View Full Version : crash course in painting weights

05 May 2003, 06:38 PM
I have set up a humanistic, biped character and he deforms pretty well for what I need to do. Some weights need to be changed in the arms, thighs, and torso and it's getting way too tedious. I can tweak them till the cows come home and it's always 70% right.

Are there any rules to follow when painting weights to get a good deformation? Would manualy changing values make it easier?

I apreciate the help.


05 May 2003, 07:33 AM
Okay, I think I can give you a crash course.

Fisrt off, if the mesh isn't too heavy, use the component editor.
This will get you at least 90% of the way to where you want to go. Most of the time when you select the verts, they will just appear in the CpEd, but you may have to hit the reload button. Then just start selecting batches of verts and working your way through it. Often I use front and top and side views alot to select through things and get them even along a line. Then you can make them at 1.00 on one bone to make it quick and dirty, then work your way from there.
1) Setup an easy scrubable animation with your boned area you are working on. 20 frames of the arm moving in one axis for example.
2) Then start moving the verts in the CpEd until you get it close to where it starts to deform correctly.
3) Then you can use the paint weights tool. Work slowly here. Try not to use add or scale too much, the have a tendency to average your weighting. Stick to replace, mostly, and smooth.
4) Just like a bump map is how you need to think about your weight painting. Work with a click here and a click there, at a low Value. I often work with Opacity on at 100% (or 1 in this case). Because if you paint over it several times it will get more and more influence with Opacity set below 1.00. If you just use shades of grey and have your opacity on full, you will never add more than what you paint the first time.

5)The last step is the worst of all. Do it a bunch of times. Your chances of getting it right the first time are next ti nil, you just have to keep trying.

Good luck


05 May 2003, 11:32 AM
I apreciate the guidance on that a lot.

A couple more small things...

Lots of bones have weighted verts away from where they are located and are pulling points when they move. For example: ankle bones have weights in the crotch area and hip bones have small weights in the chest.

Is there a way to avoid that at the time of skinning or do I maybe flood an area an start from scratch?

Last thing. Should I be able to get away with just using weights or will I eventualy need extra deformers too?

Thanks for the help.

05 May 2003, 12:18 PM
I find it really useful to flood the weight on the root joint across the whole mesh and start from there. If you work out from the root down the hierarchy, you'll avoid the problem of odd little weights getting assigned in random places. For instance, if I'm weighting an arm, I'll select ALL the vertices for the arm and hand and weight them to the Upper arm joint. Then I select everything after the elbow and weight it to the elbow joint, and so on and so forth. This helps ensure that you don't get weights from the hand affecting the shoulder area, etc. After that's done, I'll smooth and edit the weights around the joints until the deformation is good.

Hope this helps

05 May 2003, 07:39 PM
just to add a bit here...

I always use smooth skinning options set to:
Bind to : Selected Joints
Bind Method : Closest Joint
max influence : 3
dropoff : 8

I find this gives me a very good starting point...
from there I paint one side and mirror...


05 May 2003, 09:58 PM
Okay, I'm going to have to disagree with sasquatch. I don't recommend flooding the entire mesh to the root joint. That pretty much blows the whole idea of Smooth binding.
Sas, start using the Component Editor. It works a lot faster than you think.

05 May 2003, 06:20 AM
Hey if you have some money i highly reccomend the Gnomon videos. i have the skinning series, i got more info from that than i needed. it really really helps.

05 May 2003, 08:15 AM
dmcgrath - I do. That's the whole point of flooding; it gets rid of annoying weights so I can use the component editor cleanly. I only start painting weights in the final pass. It's very quick and very tidy, especially on models that have a high unsmoothed poly count.

It's just one way of working, it's not gospel. :D

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