Cleanup, mirror and wrap
Hopefully you should be coming to a stage where you are close to finishing the skinning. You may, however, find that you are still unable to work out a few kinks and no amount of weight painting fixes the issue. Luckily, Maya has a very handy tool called the Weight Hammer that is useful for taking care of those pesky vertices. Simply select a vertex or a group of vertices, edges or faces and go Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Weight Hammer. I usually find it best to put the mesh into a pose when using this tool as the results are a lot clearer. What this tool does is look at the neighboring vertices and assign a similar weight. It's very useful for adding the final level of polish.
The Weight Hammer can be very useful to tidy up unruly vertices
Once you are happy with the weights, mirror them over using the same settings as described in Step 4. The next thing we need to do is pop some pants on this chap as he'll get arrested otherwise. To have the pants deform well with the main body, we could simply skin the pants to the relevant joints but let's try something different. Let's go with the Wrap Deformer. Simply, select the pants geometry, shift-select the main mesh and go Create Deformers > Wrap. If the results are not to your liking, feel free to skin the pants and here's a quick tip if doing so. First, bind the pants to all the same joints that you did to the body. Then select the main mesh, shift-select the pants geometry and go Skin > Edit Smooth Skin > Copy Skin Weights. Test out the results by rotating the hip and the leg controls.
Using the Wrap deformer to cover up his modesty
Skinning the eyes and the nails
We now need to skin the eyes and the nails. We could simply parent them to their closest joint but I prefer to skin them as it keeps things consistent and I can leave them within their current hierarchy. For each nail, I select the closest joint and bind them together. For example l_pinkyNail_geo was skinned only to l_pinkyD_jnt, l_ringToeNail_geo to l_ringToeD_jnt and so on. The eyeballs got the same treatment by being skinned solely to the eye joint.
With everything skinned, I strongly suggest that you pop the character into more extreme poses to see how the skinning holds up. Keep improving the skinning in these extreme poses and when you think it cannot be pushed any further, give yourself a well-earned break.
Next time, we'll add corrective shapes to fix any problem areas and also create a further sense of an underlying structure. Till then, happy skinning.
Skinning the fingernails to individual joints
Check out the previous chapters
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging a human torso
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the neck and the head
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the shoulder and the arms
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the hands
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the legs
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the feet
Maya rigging: Introduction to rigging the fingers and thumbs
Maya rigging: Introduction to cleaning up the rig
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To see more by Jahirul Amin, check out Beginner's Guide to Character Creation in Maya
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