Hi Elliott, This is a great breakdown and very generous in sharing your process and insights, you came a long way from the vending machine days!
Are you planning on releasing the UE4 project to the public? Or only builds? I'd love to play around with it in the editor if possible!
Sometimes even developers from Ubisoft can’t do it all by themselves. Take hair in Tom Clancy’s The Division for example. The company had to hire outsource studio called Airship Images to create this element. The studio used Maya, 3ds Max and Photoshop during the production process.
One of the things airship specialises in is realtime hair. Over the last 5 years we’ve contributed to numerous titles with realtime hair, consistently pushing the bar in terms of qualty and efficiency. Developing our own internal tools to make hair creation a more artistic process.