Tips for binding\painting weights


Hey yeah I’m getting the same problem Knylen.

Only the problem only seems to occur with subdiv meshes. Other than that the subdiv mesh seems to skin great.

Does anyone know what’s going on, or maybe show a good tutorial to read?



Hmm. maybe u have to change the deformation order… Select the skin, go to inputs and middle-mouse button drag the blendshape below the skin input…


Thanks for the reply onkelandy,

The skincluster node was above the blendShape though.
But the answer was right in front of me, the paint Blend Shape Weights tool!

Knylen, if you haven’t figured this out already, select your blendshape node and then invoke the Paint Blend Shape Weights tool ( its the 6th from the bottom on the Deform menu in Maya 7.0 ). Just paint what area you want to deform. This helps on mine.


I hear alot of talk about blendshapes on hips and shoulders for good deformation. I always have used clusters or wires, but maybe I should try blendshapes. I’ve used Blend Shapes for facial deformations, but never for the body. I’ve looked for tutorials on this, but the ones I have found are pretty lo-fi. Can anyone reccomend one that’s good?


Read what lemonyfresh says on number 8.
I do the exact same thing… Reference in the old mesh with great skinning. And copy the weights to your new mesh. Then delete the reference. (it will get you 90percent of the way there)… including face anims.

Wacom tablet. (by like 200 percent over a mouse?.. yes…)

David Waldens script

(bind pose is overrated) delete it… it can fix a lot. Just zero out your joint rotations beforehand.


The real question is does the copying in that method still break if your mesh changes enough to rearrange all the vertex numbering? If thats the case you probably have to start all over as I have to do especially on lower poly meshes that get subd’d or smoother later…



No,… it has several options. Closest point on surface, Ray cast, closest component, or UV space.


howdy guys,

been doing weighting inside of maya for a while either simple meshes or game chars and i had my technique set with component editor and flood filling from the brushing tool. also, usually, rigging was something that i did in conjunction with a lot of other stuff so i didn’t really have the luxury of time to really finesse my approach.

but i’m starting a gig where i’m gonna be doing a lot of rigging and skinning and i’ve been researching a bit and it seems like there are a few issues with maya’s weight tools:

(but i gotta say, it’s a HECK of a lot better than lightwave’s current implementation of weight painting and i always make it a point to say that whoever’s working on that should look at how maya has it set up, especially with component editor.)

  1. no xray view while painting weights! argh! sometimes i really need to refer to the skeleton to see what is where and switching back and forth from wireframe is such a pain.

  2. i don’t need no steenking paint brush! “painting” is a crude metaphor (A PISS POOR POOR POOR POOR [!@#!$@#!] METAPHOR) when it comes down to a task where numerical precision really does matter. also, even on higher res models, we’re working on sds base meshes, never on the super hi res final!

i would LOOOOOOoooove to see a SELECTION BRUSH. all the brush does is select verts that i can FLOOD with a value. i usually just select verts and flood but having to drop the paint tool to select/deselect and then switch back is SUUUUUCH a frickin’ pain! of course, the brush should allow for deselection as well.

  1. BOUNDING VOLUMES would be sooooo fing nice! there are a couple of downloads over at highend that suggest that they offer this functionality but neither are well documented and i can’t get them to work.

astonishingly, blender does have a nice bounding volumes workflow… can’t we just copy theirs?!

  1. GIMME NUMBERS! i’d love to be able to see the values as numerical data floating above the verts. sure, we could make it so that they’re only visible on selected joints. but being able to see the data without looking at a table where i don’t know what vert is what would be nice.

argh… now i’m back to digging around at highend.



I already posted this at the “share your secret weapon” thread.
But i think it can be usefull here too.

I use this tool a lot when i’m doing rigging… i created this mel script to change topology of skinned objects. i can add edge loops, extrude faces, etc. with no damage to my skin weights… i done this using a hint…

select the skinned geo and run the mel script above…
edit the geometry named “modify”
delete the history of the “modify” geometry
and go to the deform menu and press hide intermediate objects
then go to atribute editor of your skinned object and press “update weights” on the skin tab
voilá! you edited your geometry with no messing to your skinned object

//modify skinned object 1.0
//created by sergio yamasaki based on a hint.

//select the skinned object and apply this mel script

//create skinned object selection
string $sel[] = ls -sl -fl;

//create node for modification
createNode transform -n modify;

//make possible edit skinned object
select -r $sel;
string $zed[] = ls -sl -fl;

//link modify node to skinned object
parent -add -s $zed modify;

//edit the object named “modify” - its already selected
//you can do anything, extrude, split edge loops, etc.
//delete the history of it
//delete it
//then go to atribute editor of your skinned object and press “update weights” on the skin tab
//go to the deform menu and press “hide intermediate objects”
//voilá! you edited your geometry with no messing to your skinned object


yamasaki, thanks :thumbsup:
Never knew about Update Weights button :wink:


Osipa (stop staring) has some scripts that fix the linear blend shape problem pretty well.

You can add curves to all your blend shapes, smoother non-linear half shapes too.


HEy Guys,
I just can’t seem to get the vertices to go where i want to under the arm! Thery fly around evrywhere, and get pulled by influences far away from them.
I’m using a combo of Paint weights tool and the component editor. -But truth to tell, the component editor doesn’t seem to change the vertices. And sometimes it downright lies!
It doesn’t want to zero out zome influences, and others it does.
Please help…


I think there is a problem with either weight normalization or UV mapping…


or some influences are put on “hold”


just for reference

Weight Normaliztion, sets the combined weight value to 1
in example: you have vertex[1] which has wieghts of .25 (Head joint) .75 (Neck Joint). together they equal 1 (0.25 + 0.75).

Painting weights a lot of people find fustrating. This appears to happen for any number of reasons. When I was teaching I found that a numbe rof students would set the intial number of infulences to the defualt 4 or even up the infulences to 5.

Getting your settings worked out when you bind can save you a lot of trouble. First thing you would want to do is check your number of infulences (you may not want to go above 4, and you might even try 3 to start with). Next check your Drop off rate for your weights. The higher the number the close to the bone the weights will be the lower the number the further the bone wieghts will infulence. After a lot of trial and error, I found starting with a drop off rate of 6.0 tends to work well for my own work flow.

Painting weights can be tricky as a whole. Some techniques that I and others in my office have used in the past include;
[li]set the weight value to 1 select the root joint and flood the weights. Then use add (set to 0.2 or lower) to add back in wieghts to specific parts of the model[/li][li]Only use Add and Smooth. Only use Replace to replace values to 0 or 1[/li][li]when painting wieghts remember the Karate Kid (wax on wax off) small circular strokes for painting the weights tend to work best.[/li][li]Block in Known area with values of 1.[/li][li]Painting weights is more subtractive then additive, when you “add” a weight you are actually subtracting it from another value.[/li][/ul]


Does anyone know if the “Skinning Tools” script has being updated for Maya 2011? Is “Skinny” any good?


Here’s one idea:

(I haven’t read through this entire thread yet, so idk if this has already been suggested or if it’s already available)

What if there was a script/plugin where you select a joint and the only thing visible is the polys that are weighted on that joint (along with the entire joint hierarchy with the joint selected highlighted). You wouldn’t be looking at grey scale values on the entire mesh, you would only see the specific faces that are associated with the selected joint. And if you select a face, the joints it is weighted to will highlight. Value bubbles containing the weighted value per vertice would appear on around the poly faces and could be toggled on and off. This way, you could set up a test animation on the rig, and precisely see how each individual joint is affecting the skin faces associated with it.

You could toggle this feature to see the entire mesh as you see fit.

Again, when a vertex is selected, the joints associated with it highlight with weight values on each joint hovering above the joint. When a joint is selected, the faces/vertices associated with that joint will be highlighted (and/or the only faces visible in both of these cases) and the weight values would hover over the vertices. The component editor could be linked to these features as well.

I think one other cool feature would be the ability to test drop off and influence in real time. Say you were testing a hip joint, you see the faces skinned to it, but you want to expand to more faces, there would be an easy and convenient tool allowing you to do this and test the results. It would also be easy to select a face and add influence from a joint with no influence, so this was all boiled down to hot button pushes/toggles etc.

A previous poster mentioned Maya using an xray view with weight painting. Such a feature would be great here too to see the entire mesh in xray mode while the faces you are working with are opaque.




In maya 2011, is there a way to add new joints to an already skinned character? Also is there any new (recommended) plugins/scripts for joint orientation xyz?



To add new joints to an already skinned geometry… Select Animation from the “Main Menu Bar”, then go to skin/edit smooth skin/add influence

As for joint orientation I always use Comet’s “joint orient” script.


Thanks Aitoru, appreciated!