Tips to painting weights/rigging in Maya

Posted: November 16, 2008 at 8:45 pm

1) Just as a general rigging rule - if you have an area of lots of deformation - make sure there are at least 3 edge loops at the area of deformation. The first edge loop will be 100% (or a little less) of one joint, the second loop will be 50% of both joints, and the third loop will be 100% (or a little less) of the other joint. Things like knuckles, elbows, and knees are perfect for this. Things with more range of motion need a bit more geometry in them to deform correctly.

2) Make ABSOLUTELY sure that EVERY vertex is closed/merged/welded before you start painting weights. If you find any holes - it will only be after you finish painting weights. Then you have to redo the whole thing.

3) If you have to joints that are going to blend between each other - overpaint the first joint’s influence into the second joint’s edge loop to 100%. Then when you paint the second joint - go back over and paint its own edge loop to 100% and the blend edge loop to 50%. You may get erronous weights assigned to other joints if you don’t do this, which causes MAD shearing.

4) When you bind smooth skin - it’s best to keep your “maximum influences” to 2. That way you don’t get a bunch of random weights assigned to nearby joints. Falloff distance is rather hard to do - and Maya will definitely max out your influences (default is 5) if your falloff distance is higher than the distance between your joints (this is especially problematic in hands where everything is close together). If you need to do complex influences - stick with two and paint in the more complex stuff. It saves a lot of headaches.

If you hadn’t figured it out already - I have done each one of these things so far today. It’s mainly a note to myself so maybe I won’t make the same mistakes twice.

Hah! Yeah right.

2 Responses to “Tips to painting weights/rigging in Maya”

  1. chris duffel Says:

    with respect to animating things - could you just rig a character and hit record and plug in an xbox controller and just “play” an animation in real time? then set up the cameras later or even use the controllers to in real time “play” the part of the camera? it may already be done that way or it may be impossible. just a thought.

  2. family restaurants lancaster pa Says:

    I definitely like that. You have touched my heart!

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