Maya 2022 Falloffs Quick Look

It’s been a week since Autodesk released Maya 2022 and with it one of the biggest update to the Maya rigging tools in quite some time! There’s also some other great additions, but I’ve only focused on the rigging updates now. Or rather one part of it, the falloff/weightFunction system.

Jump to the fun part:
- Videos
- Falloffs Intro
- Falloff Nodes
- Control Proximity Bind
- Control skinCluster weights
- SkinCluster Transfer Between Meshes
- Remap SkinCluster Influence Weights
- Get Per-Vertex Values

Playing with this I made a couple of videos that I posted on Twitter to show what we could now do with this new system. I’ve collected some of those videos below in better quality. It’s a bit long as some of the clips are about a minute showing the whole process, but in general what’s being demonstrated is this:

  • 00:00 - Getting per-vertex data from a plane and driving the scaleY of cubes
  • 00:50 - Using the same primitive falloff to drive the weights of a cluster deforming two spheres with different resolutions
  • 01:14 - Using the falloff system to get verts to apply to a vertex extrude and face extrude node
  • 02:00 - Using the falloff system to determine the bind for a Proximity Wrap using joints as driver objects. And changing to completely new topology
  • 03:01 - Using the same falloff system as for the proximity wrap, but instead setting the weights for a skinCluster. Also showing how this works with different topology and export to Unreal.
  • 04:21 - Using the falloff system to transfer hand painted skinCluster weights from one geometry to another with different topology
  • 05:38 - Using the falloff system to transfer skinCluster weights and remap influences, combining the weighting for twist joints to the arm joint

Several people asked me to explain how I achieved my different results, so I’ve gone ahead and made some videos trying to explain the falloff system a bit and show how I’ve used it. Again, I’m just messing about with things here and got something to work, make sure to check the documentation and official guides/advice from Autodesk. Consider this a brain dump more than anything and I hope it can be useful to people. I’m just really excited about these new updates and want as many people as possible to play with them and start changing their mindset when it comes to rigging.

Also, apologies for the little audio glitches, seems like my microphone didn’t want to work nicely. If you’ve got any questions or comments feel free to reach out to me on Twitter or LinkedIn.

Don’t take this for the one and only truth. I’ve only been playing with this for a couple of days and still have a lot to learn and understand about this system. Make sure to read the official documentation and watch this great overview video from Autodesk.

Videos

See below for the videos I’ve recorded. You can find the files that I’m using here on my GitHub. I’ve included the start and end result of the files.

Falloffs Intro

This covers a bit of the falloff/weightFunction concept and show how we can use it with deformers.

Falloff Nodes

This covers some of the default falloffs and nodes you can use to play with the falloff system.

Control Proximity Bind

In Maya 2022 we can now bind a geometry to a skeleton using the Proximity Wrap. I didn’t see an obvious way of editing the weights this creates by default, so this is my attempt at showing how we can take control over the bind process.

Control skinCluster weights

Using the falloff system we can actually get weights for a normal skinCluster. This basically means that we can procedurally skin our characters, but still be able to export to a game engine like Unreal or Unity.

SkinCluster Transfer Between Meshes

Since the falloff system is designed to have the same weightFunctions across several meshes, we can use this to transfer our skinning from one geometry to another, live.

Remap SkinCluster Influence Weights

Using the previous techniques on how we can transfer a skinCluster we can extend this by combining the weightFunctions for several joints into one influence. This is very useful for when you need to get rid of twist/roll bones in a character and assign that weighting to a single joint.

Get Per-Vertex Values

This is a really fun one as we can use the falloff system to drive anything we want in Maya that accepts float values. Here I show how we can drive the scale of some cubes by getting the weight closest to it.