Bone And Weighting Mode
In Bone mode, bones can be created in a hierarchical manner for the creature. This mode also allows the manipulation of added bones as well as weighting bone influences with respect to the mesh regions in the scene.
Toggling the Create button allows the creation of new bones in the scene. In this submode, the user can hold down the mouse button in the scene and drag to create and define the shape of a new bone. Take note that the newly created bone is a child of the currently selected bone.
Toggling the Select button makes bones available for selection in the scene. Selected bones can have their starting and ending points manipulated through mouse clicks and drags.
Toggling the Weight button enters weight mode. This allows the user to start applying weighting to desired regions influenced by the selected bone. In weighting mode, parts of the mesh highly influenced by the selected bone are white in color. Places with little to no influence are black:
White areas will follow the selected bone closely during any kind of bone transformation while dark areas will not. There are 2 weighting submodes that are available right now: Manual and Auto.
Manual mode allows the user to directly paint white(high influence) and dark(no influence) areas on the meshes. The weight painting brush can be modified by tweaking the following options: - Radius This adjusts the radius of the brush - Hardness This determines how "hard" the brush is and how much influence values falloff from the brush center. - Weight What influence value is painted onto by the brush.
To Erase Weights on a region, hold down the ALT key while dragging on the region.
Auto mode employs sophisticated algorithms that automatically apply bone influence values to the meshes. The following options are available: - Iterations How many levels of the auto weighting algorithm to apply. The higher the iteration count, the smoother the resulting influence values are. - Influence How much the auto computed influence values diffuse into neighbouring areas. - Radius How much raw influence the bone actually has. Areas under the radius are set to white(high influence) before being diffused out using the algorithm.
In addition to the above options, the user can click on: - Apply Runs the algorithm on the selected bone. - Apply to All Runs the algorithm on ALL bones in the scene.
All these options might seem difficult to grasp at first. The easiest way to use the Auto weighting mode is simply to max out Iterations and Radius and then click Apply to All. This is the quickest and easiest way to get some kind of reasonable bone influence weighting for all the region meshes in the scene.
Weighting on Specific Regions
The user can decide which mesh regions are available to be influenced by weighting operations. The way to do this is to click the button beside Affected Regions in any of the weighting submodes. A new window pops up allowing regions to be selected and deselected. Deslected regions will not be active during manual paint or auto weight operations. This allows one to say weigh specific body parts to a certain bone but not others. For example, you can exclude the left leg of a character from the weighting operation focused on the right leg.
Assigning Multiple Bones easily to Multiple Regions
If you want to assign weighting regions to a large group of bones, you can do this easily by first selecting a group of bones. Hold down the Cmd key and click on the bones you are interested in. The Group Region Assign button will be enabled. Click on that to bring up the Affected Regions window. In this mode, all your selected bones will be assigned the same regions determined by you in this window.
Switching Between Bones in Weighting Mode
You can switch quickly to another bone in Weighting mode by holding down on the Shift key. With the Shift Key held down, click on any other bone to switch focus of your weighting mode.
Bones are listed in the panel on the right. One can also delete selected bones by clicking on the Delete button.