Tips for binding\painting weights

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  09 September 2003
yo dwalden74, The thing is that I usually bind my skins in a halfway bend pose, and i think that this lattice thing works with straight bones. I`m right now skinning a character and I came up with a strategy that so far gives nice results around the knees, shoulders and elbows (it`s a cartoon character though):

1. Copy the elbow (or whatever) joint and pointConstraint it to the elbow joint
2. orient constraint the new joint to the elbow and the parent of it, so that the new one rotates half way of the elbow
3. paint some delicious weights on it (add it to your skin of course)
4. Watch some nice elbow flex

I think the advantage of this is that it actually rotates the vertices at the joint, whereas the standard interpolation of smooth skinning just is just positional/linear.
Cheers
buexe
 
  09 September 2003
Hi

Good to hear people's different approaches. After reading DC's thread i may have-to take a look at the paint weights tool again.

Both approaches achieve the same thing in different ways. One being more visual the other being more technical. Still, never had to work with an 80k mesh. I imagine the paint weight tool makes more sense when working with such a dense mesh. However, for low-poly skinning i still think the component editor works out quicker.

Any thoughts?

dwalden74 -nice script BTW. Should prove very useful.

Cheers
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  09 September 2003
David W:

Just tried your scripts out on a test file.....Magnificent

Definiteley a folder for the ol' toolbox; thanks for that!

Atwooki
 
  09 September 2003
I am glad to see everyone participate in this thread. Thank a lot for the info guys.


Making it a Sticky for now.
 
  09 September 2003
Problems painting weights? Man, you fool! What's wrong with the butt moving when you move your neck? Since your butt is connected to your neck, it should move..... :O

Just keeding! But you knew that.

Start simply. Decrease the number of Max Influences to around 3. I like to start with a dropoff rate of around 3 as well.

I'll hit you up later tonight or tomorrow to see what your exact problems are.

One thing you should never have to do is lock your weights or use influence objects. Man, I hate both of those. Both are evil. Maya's Influence Objects deformer is so damned slow. Kills me. Cluster action is the way to go there, but you already know my love for those little "C"s.

Anyway, back to work.

Alec
 
  09 September 2003
Alec is anti-influence object?

I'll get plums deep into clusters now.

Mike
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  09 September 2003
1000 ways to skin a cat (1003, if you ask my chum from grade-school).

Some people are die-hard Influence Object folks. I'm not saying it's bad, I just don't like it and it doesn't fit into my workflow.

Do what gets you the best deformations, Rhone, since that's the main concern in the end.

Alec
 
  09 September 2003
Well, I'm still getting into the deep TD stuff, so I need to try everything. Im still pretty much anti-rigid binding unless there is an OBVIOUS reason to go for it. I saw an awesome facial rig with cluster recently, so Im hoping to copy... nay IMPROVE on it in the near future.

I still have your demo on my HD Inspirational for working on my own TD reel.

M Rhone
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Tonga the Fox - Free cartoony rig for Maya!
 
  09 September 2003
I prefer joints to clusters since you can set the joint orientation whereas the clusters axis are always world-aligned, which makes it harder to transform them in a way I want them. Or has anyone a good hint how to overcome this ?

buexe
 
  09 September 2003
Quote: Just tried your scripts out on a test file.....Magnificent


Glad you liked it. I forgot to mention, the name of the tool is dwFastChannelSliders.mel, towards the bottom of my MEL Scripts page.


David
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  09 September 2003
Beuxe, clusters can be oriented just like anything else. You may think it's stuck on the world orientation because whenever you create a cluster it starts out with it's orientation similar to that of the world and then, when you try to move it around, of course the geometry will follow. The trick is to use the bindState flag to reset the cluster once you have it's orientation set the way you want.

Here is the description of bindState from the docs:
"Specifying this flag adds in a compensation to ensure the clustered objects preserve their spatial position when clustered..."

Another way to do this is to create an empty cluster, create a transform above it, orient the transform the way you want it, freeze transforms on the cluster, and then go into the Paint Set Membership Tool to populate your cluster after orientation. Either way should work.

Alec
 
  09 September 2003
Alright! This -bs flag is not BS @ all!
Wow, I become smarter every day, where will this end?
Thanks ACFred
buexe
 
  09 September 2003
Hey!

Wow, that's really a ton of advices... Anyhow, here a few kilos more:

I recently discovered that clusters are actually more usefull for face rigging than blendshapes. Blenshapes are just so linear.I also prefer clusters over joints (for face rigging). The reason for this is you have much more control over what vertices are influenced by the cluster. Imagine you define what part of the face has a certain muscle underneath the skin. You select all vertices in that area and just paint the cluster values without the fear of painting lets say over the vertices at the back of the head (like with joints). And to make the whole thing even better, offset the cluster pivot point, and voila!, rotating the you get nice arc movement of a muscle. And if on top of that you still ned to make some adjustments to the expression - go for the blendshapes.

The other thing I found absolutely fantastic when modeling, texturing, binding is the PolyConnect plugin (highend3d). I'm sure most of you know about this tool, but has anybody actually used it from modeling right to the animation phase? Here are those fantastic aspects of the plugin:

-you make a low poly mesh (or a cage) and the plugin creates a high res version in which you can change the density any time you want
for example: you have all you animation done, and then you find out the whole thing is too low res for a film output. Plam, plam, you insert a higher subdivision value - smooth edges suddenly appear

-The UV information gets automatically transferred from low to high poly version. Moving UV's in texture editor has never been so refreshing

-When binding, you again only have to deal with low poly version
Now the Smoth skin weight painting has never been so refreshing

-Finally, when animating, you simply hide the layer with a high res version and voila, you have a real time movement. No need for cutting the whole mesh into pieces and parenting those pieces to the bones.

Isn't that great. During the whole proces you don't have to touch a high poly version a SINGLE TIME!!!

Please share your experiece and tell if this superb plugin has any glitches, cos I just couldn't find any. Has anyone else gone through the whole proces using it? Strange people really don't talk much about polyConnect.

ALES
 
  09 September 2003
Wow good thread...

So much information so little time to experiment...:annoyed:
 
  09 September 2003
alesmav, yeah I think Poly Connect is the same thing as CPS. I love CPS I use it all the time it has a great tool set. It does the exact same things as everything you listed. And it has a cool little floating gui with a ton of other tools and options. In any case when dealing with skinning you should always bind to a low rez control cage and use that to drive the higher rez geometry. Which CPS makes this very easy as alesmav noted. Other than that there are other ways to drive a high rez mesh with a low rez control cage. Of course the wrap deform method also works but calculates slower than a direct connection like CPS. If your dealing with a nurbs character the wrap method is probably your best choice. Theres no way I would ever want to try to weight a high rez mesh, thats just plain crazy. Using the control cage method and a little bit of creative rigging its completely possible to get away with no weight painting at all.
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