How can we improve Maya?

Implement a PSD (Pose Space Deformer)

A good working PSD would be so incredibly useful! Most of the big companies have their own, but the rest of us are stuck with Comet's old and not very intuitive one.

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Calon shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

A complete Pose Space Deformation toolset has been implemented in Maya 2016 Extension 2. Using our new Pose Editor, you can now make edits directly on skinned characters (using transform and sculpting tools) based on their poses.

Plus, we rewrote Maya’s blendshape node to support pretty much everything else that’s been requested in the comments. You can now make edits/corrections/enhancements on skinned meshes in Maya using our new blendshape features. Need to make corrections to an Alembic cache? No problem – using our newly designed Shape Editor, create a post-deformation blend shape deformer and add tangent space targets. Need to edit a skinned mesh? No problem – create a pre or post-deformation blend shape, add regular targets or tangent space targets and edit with transform and sculpting tools.

We also added layer-based sculpting tools to this latest release, including Smooth Target Tool (smooth only the deltas for a single blend shape target – similar to Mudbox’ Smooth all layers option on the Smooth Tool), Mask Target Tool and Erase Target Tool.

There’s a ton to check out in the area of Shape Authoring (blendshape deformer, PSD and sculpting improvements), so start by watching this video:

Closing this entry as Completed. Thank you for the suggestion and thanks to everyone else who voted on this (you can now use your votes elsewhere).


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  • syuen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Try take a look at Morph from the SOuP plugins. Its free.

    From the page, scroll down below to see the Morph plugin and the Shot model toolset (based on Morph) that comes with the plugin as well. It does what you want and a lot more. And the Morph is a "much" more efficient blend deformer compare to blendShape. It handles thousands of shapes much faster than what blendshape can. Has surface tangent mode, per target transform mode, front of chain or end of chain.. etc.

    These videos should help explain. This has been highly tested in production.

  • gerardvok commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Running into the need for tangent space blendshapes when trying to correct animated alembic meshes. Maya's Blendshapes dont work for this because the rely on the bind moving the verts so it can calculate the original position of the mesh verts to do the morph. Maya needs something much more useful. There should be a way to correct animated meshes that dont have an orig node (non changing worldspace vert positions to look up) Alembic vertex motion's worldspace changes every sample.. making standard maya blendshapes useless. This is really frustrating!!!

  • sandeepbetharia commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Hi guys,

    No need for anything special.
    We just need something to split Eular rotations into Yaw, Pitch and Roll.

    We use our company propriety plugin to do this, and this is the best thing to happen to rigging.

  • syuen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just reread my earlier response and have to correct something I said, RBF is not curve fitting, is curve interpolation.

    Seeing other's responses. Just want to comment, PSD is not corrective shapes. They are different things. One is just creating corrections on bad deformations and mostly in a shot context. Sometimes in the rig too, but not driven by any kind of high level interpolations. PSD is much more than that. It allows much higher quality deformations through very nice interpolated shape targets. As I mention below.

    @gerardvok - I have asked for AD to have a local space blendshape type deformer for a while. It would come in handy. Having designed and written one myself, to do all local space blend based on deriving local per vertex coordinates purely geometric based is tricky and has its limitations. If the degree of edge change in the target shape is more than 90 degree compare to the shape you are trying to correct, it can have artifacts.. not something easy to get around. If you use a transform to represent the target's space, like an elbow joint for an elbow corrective, that will help stabilize it. Its what Comet's poseDeformer does and its whats in SOuP's morph node. Anyway, I create the local space blendshape mainly for shot work purposes, basically sculpt on top of anything, rig, cache, sim...etc. But that is not a PSD.

  • Horganovski commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but as I understand it blendshapes in Maya are only worldspace if you choose that option when creating them, by default they are in local space. I've been working on a tool that allows you to create fix shapes on top of cached meshes, and it's all blend shape driven underneath - The 'big ear' example I do at the end will only work of course if the blend shape is local, not world space.

  • gerardvok commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    creating the coordinate system to drive/mix shapes is tricky but doable in maya currently, but its the worldspace blendshape approach that maya takes that causes blendshapes to fail. Create a blendshape that doesnt calculate in world space and you also allow it to be used for corrective sculpting over time.

    I believe that a decent and intuitive time based sculpting tool that can be applied over a bound and animated mesh - ie an animation clean up tool would be much more valuable, as its a final layer of fixes to an animated mesh that is not limited to coordinate systems or other driving factors - poses etc), and can be used for anything regardless of whether its rigged or not

    Check out this old tool from 2010 (unfortunately no longer available due to newer changes in blender code) Maya to blender for time based shape correction and back to maya. Simple and really effective. I used it way back when and it was pretty cool (apart from the wierd blender navigation)

    worth a look. Note nice brush tools and simple interface for keying, and artists ability to sculpt silhouette and other details easily. I found it able to add a lot more expression, squash and stretch etc into a character, with a very unrestricted level of shapingof mesh that would ordinarily be very difficult to add via rigging.

  • syuen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Actually no, its not like a SDK blendshape setup at all. If that was the case, you can do that right now. To be able to smoothly interpolate between as few poses as possible to create great, controlled, realistic deformation, its a much more complicated thing. Short version is, when people talk about PSD, they are refering to JP Lewis siggraph paper on Pose Space Deformation. That was the start of it all.

    The idea is pose interpolation are calculated using Radial Basis Function. Its a form of curve fitting that allows an ultra smooth interpolation to be fitted among all poses in an n-dimensional pose space. The driver side is also important. How accurate is it to drive your poses. Rotations are tricky for example. In short, it is much much more than a set driven key blendshape. For example, you will notice however you tweak your sdk curve, you will get wobbles in your interpolation as shapes getting dialed in and out.

  • erpy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    sorry, but wouldn't it be similar to a Set Driven Keyed Blend Shape deformer !? Alright it must have the same number of vertices...but still, not THAT complicated.
    The nice thing would be to automate the sculpting process, like: go to the next pose -> sculpt, or in the middle where you have no key shape, start sculpting and it adds a new source shape automatically and includes it in the blend queue.
    Plus some options here and there to decide/fade/paint influence, paint blend weight or mix/switch multiple Drivers.

  • syuen commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Just to chime in. No, a good PSD system is not easy to do. Don't under estimate that.

    Since this is "under review" now so its great autodesk is considering doing this! Great!.. I have to be honest here since one of the commenter mention this. Please do not just try to integrate or consider Joe's lipservice / Lbrush as an alternative and that is it. I have used lbrush, and I have designed and implement PSD solutions before, Lbrush is far from ideal in a real production environment. Just a Big warning on this! I am glad AD might consider doing this, but I strongly advice to not just plop Lbrush in there or approach this solution in that way. Thanks!

  • danjay commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I agree, it seems like this would be a fairly simple thing to implement, yet it would go a long way in making characters more realistic and believable.

  • mehmed commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Agree on PSD. That plus Kickstandlabs' legendary volume preservation tool "Stretchmesh" which went open source, would be a killer feature. Coupled with the new heat mesh binding in v2013, all skinning problems would practically be eliminated.

  • loudnoises commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This would be nice. As with a few suggestions this could be solved by intergrating Joe Alters Lipservice/Lbrush plugin as standard as happened with Comet Muscle.

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