Want to work better and faster in Maya? 3D character artist Shana Vandercruysse gives us
five top tips.
01 Save to the shelf
Use the shelf for actions you repeat often; simply hold down Cmd/Ctrl+Shift and click on any menu item, and it will appear in the shelf you have open. It’s the same for scripts and commands: simply write down the code in the script editor and use Save>Save to Shelf. Alternatively, copy the code from past actions from the history in the script editor and save that to the shelf.
02 Paint skin weights tool
A cool option you have when working with skin weights is right-clicking on a joint in the viewport, which gives you the option to select the Paint Skin Weights tool. Select the influence and the affected vertices of that influence. It’s the small things that save you time!
03 Lock joints/influences
When skinning it’s imperative to lock the joints/influences you have skinned already, or any that you don’t want to add skin weights to through, let’s say, smoothing. This is fastest when selecting the joints you wish to work on in the influence list of the Paint Skin Weights tool, then inverting that selection with the Invert button.
04 Hammer the skin weights
Sometimes it’s a real challenge to skin areas with more than two influences. Selecting the troublemaker vertices and hammering their skin weights is a quick trick to even everything out without having to lock and unlock influences.
05 Easy corrective blendshapes
There’s a neat way to create corrective blend shapes without having to use external scripts. The Pose Editor provides a great way of touching up the areas for poses that were impossible to skin perfectly. You can simply specify a joint and a pose and start restoring volume, adding shape and smoothing things out