Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Digital Production Arts

Committee Chair/Advisor

Eric Patterson

Committee Member

Jerry Tessendorf

Committee Member

Anthony Summer


This study explores the application of digital hair creation techniques in archaeological facial approximation, focusing on the case of George Dixon, the last captain of the HL Hunley submarine. While digital hair creation techniques have been previously employed in facial approximation, this research seeks to investigate further their potential and advantages over traditional methods, particularly regarding flexibility and the ability to create multiple variations.

Facial approximation is a critical method for reconstructing the physical appearance of historical individuals. However, accurately recreating their hairstyle presents a significant challenge due to limited information and reliance on artistic interpretation. This research aims to harness digital hair creation techniques to address these limitations by integrating archaeological evidence, historical records, and scientific principles.

The methodology involves five steps: data collection, hair modeling, hair simulation, styling and texturing, and integration and evaluation. The data collection phase involves gathering archaeological evidence, historical accounts, and visual references of hairstyles from the relevant time period. Hair modeling involves creating a three-dimensional model of Dixon's head using computed tomography (CT) scans or available data. Hair simulation employs advanced computer graphics techniques to simulate the physical properties of hair. Styling and texturing involve sculpting and manipulating the digital hair strands into the desired hairstyle and adding color and other attributes for a lifelike appearance. Finally, the reconstructed hairstyle is integrated with Dixon's facial approximation model and evaluated for accuracy and realism.

One of the key advantages of this digital approach is the ability to easily create alternate versions and conduct "look development" in consultation with archaeologists. This allows for a more comprehensive exploration of possible hairstyles and facial hair variations for Dixon, enhancing the accuracy and authenticity of the facial approximation.

This research contributes to the growing body of work on the application of digital techniques in archaeological facial approximation. The findings from this study will offer valuable insights into the appearance of George Dixon and provide a useful reference for future research in the field.

Keywords: digital hair creation, archaeological facial approximation, hairstyle reconstruction, George Dixon, HL Hunley, computed tomography, three-dimensional modeling, hair simulation, styling, texturing, accuracy, authenticity, forensic archaeology.



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