Oh the gory details of skinning all put forth in chapter eight. We cover Interactive Skinning a bit more and then look at all the different modes that has created in Maya and what they mean. Usually I don’t cover all the options in a given tool, but instead show it applied in a few ways. In this case, we need to learn what all those “normalize” things mean so that we know when to use them.
We cover the method of going from interactive skinning (introduced in Maya 2012) to painted skin weights (the smooth bind method that’s been around for a LONG time in Maya). We also take a look at painting quaternion maps (did you know that was in there?) to get better volumes in the joints.
I find in the classroom that students get bogged down in the skinning process and don’t leave enough time to animate. The same thing can happen in production. So, we learn how to create proxies meshes (or tootsie rolls as I have heard it called in other companies.) This rabbit model was created by Vivi Qin. We learn how to create the proxies manually before skinning and we also learn how to skin first and use then my favorite auto proxy script from ZooTools. Because we are using referencing with this biped bird we have freed ourselves to push forward with the rig and come back for skin twiddling later. This lets us push forward towards animation all the faster. Students who have trouble with the skinning skills can continue on and still complete their animation with the proxy geometry and fix the skinning later.
Well, that was a fun chapter. All the while students, professors, myself and tech editors are testing to help make sure we have any errors in the text caught. Looks like I’m down to the bottom of my coffee cup. Time to make a fresh pot.