hair quality” setting, haha.

    But yeah, it’s awesome!

  • Guest

    this game is so amazing. Actually I was expecting more like a generic platformer and when you realize, the ambient, the graphics, the responsiveness, the tension is amazing. I really liked the game and was pleasantly surprised!! For me is the best game of 2013 so far !

  • Uberutang

    Tried it…loving it! Standard hair is now something that belongs in the past (and old consoles).

  • Jdw650

    Got it at it is incredible. Love far cry 3 but the new tomb raider blows it out of the water. I want more games like this.

  • Mayur

    Hairs are good but they drop almost 10 fps when enabled…

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