Antonio Govela’s Python Tool Helps With Skin Unbind and Rebinding in Autodesk Maya.
Making changes to a character and rig can come down to degrees of difficulty. Certainly going all the way back to unbind the skin, only to bind it back again, is right up there with those higher levels. Maya has some tools for this, with Export Skin Weights, but there might be more efficient solutions to that. Antonio Govela found that Maya’s tools intuitive nor powerful enough, so he created his own. The result was a Python-driven Maya Skin Detach / Attach Tool.
“Basically I found myself fighting the mode, going in and out unexpectedly and worked fine for just moving joints over meshes, but had issues if the joints were constrained by some kind of control rig.” Antonio said of Maya’s methods. “I tried to make it as simple as possible, did not want to do any kind of confusing UI, so the workflow is pretty simple.”
Just Run the tool, select the skinned mesh or meshes, unbind the skin (which will freeze mesh and delete history). Then you are free to change your rig, joints or geometry. Rebind the skin.
The skin tool works by saving an XML data of the skinning information (including joints, skinning value, and max influence).
The resulting file is saved in the same folder as the current working file under a skinWeights folder and creates an XML for each selected mesh.
Antonio Govela is a Lead Technical Artist at Obsidian Entertainment who has been with the Film and Game industry for quite some time.