Skinning is the process of creating an association between a Mesh (the Skin) and a Rig. More specifically in the Skinning process we define associations for each bone of the Rig’s Skeleton to each vertex of a mesh. In practice, for a polygonal mesh character, each bone is associated only with a subset of the character’s vertices.
Portions of the character’s skin can be influenced by 2 or more bones, where each vertex of the affected area gets an influence factor to each associated Bone. This factor is also called Vertex Weight. Thus the influence of each bone on a specific Vertex is defined by its Vertex Weight.
The process of Skinning includes:
- Binding the Character to the rig in a specific Pose (basically establishing an association between the Rig and the Mesh)
- Weighting the Mesh to the Armature bones (create the Vertex Weights)
Note: When binding a Mesh, then typically some form of automatic Skinning is applied as well to populate the mesh weight maps with initial data. Those initial weight maps are then optimized and tuned manually.
The Weight Copy panel is only available for Custom meshes which are already bound to an Avastar Armature. This panel is used to create or replace weights for your meshes.
The weight Copy panel is admittedly complex. However, once you understand the elements in the panel and how they interact, weight copy should no longer be a mystery for you.
Note: We offer more specific Weight Tools in the Armature Tool Box Panel. Also Blender provides a set of basic weight related functions.
A Gentle reminder
Especially when you try to copy weights from other meshes you have to refine the weights manually in almost every case. All that you can achieve is to get a starting point for your work. This may work nicely, or not.
If you are trying out the Fitted Mesh Weighting, then we recommend to avoid using the default Avatar weights. Please consider to use Automatic Weight from Bones instead. That gives better results in many cases. Blindly using the weights from the default Avatar never works!
The example below shows 3 identical meshes: The left mesh is weighted to the classic mBones, the right mesh is weighted to the Collision Volumes (cBones) using the same weight values.
The character in the center gets the full treatment of mBone weights plus mesh deforms (shape keys). This character is equivalent to the default Avatar in SL using the same Gnome shape.
For Fitted Mesh (Collision Volume Bone weighting) you can get much better results when you hand optimize the weights.
Operator Panel Properties
Depending on the chosen Strategy the operator Redo panel is setup with different extra options. Remind: The operator panel is always displayed after you have called the “Update Weights” function. The operator Redo panel pops up at the bottom of the Tool Shelf. More detailed documents are here: