No doubt if you are rigging in Maya you nave heard of or use ngSkinTools. What started out as a small personal rigging tool back in 2009, quickly grew into a primary spare-time project for Viktoras Makauskas. With good reason.

ngSkinTools offers the ability to use paint layers, mirror any pose, greatly enhanced paint brushes, true smoothing and a bevy of other features that greatly enhance the character skinning workflow in Maya.

Viktoras has started a new quick-start series that introduces new users to the ngSkinTools workflow.

ngSkinTools adopts photoshop style layers for painting skin weights. This will allow you to focus more on painting intuitively, rather than locking influences and micromanaging weights.

Smoothing weights is much better using ngSkinTools. Smoothing works cleanly, without andy strange artifacts. Smoothing with ngSkinTools also allows you to redo and undo without any issues. It also works on all joints in the layer.

Most importantly, ngSkinTools doesn’t require or use any customs nodes. The plugin operates on standard maya’s skinClusters (also known as “smooth skin”), so no custom nodes will be introduced to your rig. Plugin has a couple of custom nodes, but they’re only required until the rig is complete, and can be deleted after, so your work should stay compatible with most pipelines out there.

Check out ngSkinTools for Maya for more information and a download.