Tips for binding\painting weights


De nada. Feliz navidad! :smiley:


I wanted to post here sooner but I had already started production of the link below, The method I used on my last contract is one of the fastest way I know of using to speed through the weighting and binding process.

So below I am posting a link to my speed skinning tactics preview. Maya 2011 and 2012 can make skinning a ridiculously quick process but we have to fundamentally change how we look at are initial beginning conditions. I hope it helps with some of the newer issues have popping up.

One hour skiinning


Looks very interesting Farley, can you give us a brief overview of what is involved whilst we wait for that to come online?

For The Black Temple I have been using Advance Skeleton as a rigging solution and it has two features that make skinning extremely fast and easy. First is called SkinCage. It creates a low poly mesh based on simple cubes that you conform to the shape of your character. You can then transfer the weights to any selected mesh. The second is Partial joints. It creates secondary joints in the deformation hierarchy that are constrained to rotate partially to its parent.


I use AS too (****ing awesome!) and I find the skinCage to be fickle at best, however maya’s capsules (interactive skinning) are REALLY great for initial skinning, I wrote a little bit about it there:


I’m a big fan of the interactive weighting capsules too, very quick for blocking in the initial weights.

I have to confess that the whole ‘post normalization’ concept has yet to click with me. I guess I’ve worked with the old ‘100%’ rule for so long I don’t understand how you can break it and not have issues.



“Once you use the paint weights tool on the newly skinned mesh, you lose the option to use the capsule”

Wow Autodesk have managed to implement a new feature and make skinning still suck. I was never a huge fan of the capsules in Max, you always had a heap of manual painting over the top to get it working properly, but at least you could go back and forth between vert and capsule weights.


The whole point of the capsules is for a rough skin, the paint skin tool being for fine tuning. I’m sure AD could implement editable capsules after painting but in my workflow I haven’t felt the need to go back to capsules once my weights had been painted. I really like the new skinning system and it feels a lot more natural to skin now instead of the old every vertex must be at 1 method.


I like the capsules for getting a decent base skinning too, but recently I’ve been experimenting with other workflows for this. I’m working on a tool that allows me to block in the initial weighting very quickly.



I was using Maya2013 and struggling with weights couple of days ago and a friend told me to use the component editor instead of weight painting brush. It was easy, took me over an hour, not half a day, and everything worked properly when I tested the character.
This is how I did it (if you haven’t used component editor):
put joints and mesh on separate layers, make joint layer visible but inactive, so when selecting the mesh you don’t select the joints. Select the mesh, go to Vertex mode, and select all of them. Go to Window-General Editors-Component Editor, and in the Component Editor window click on Smooth Skins tab. All the joints have separate columns, set the values in root joint column to 1.0 and everything else to 0, so all the totals are 1. Then start selecting vertices around the first joint you want to add influence/weight to. E.g. the next joint above the root joint, the lower back joint. Vertices right around the lower back joint get the max weight 1, and in the component editor window the root joint column should have min weight 0, so the totals for these points are 1. Basically I take away from the root, and assign to other joints. I move up to middle back joint and before getting to the vertices around that next joint, I can set the influences 50/50 both to lower back and mid back, to make the transition from one joint to the next smoother. The ratio might be different, whatever you find works best, just if you don’t use max influence, but only .7, add the leftover .3 to the next joint in hierarchy. It is a precise way to control what gets the influence and how much. And make sure that root gets 0 influence for those points so that total for any point is always 1. Work through your whole character.

I have done weight painting before without problems. But w newer versions of Maya, it doesn’t work properly or throws influences randomly around. No matter what settings I use, post or interactive, or whether I use locks. Shouldn’t be that painful. People always talk about settings, but sometimes it is not that, the paint weights tool seems to be too intuitive wo really giving me what I want.


Try Using external plugin “nsSkinTool”, it works on the layer principle of Photoshop. If you learn to manipulate it, it is awesome!


Is it this one you are referring to?


I’m having an issue with the Bind Skin tool in LT 2016, because some joints in the object are not binded or only few are binded like an combine when you select them in the paint skin tool


Hi everyone and VKris,

Thank you so much for such wonderful info. I’m afraid I’m having a lot of problems with my paint skin weights influences, even after trying to follow the advice from the post above (which is so sound–thanks for that!). I am trying to assign influence to joints in a model’s fingers, and Maya keeps reassigning unused weight to the surrounding fingers. Very frustrating. I’ve tried messing with max influences and using the component editor as VKris suggested, but to no avail. Anyone able to help? Here’s a link to my scene to download, if you’d like:

Thanks so so much!


Hey everyone,

I figured out what you were all talking about: you need to select your model’s mesh in vertex mode, then go into the component editor and over to the smooth skins tab. There you will see all your joints listed and what influence they have on the selected vertices! This worked wonders for getting my model’s fingers to be weighted appropriately!

Now all I’m having trouble with is my mesh deforming strangely…sigh…I think it’s a modelling problem more than anything! Thanks to everyone, though!!