Skinning Fundamentals (1/2) 2017

Maya: Skinning/Deformation

In This Class You’ll Access…
This two part Skinning Series explains the concepts and tools found at the heart of skinning in Maya. Skinning’s a straight forward part of the pipeline however many find it conceptually challenging while starting. This first class explains the fundamental tools and concepts in simple demostrations that get to the core of skinning concepts.

Object deformation in Maya is based on virtual skinning rules, unlike reality which obeys more intuative physical laws. This page clarifies how skinning’s different in Maya compared to the rules of the real world.

You’ll learn the basic tools and how vertices loose volumes and why, twists and how some of the tools won’t work intuitively. Then you’ll get into weight painting. The class continues on the next page where we’ll look at the tools in more depth.

Despite efforts from the software manufacturers that appear to make skinning look as easy as one click setups, skinning still requires a solid understanding of basics to achieve desirable results.

The following classes are a must for any student wishing to have their characters deform well in Maya.

Running Time: 42 mins
Software: Maya 2017
2016 Related Page

Instructor: Andrew Silke

Class Time: 42 mins

1. Basic Skin Weighting Settings (8:11 mins)

1.1 – Bind/Unbind Skin (2:39 mins)
1.2 – Add Joints (2:18 mins)
1.3 – Remove Joints (50 sec)
1.4 – Max Influences (2:24 mins)

2. Moving Joints After Skinning (4:09 mins)

2.1 – Move Joints (Easy) (1:21 mins)
2.2 – Move Joints (Manual) (1:08 mins)
2.3 – Move Joints (Maya Tool) (1:40 mins)

3. Important: How Skin Weights Are Assigned (7:05 mins)

3.1 – Joints As The Space (1:57 mins)
3.2 – Component Editor (3:29 mins)
3.3 – Skin Wrangler (1:39 mins)

4. Weighted Skinning As A Linear Direction (5:41 mins)

4.1 – Linear Incrementing (2:16 mins)
4.2 – Rotation Increments (2:44 mins)
4.3 – Twist Increments (41 sec)

5. Twist Issues And Solutions (4:35 mins)

5.1 – Twist Issues (2:08 mins)
5.2 – Twist Solutions (2:27 mins)

6. 100% Skinning Workflow (5:43 mins)

6.1 – Painting Skin Basics (1:45 mins)
6.2 – Weighting 100% (37 sec)
6.3 – Smoothing Scripts (1:28 mins)
6.4 – 100% Workflow (1:53 mins)

7. Painting Skin Weights (7:07 mins)

7.1 – Painting Skin Weights (1:20 mins)
7.2 – Paint Weights: Add (1:52 mins)
7.3 – Paint Weights: Replace (1:03 mins)
7.4 – Why Removing Is Bad (1:42 mins)
7.5 – Paint Weights Scale (1:10 mins)
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  1. ctho1208
    February 16, 2019 at 12:03 am ·

    Hello, the link of the braverabbit’s Skin Cluster Weight Tool in the video 6.3 is missing.

    • Andrew Silke
      February 16, 2019 at 1:02 pm ·

      Hi Ho Cheng Ting, yes braverabbit updated that tool and has changed the name.

      I’ll update that now, the new link is

      The installer is slightly different too, so the icons may not work. I might look into this shortly and create an installation video and update the shelf too.

      Thanks for letting me know.

  2. Svetlana Yakub
    October 28, 2022 at 12:34 am ·

    Hi) Is this script( Skin Wrangler) works with maya 2022?

    • Andrew Silke
      October 28, 2022 at 11:24 am ·

      Hi Svetlana, skin wrangler has not been updated to python 3. We are thinking about creating our own tool, or upgrading Skin Wrangler ourselves, or modifying the Russet Potato Editor (below) lets see.

      In the meantime I recommend the Russet Potato Weights Editor, this is a great tool, but its a little more overwhelming than Skin Wrangler, you can see how you go with it. I will be doing skin training soon with Hive so keep an eye out, we may have a python 3 version of Skin Wrangler working shortly.

  3. Svetlana Yakub
    April 8, 2023 at 5:34 am ·

    hi)Andrew, where can I found information how to download “weight editor”. I have download zip file from github. But I have no ideas how to correctly install it. When i buy scripts its much easier to download:) Sorry for silly question but I didnt find any instractions on github.

  4. Jehyun Lee
    August 6, 2023 at 1:49 am ·

    Hi, I downloaded Skin Wrangler for 2019+ but this message (ModuleNotFoundError: file line 1: No module named ‘skinWrangler’) occurred even though I put ‘skinWrangler’ folder in scripts folder (username/Documents/Maya/projects/default/scripts/skinWrangler -> this directory). Can you suggest the way how I can install this?

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