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Painting Weights – Detailed Guide


rdy1

Hi, my name is Alex and i will be your host on this post regarding “How To paint the weights for 3D Models used as League Of Legends custom skins”!

-Things to know before beginning:

(i) This is the second part of the Basic guide regarding how to make complete custom skins for Lol. Be sure to check the first part if you haven’t already to cover any gaps about 3D Modelling!

(ii) I use Autodesk Maya 2014 cause i find it more stable for my needs. This guide covers pretty much all versions of Maya since all required options are included in all of them (2014+ versions). Though, be warned that different versions of Maya may have differences such as changes to the interface, different names for some operations etc. In this case, if not obvious to you, with a simple search online you can find which feature of your Maya version matches with the feature of Maya 2014 mentioned here.

(iii) This guide does not cover the basics for using Autodesk Maya or any of the required software, so make sure you are familiar with the interface of these software and how to use them. The purpose of this guide is to fully cover all the basic steps about painting weights for the 3D Models you have created.

(iv) This guide is split into two sections. Section A’ contains a single video showcasing the entire process of making a complete 3D Model (painting weights is partially included) since i got many requests for this. Section B’ is all about painting weights for your 3D Model.

(V) Section B’ of this guide, contains all the Basic Steps for painting weights (things you need to do first to paint weights over your Model in general) and all the Recommended Steps for painting your weights (a base procedure you need to follow in order for your weights to be correct, where correct means that there will be no errors occurring and no deformations of your Model with in-game animations).

So, for once more, lets get some music on (strongly recommended) and get started!

 

*Required Software for this guide: Autodesk Maya 2014+, Lol2dae, Wooxy, RIOT File Translator Plugin for correct Maya version!

*Software Usage:

  • Autodesk Maya -> software used to create 3D Models!
  • Lol2dae -> software used to convert (.skn) files into (.dae), something useful for importing models and checking weights!
  • Wooxy -> software used to export (.obj) files from the (.skn) format used by RIOT and to install custom Lol skins!
  • RIOT File Translator Plugin for correct Maya Version -> plugin necessary to Maya in order to work with the base format types from RIOT. Make sure that you have it enabled in Maya!

*Necessary and general knowledge about painting weights:

  1. Skin Weights are painted over vertices and not faces/polygons in general.
  2. Every vertice of the Model, will always have a maximum value of 1, regardless how you divide its weights between different joint influences.
  3. When a vertice has the maximum value (1) over a joint influence, in order to change this vertice’s value over the same joint influence, you need to paint it first with a value 0<value<1 over a different joint’s influence and then go back to the previous joint and paint again with any value that you want. In general, a vertice with max value over a joint influence is locked and in order to unlock it you need to drop its value below 1 (max value).
  4. You can assign weights over a single joint in general and not a bone. By selecting the bone you are basically selecting the joint on its start that defines it. Here is an image showing the difference between joints and bones
  5. On this guide i will be referring to “joint influences” and not “bone influences” since this is the one that describes it in the best way. Though, feel free to yourself refer to is as “bone influences” if it helps you better in any way, this is not wrong, as long as you understand of course the differences between joints and bones as well as to which joint each bone refers to.
  6. In order to see if there are any locked joint influences by default, open the “Paint Skin Weights Tool Settings” panel and make sure that the lock icon is set to “open” for every single bone in the Influences List.
  7. Painting weights should always be left for last. The only changes allowed to be made to the Model in general after binding, is painting weights and moving/rotating/rescaling polygons in “Face Selection Mode”.

 

<SECTION A’>

 

<SECTION B’>

*[PAINTING WEIGHTS BASICS]:

  1. Select the entire Model you want to paint in “Vertex Selection Mode” (F9), all vertices must turn yellow!
  2. Turn on smooth shading mode by selecting Shading->Smooth Shade All!
  3. Open the Paint Skin Weights Tool” by going to Skin->Edit Smooth Skin->Paint Skin Weights Tool and clicking on the little square box next to it (alternatively you can double click on the Paint Skin Weights Tool icon on the left panel for Last Tool Used)!
  4. To select a joint to paint weights over, you can either select the joint name in the Influences List of the Paint Skin Weights Tool or mouse right-click the joint you want to paint and while holding it down drag and choose the Select Influence” option in the marking menu that appears!
  5. Make sure the brush, paint operation, value, and any other settings you want are set in the Paint Skin Weights Tool!
  6. Drag the brush across the skin to paint weights (the brush size can be adjusted by holding the “B” key on your keyboard). The values you paint with over a joint set how much this joint influences the painted vertices relative to the other joints making up the smooth body (up to the number specified as the Max Influences in the Smooth Bind Options window)!

*[RECOMMENDED STEPS – (basic knowledge on painting weights strongly required)]:

  1. Open Wooxy and by using the Files Extractor inside it, extract the (.skn) and (.skl) files for the champion you are making custom skin for (if your skin is for Base Skin extract the files for Base Skin, if for Skin01 then extract the files for Skin01 and so on. In some cases, the Bind Pose of the champion differs from the pose you made your model, usually in old champions like Olaf. In these cases, just extract the files from a newest skin for the same champion, preferably not so different than Base Skin)!
  2. Open Lol2dae Software and select the (.skn) file you just extracted (file must be in the same folder with the .skl file and named the same). Check the option to include the Skeleton and then convert it to (.dae). This dae file is the Model of the champion with the Skeleton and Default Skin Weights painted by RIOT included as well (for some very old files, the painted weights may not appear very well so you might consider using a Skin for the champion different than Base Skin but similar)!
  3. Open Autodesk Maya, new Maya Scene, and turn the Menu set menu to “Animation”. Open Outliner (Window->Outliner) and UV Texture Editor (Edit UVs->UV Texture Editor). Keep the Outliner on the right of your maya scene and minimise the UV Texture Editor!
  4. Go to File->Import…, browse to the (.dae) file you just created and import it in your Maya Scene. Make sure you have “Smooth Shade All” selected under the “Shading” menu!
  5. Maximise the Outliner and expand the list of joints in it by clicking on the “+” icon till there are no such icons. Now, for every single Mesh, Joint/Bone and Buffbone that you see, simply rename it by adding the number “1” on its end (you may rename however you want, though significantly different names may confuse you). Once done, minimise the list by clicking on the “-“ icons till none is left (you do not have to do this for every single one)!
  6. Save your Maya Scene. Then go and open the Maya Scene that has your new custom made Model. Make sure that you have completed all the required steps for the Skin to work except the Skin Weights. Select all Mesh, Joints/Bones and Buffbones in the Outliner in Object Mode (F8), go to File->Export Selection…  and export it all as “DAE_FBX export”!
  7. Open again your previous maya scene you made with the default RIOT Skin and import now the (.dae) file of your new custom Model. Rename the Mesh of your new custom Skin to the name of the default one but without the addition you made earlier (number “1”, for example rename it to “Model” with “Model1” being the Mesh for the default Skin). Make sure that the two models now are as close as possible one to the other by comparing the two Meshes (same position). You can use “Face Selection Mode” (F11) for the faces and the “Rotate Tool” for the bones to make any changes in position if necessary. In the Outliner, use your mouse’s middle button (hold click) to drag and place the two Meshes together, one below the other!
  8. (!)IMPORTANT NOTE: When converting (.skn) files to (.dae) using Lol2dae, usually the imported into Autodesk Maya Model has “reversed sides”, meaning that left side is right and right side is left. To check this, simply open a new Maya Scene, import just the (.skl) file of the default Skin and compare it with the Skeleton of the converted (.dae) file. If the sides of the Model appear “reversed”, then proceed to option “(i)” below. If the sides appear correctly and not “reversed”, then proceed to option “(ii)” below and ignore option “(i)”:
    (i) In Object Mode, select first the Mesh of the default Skin and then the Mesh of your new custom Skin (only the two Meshes, both selected) and go to Skin->Edit Smooth Skin->Mirror Skin Weights and make sure you have these settings

    If all performed correctly, your new custom Model now must have the weights of the default Model adjusted based on your settings. What this means is that most joints of your new custom Model will have Skin Weights over them assigned correctly with some exceptions depending on the complexity of the model (how big changes you made)!
    (ii) In Object Mode, select first the Mesh of the default Skin and then the Mesh of your new custom Skin (only the two Meshes, both selected) and go to Skin->Edit Smooth Skin->Copy Skin Weights and make sure you have these settings

    If all performed correctly, your new custom Model now must have the weights of the default Model adjusted based on your settings. What this means is that most joints of your new custom Model will have Skin Weights over them assigned correctly with some exceptions depending on the complexity of the model (how big changes you made)!
  9. Select in the Outliner all the Mesh, Joints/Bones, Buffbones of the default Skin (with the name addition) and delete them by pressing backspace!
  10. The only thing left for you to do now, is go through every single joint influence and check the Skin Weights applied over it to see if it needs any adjustments. If it does, then you simply make them by painting yourself (these adjustments will be small or bigger, depending on the complexity of the Model). You are done when you check all the joint influences!
  11. NOTE! If any errors (red warnings in the command response) occur at any point and you cannot troubleshoot them, copy paste in the comments section below the last 4-5 lines inside your Script Editor!

 

*Common Errors Troubleshooting:

In case you encounter any of the following error messages when trying to export your model, you can troubleshoot them as mentioned below (error messages are displayed inside the Script Editor):

  • “Error: SknWriter: too much bound bones, plz remove “number” influence(s)” -> in case you encounter this error, all you need to do to troubleshoot it is select all Mesh-Skeleton-Buffbones in the Outliner and go to Skin->Edit Smooth Skin->Remove Unused Influences!
  • “Error: shaders for this mesh : “number”, this is more than allowed (2)” > to easily troubleshoot this error, go to Object Mode and select the mesh in the outliner. Then move the cursor over the mesh and drag right mouse button, while holding it, downwards and go to Assign Favorite Material->Layered Shader. After this, without changing anything, go to Window->Rendering Editors->Hypershade and to the window that opens choose Edit->Delete Unused Nodes!
  • “Error: SknWriter: plz set max influences to 4” > this error is usually common when painting weights with a lower value than 1 (max) and indicates that there are somewhere on your Model vertices being influenced by more than 4 (maximum allowed) joints! There are 3 different choices for troubleshooting this error with each choice providing different results:
    (Option A’) -> select all Mesh-Skeleton-Buffbones in the Outliner and go to Skin->Detach to unbind your skin. Then select them all again in the Outliner and go to Skin->Smooth Bind (make sure you bind with correct settings). This option resets all weights based on your settings and fixes this error but you will have to repeat the painting weights procedure from the beginning!
    (Option B’) -> all you need to do here is go to Skin->Edit Smooth Skin->Set Maximum Influences, open the settings window, set it to 4 and hit “Apply”. This option may be fixing this error but it partly ruins some of your painted weights and therefore you will have to go and adjust them!
    (Option C’) -> this is the most recommended option to use, since the other 2 options may be fixing this error but they do not guarantee that it will not occur again depending on how you paint your skin weights. This is a custom method based on the known “Process Of Elimination” and it is named “Method Of Elimination” by me. It does not ruin any weights at all but can be quite tricky to be used. This Method, as well as what the “Process Of Elimination” basically is, will all be covered in the section below!

*[METHOD OF ELIMINATION]:

  1. The process of elimination is a method to identify an entity of interest among several ones by excluding all other entities.
  2. The method of elimination is a method based on the process of elimination that i use to troubleshoot a particular Autodesk Maya error. This method is described from Step 3. and beyond.
  3. What you basically need to do here is identify these vertices that have the issue and you will try to do this by excluding vertices of the Model and constantly minimising the area that seems to be having the issue. So before proceeding with it, save your Maya Scene not to lose any progress.
  4. Go in “Paint Skin Weights Mode”, select a joint influence (any one would do) and set the paint value to 1 (max). In Vertex Selection Mode” (F9) now, select only half the Model vertices (from the waste and below or the opposite, generally 50% of the overall Model vertices) and use the “Flood” option included in the “Paint Skin Weights Tool”. After you do that, go in Object Mode, select just the Mesh and try to export it as “League of Legends – export skin”.
    -In case the export succeeds, then you know that the vertices you are looking for are somewhere in the part of the model you had selected. So, what you do now is go and reopen your Maya Scene without saving it first (very important). Once open, you go and basically do the same but this time you select only half of the previously selected Model vertices (25% of the overall Model vertices), flood with a value of 1 and try to export again. You repeat this step of excluding vertices until you finally find the ones that have the issue (being influenced by more than 4 joints).
    -In case the export fails and you only see the same error message, then you know that the vertices you are looking for are somewhere in the part of the model you didn’t have selected. So, what you do now is go and reopen your Maya Scene without saving it first (very important). Once open, you go and basically do the same but this time you select only half of the previously not selected Model vertices (25% of the overall Model vertices), flood with a value of 1 and try to export again. You repeat this step of excluding vertices until you finally find the ones that have the issue (being influenced by more than 4 joints).
  5. In general, if an export succeeds, you open again your maya scene without saving before closing it, select half the vertices of the previously selected area, flood them with a value of 1 and try to export. On the other hand, if an export fails, then you go and open again your maya scene without saving before closing it, select half the vertices of the previously non selected area, flood them with a value of 1 and try to export. Depending on whether the export succeeds or fails, you repeat these steps until you finally find the vertices painted incorrectly.
  6. Once identified, you reopen your maya scene and go paint just these vertices with a value of 1 over the joint influence you find appropriate (and other joints too as long as it’s not more than 4). You are all set!

 

For any questions regarding the entire procedure of custom skin making, feel free to ask in the comments section below. I will only be answering serious and thematically related questions ASAP. Dropping a Like to this post would really be appreciated and support me to make such stuff in the future! 🙂

I wish you all Good Luck once more and i look forward to seeing many new great custom skins coming in the future!

Disclaimer: The MapSkins editors are not responsible for this guide, and while we strongly believe this guide may help you, we also encourage you to take a look on other guides if you need further instructions on related topics on how to create custom skins:
Intro to Skin Creation by Yurixy
Intro to Model Creation by Crauzer
Intro to defining different materials of a Model by Crauzer
Intro to idle Particles by Crauzer

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14 Comments »

  1. Is there any way to bypass the max influence count? I made a skin, but in order to reach maximum allowed, I’d have to remove major influences that I’d rather keep

    Like

    • Also, how would I remove a specific influence all together? Clearing it’s weights and using “Remove Unused Influences” doesn’t seem to work

      Like

      • Lastly, is there a way to reduce max influences without destroying the weights? I’d like to keep the rigging as close to the base rigging as possible

        Like

        • (1) Bypass max influence count?… If you mean sth like allowing more than 4 influences to be used, i dont know of a way to make this possible and i dont know if your skin would work either.
          (2) You can easily remove an influence by many ways like painting the vertices with max value over a different bone influence, select vertices and flood them with a value of 0 or remove the influence of a bone entirely with the corresponding option (skin->edit smooth skin->remove influence). Also, make sure your settings are set correctly.
          (3) Not that i know of, if you change the number of max influences, some of your weights will be most likely different. I suggest u save the maya scene you have there as a new one and work on this new from now on. Also, remember that you can get the animation results u want by both painting weights and adjusting the faces of the model.

          Like

  2. Which Maya do i download cuz there is a ton and it looks sketchy so I dont want a virus, so do you have a link to download it ?

    Like

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