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maya survival kit (for fitted mesh)

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Hello Folks

I am going to show oyou my survival kit for maya users , in case you decide to mess with rigged mesh. This is just my personal way to approach it and how it felt faster for me. It's not the canon. I post it in case it might help others as it did with me to speed up. Sadly it's not yet the panacea nor the final solution to the problem that the actual new liquidmesh is representing about rigging, but a little help with it.



Said this let's go on and see what I am talking about.


New liquid aka fitted mesh system requires, at least for what I've deduced by inverse-engineering studing the avatars published on wiki, that the weight should be now on "new" collision bones.


If you open the zip downloaded from wiki you can see this yourself. Any avatar has the weight moved to collision bones.


To do this it'd be good to rig the avatar the way we already know first to the "mbones", then moving the weight to the collision bones.


According to what is said on wiki with the new collision bones you don't need to use them all in your righ as it was needed with mbones.


So the first steps about binding and rigging to mbones are the same.


You can use the way you already know for maya. Though I lately found and love a plugin that makes my life easier cause it allows me some extra tools and the abvility to rig on layers ( making it easier saving me from errors same way as when you draw in photoshop and use layers).


The name of this plugin is ngskintools. Downloadable from here.

The tool comes with a detailed guide about the usage and good videos, so I'll just skip talking more about it. You can read it's guide here , and movies here and here.





This tool is optional, as I said the first step that is rigging your avatar could be done in a way or another.


Now the big problem is once that yo've rigged your avatar on mbones how could you move those weights fast and precise to thenew collision bones? (in other softwares all this process has been to me even easier though its exporter is not good for sl and I doub t it would ever be, so let's achive that)


To move weights I found t an old script that still works also in maya 2011,2012 and 2014 ( I don't know about maya 2013 but it shoudl work there too). The name of this script is abweightlift, downloadable from creativecrash site.


How to use it.?



Select your garnment from the outliner window.

  1. Then stay in move or in rotate or select mode, don't stay in weight paint mode when you use abweightlifter (it wouldn't work good there)

  2. Select your source ( the bone where you want to move the weight from)

  3. click select destination source button, you'll see a list but don't care much about that for now.

  4. Once you've clicked on select destination you would see appearing another list in"select weights by influence". It's here that we'll work now. Select the bones you want to move your weight from.For istance imagine that you want to move the weights from your mpelvis bone to its children collision bones (BUTT and PELVIS).This is where this tool come handy rather than move weights for istance from mhipright to RIGRT_UPPERLEG (that could be easily done also by the classic ways you'd use in maya.


At this point for the fifth step we have two ways to move the weight to PELVIS and to BUTT collision bones , by this way "cutting" in a way in two parts those weights that before stant only on mpelvis bone.



a) we use the "paint select tool" and holding ctrl while we paint we deselect first for istance all the vertices that are in the area of butt. Then we select from the weight manager of maya that you see in the "paintweight tool "first the mpelvis (our source) then PELVIS (our desitnation) and click on "move weight to selected influence". Alternative skin/edit smooth skin/move weights to influence.

Once moved the weight for pelvis select the mpelvis again from abweightfter and repeat the process for the vertices that should be influenced by butt. When collision bones have had the weight transferred on them you can eventually use the smooth tool or the other brushes to adjust the seams of weight if needed.



b)The other way would be just select using abweightlift the vertices for mpelvis as shown above. Then instead of using the the paint select tool we go in the paintweighttool and use the list of influence to select fist st the mpelvis (source ) then holdfing ctrl we select PELVIS and BUTT, at this point we hit the "move weight to selected influences".Then we'll have to play with brush in replace mode to adjust the wight on PELVIS and on BUTT area.


What said till now would be an alternative way to move weights from mpelvis to its children collision bones and also for mchest.


For the other limbs mbones and collision bones there isn't such big iussue,least I haven't found it that troublesome.







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Exactly as shown above. If you've installed it properly you should see the pop up window as soon as you hit its icon in the shelf.

The script wouldn't work from weight paint mode .So as shown above hit the move tool in the shelf at your left and in that mode ( edit mode) the script is able to move the weight from one source to another

 So hit  source object you'll see a first column of bones appearing where it says "source"

Then hit "Destination object" button , you'll see a second column of bones appearing  in the column where its written "destination"

Now click one source from your left column ( the source) click one as destination in the destination column , both would be marked by these signs =>   <=

Now at the bottom of your window you have the buttons to copy or move weights, just hit move if you want to.


Then go back in  weight paint mode and edit where it's needed to give your shape better smoothness helping yourself where you need also with the "component editor" built in maya for a better weight distribution.

Abweightlift  is just an alternative to maya's built in weight copy tool, say just more intuitive window

Just in case, if you need help to install maya scripts, look at this tutorial from simplymaya

or this movie http://vimeo.com/45034839

 About maya versions used , as I said above, I installed it in maya 2011, 2012, 2014 . I am using  this on maya 2014. So if it's working in maya 2014 ,if there aren't bugs in 2013, but I doubt they are, it should be working also in maya 2013.


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Hello every one.

In adission to the first post "Cheers very loud for someone trying to help" There is an easy very simple way to transport skin weight maps from the original SL avatar to your new mesh.

All you have to do is load the SL rig that you can download from the wiki or the SL market place, Import that in to the scene your working on.
Then with out doing anything select the default SL avatar "not the skeleton" then select your new mesh and go to skin /edit smouth skin / copy skin weights.
All the default SL weight maps will now be transferred to the new mesh binding it all to the collision bones.

If you check it by selecting any join in your outliner you can see the M bones have no weight maps only the collision bones have now the original SL avatar weight maps.

Another thing that helps, you can not change the orientation of the joints this is very important, if you do need to rotate a joint make sure you select the entire hierarchy within the group, so if you need to rotate the legs select the hip joint and rotate from there but do not touch any thing below the parrent joint.

Sample, your leg has a few joints hip knee lower leg and so on, the entire leg is grouped, all the joints in the leg are child to the hip joint that is the parrent of the leg. so in this case you can rotate the hip join to rotate the join in the foot because the hip joint is parrent and all the children will move with it, the legs joint orientation will remain the same and will deform like it should. move the foot join only and you change the join orientation in relation to the pattent join and you will have weird deformations in SL. Does not work exactly as i tell you but its a long story to explain.

do not move the Mbones, if you move the mbones by moving the entire group fine but do not move the mbones by it self.
The mbones are responsible for most of your avatars/mesh deformation, if you move them then as soon as you ware the items or avatar it will instantly deform because SL thinks the mbone is in the same place in relation to the rest of the skeleton, but its not you moved it so it will deform instantly in a bad way.

Can you move joints , yes "but not mbones unless read ubove "but.. make sure your tool is set to local space not world space only in local you can move the joints without braking the rig.
Can you scale joints, yes. same story local space only.
does the skin mirror function in maya work for SL ? yes it does but set weight normalization to post when your painting your skin so it does not normalize the weights overlapping other maps or near by joints.
Does the smooth skin weights work, yes but dont use it. it will make you skin painting more difficult.

Finally do not use replace option in the skin paint tool attributes, it acts funny, its not an SL thing but a maya thing, use add and scale options to replace weights. how does that work use add with a white color to change the weight to white , use scale with a black color to turn it black or anything in between. but mostly you will use scale to remove influences from your skin but do not replace.

I hope this helped a little

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