View Full Version : importing skin weight maps.

05 May 2003, 11:02 PM
Whenever I import skin weights for the body of my model. (using a 256 x 256 OR 1024 x 1024 map) they go on extremely blotchy and one joint controls a little bit of everything!

I tried exporting the body and it's shoes and hate seperately and then toegether... Same results.

I don't know if there's an easy solution but if there is I'd love to hear it. If not.. I'll redo half the model again.


05 May 2003, 11:03 PM
Hat.. not hate.. Although that's not too far away...

Matt Leishman
05 May 2003, 04:33 AM
What is the particular situation you are finding yourself in? If you describe what kind of mess you have found yourself in (i'm constantly in a mess!!) then maybe we can better describe some ways of helping if we can. :)

05 May 2003, 11:12 AM
If your object is a polyObject I would recommend checking if the texture UVs have a proper layout (no 2 UVs @ the samespot). I always ran into the problem that you describe when I mirror my object halfs and than combine them. Then you have UVs at the same position and importing attribute maps gives strange results.
I hope this helps, Good luck and don`t loose faith because import skin weights is a great thing next to export skin of course ; )

05 May 2003, 07:46 AM
I had nothing but trouble with the skin weightmap import/export.

In my opinion its a REALLY lame way of dealing with weights.

is a much better method of importing and exporting weights. I would be very surprised to see this feature not implemented in the next version of Maya!

it works with weights based on the vertex number and bone name - therefore it glitches if you rename bones or do anykind of vert editing that renumbers the verts.

there's also an alternate version that incorporates lattice deformers on highend.


06 June 2003, 02:31 PM
Hello dafine20,

Buexe is right !:shame:
When you export your weight map in Maya you have to make sure that your UV map does not contain overlapping UV.
You can use the automatic UV mapping option to layout your UV's so that they do not overlap. Be sure to check the option "create new UV set" this way you can always go back to your old UV map if needed. Now you can export and import your weight map without any strange deformation caused by incorrect weight assignments of your joints.

Take care !

06 June 2003, 03:28 PM
I appreciate the help guys. I found a round about way to get the weights to mirror ALMOST perfectly but I still had to go back and erase odd points. I can't stand weights, they made me go INSANE. I think I'll try my hand at Rigid binds to see which I like better.



06 June 2003, 05:01 PM
I like using rigid bind for hands, because the flexors are great for finger deformations. Maybe try the joint cluster (or something like that) it`s great for thumbs.
have fun!

06 June 2003, 05:27 PM
The load/save weights commands in Maya are stupid.

Go to and find the saveWeights.mel script that Big Idea released a while ago. It will save you many headaches.

Michael Duffy

06 June 2003, 05:55 AM
I searched Highend and Google and nothing came up. If you have a specfic address "saveWeights.mel" please post it.....thanks.


06 June 2003, 06:09 AM
the weight tools

the save weights from Big Idea

if that don't work it's on this page

highend is great, but man it's hard to find stuff sometimes


06 June 2003, 12:28 AM
Many Thanks. I did a search for it and Highend comes back with nothing found that matches that request. I get this on Highend all the time. There search engine in the scripts section is terrible.

06 June 2003, 02:27 AM
Originally posted by magilla
I had nothing but trouble with the skin weightmap import/export.

In my opinion its a REALLY lame way of dealing with weights.

I believe the idea of using an image map is so you could use the same weight map on a smoothed or modified mesh. If ya just export the verts, no vert on the mesh can change. Too bad I've actually never gotten weight maps to export and import successfully.

I doubt Maya will introduce this other method because it's been around for the past many versions.



06 June 2003, 02:56 AM
We had a meeting a few weeks back with the "Senior Product Specialist" and the guy in charge of modelling tools at AW. Both of them were unaware of these scripts or this method of weight import/export. I think they just assumed people use the weightmap method and that it has problems but overall its ok.


06 June 2003, 07:26 AM
As I stated earlier it is extremely crucial to have a good uv layout in order to successfully export/import weight maps. The advantage of this over the scripts suggested (correct me if I`m wrong) is that when you have a symmetric uv layout you can export the weight maps and mirror them from one side to the other by simply flipping the images in photoshop or a similar pic editing software and than to reimport them. It`s handwork I know but better than assigning the weights manually.


BTW when exporting/importing cluster weight maps it is always a good idea to have "replace" checked, I went nuts before I found that out.

06 June 2003, 12:32 PM
I guess thats why sites like are so needed for Maya.

I didn't realize those guys at Maya were a little out of touch. I guess it is tough to debug workflow when you spend most of your time making it.

Thanks for the info

BTW, is highend3d down? I cant seem to access that or highend2d either.

06 June 2003, 05:23 PM
The problem with the bitmap-weightmap approach is that when we are rigging characters, usually they haven't been assigned UVs or textured yet. They are coming in fresh from the modeling department, and it is the texture department that handles UV assignments. Not to mention that the bitmap-weightmap generates TONS of files and is really slow. If you have 1024x1024 bitmaps and 76 influences, you are talking over 76 megs of data that must be generated, written, and then read back to copy the weights of a character. And that's only if you are using a grayscale bitmap (I forget what Maya's default is since I haven't used it in forever). SaveWeights.mel generates a 1 meg file with the same data, and that's already a bit slow (could be sped up by rewriting as a plugin no doubt). We tried transfering weights on one of our characters with the Maya method when one of their reps was here, and I think we gave up after it hadn't copied the weights after 10-15 minutes. I'm surprised Alias doesn't realize this method is so bad.

Also because saveWeights can work with point order if you have another character that has recycled some of the geometry from another character, you can sometimes copy weights over from one character to another. I went in and modified our copy of saveWeights.mel a bit so that it can work with relative point orders as well. Since all our characters have the same hand geometry I can save weights off from one character's hand and load it onto another character's hand. When you have 50 characters to rig, this is a huge time saver.

I also had to write our own mirror weights routine because the one built into Maya matches mirroed bones by position, and if you have several bones originating from the exact same location, the Maya mirror weights utility gets confused.

I also wrote a script that duplicates the weighting approach of Puppet Master from Lightwave and Messiah fame. For cartoony worlds and props, it gives a great base weight setup to start from.

We've spent a LOT of development time and resources working out new ways to weight characters because the base Maya tools are so limited.

Sounds like the Alias guys need to spend some more time out on production floors. I think they need an exchange student program of some sort :p

Michael Duffy
DNA Productions

06 June 2003, 02:03 AM
you've said a mouthful there MDuffy.

Are you feeling generous with your mirror weight mel scripts?

pretty please!

btw - the Big Idea script has the option to save the weights based on proximity - so even if half the verts have been totally messed with, history deleted, re-combined etc. the weights are still usable.

I'm kind of dubious about the digication site - why would they listen to these recommendations - when they haven't taken on-board specific "one-on-one" meeting suggestions.

We had a meeting with Ken Taki - AW representative - months ago, way before 5.0 was released. He couldn't get the weight import/export to work with any of our characters. Why didn't they address the problem then?


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