The ramp weights node gives fast access to splitting blend shape targets or weighted deformers along any axis.
The split can be controlled by a number of attributes defining the split width and position which even can be used for animation effects. Each ramp weights node allows for controlling any number of deformers. The resulting deformer weights can be inverted, either globally or individually per output. For advanced control it’s possible to create a placement node or even use a custom control to refine the split.
When disconnecting the ramp weights node from a deformer or even deleting it you can choose between keeping the generated weights or discard them.
The ramp weights node also has a couple of presets to create centered or mirrored results which cater for a greater variety of effects.

Also included in the toolset is the weightsServer node which can control deformer weights dynamically through influence objects, such as transforms, curves or meshes, or with any standard Maya shading network. The radius and strength of each influence can either be controlled globally or per influence. Furthermore the weight server node can act as a link between skin cluster weights and deformer weights.

The open source release of the plug-ins is mainly to give easier access to the node without having to fully commit to using the blend shape editor SHAPES.

Important SHAPES Note:
The rampWeights node is also part of the SHAPES plug-in, our advanced blend shape editor for Maya. If you have the SHAPES Blend Shape Editor installed it’s not necessary to download this newer version of the plug-in.
Please see the section SHAPES Information below.

rampWeights and weightsServer are under the terms of the MIT License

 

Maya versions 2016.5, 2017, 2018, 2019 on macOS, Windows 64 bit, Linux 64 bit.

All files of the toolset are combined as a module. This allows for an easy installation and keeps all necessary files in one location.

To install run the installer for your platform and follow the instructions.

  • Linux: install_linux.desktop
  • macOS: install_macOS.command
  • Windows: install_win.bat

Depending on the type of chosen installation all files will be created and placed automatically. Also a log file will be created documenting the installation.

After the installation restart Maya. The default Deform menus of the main Maya menu bar should now contain the menu items Edit Ramp Weights and Edit Weights Server at the bottom.

When properly installed the default Deform menus of the main Maya menu bar contain the menu items Edit Ramp Weights and Edit Weights Server at the bottom.

All controls in the editors feature tooltips.
Select the nodes in the Attribute Editor to edit additional attributes which are not included in the editor.

Setup

  • Open the editor by choosing Main Menu > Deform > Edit Ramp Weights or Edit Weights Server.
  • Select the blend shape channel from the channel box or deformer which should be controlled.
    • Press the Add Node button at the top right of the editor.
    • The ramp weights or weights server node gets created and is set to be the current node in the editor in the drop-down list.
    • The deformer folder lists the connected blend shape channel or deformer.
    • The attribute folder shows the attributes of the selected ramp weights or weights server node.
  • Adjust the attributes to control the weighting effect.
  • (Weights Server only) Select a transform, curve or mesh as an influence object and press the Add Influence button in the influence folder of the editor.

Add Output

  • Select one or more blend shape channels by selecting these in the channel box or select one or more deformers.
  • Press the Add Deformer button at the bottom of the deformer folder.

Additional Options

  • RMB the ramp weights option menu to select the node or delete it. When deleting you can choose either to keep the generated weights or discard them.
  • RMB the name of the controlled deformer in the deformer folder to select the deformer.
  • Buttons for each deformer output (left to right):
    • Invert
    • Add Transform: Creates a locator which can be used to place the effect. RMB to connect a custom transform, disconnect or delete. When a transform is connected use this button to select it.
    • Disconnect and keeping the weights.
    • Disconnect and removing the weights.
    • Update components: When setting up a deformer to be controlled the affected components get copied to the ramp weights or weights server node. However, since the affected list of components can change either through removing components or editing blend shape targets the data set can become out of sync between the deformer and the weights controller. In this case it’s necessary to update the list of affected components.

  • Axis: The axis of the ramp controlling the weights.
  • Range Start: Start position of the blend along the current axis.
  • Range End: End position of the blend along the current axis.
  • Offset: Reposition the blending by shifting the start and end values.
  • Mirror: Mirror across the current axis. Range Start, Range End and Offset then control the ramp in positive axis direction which is mirrored to the negative axis direction.
  • Centered: Centers the midpoint of the ramp. Set Range Start to 0 and use Range End to control the width.
  • Clamp: Prevents the blend start to cross the symmetry axis when mirroring.
  • Invert: Invert the global weight values.
  • Use Transform: Set to on to have the transformation of the mesh affect the position the ramp. This automatically connects the mesh transform to the ramp weights node. Note: This automatic connection is not performed when toggling the state from the channel box.
  • Multiply: General scale value for the entire effect.

The rampWeights and weightsServer nodes were previously only part of the SHAPES blend shape editor, though available for free to provide distributable scenes without licensing ties. If you have SHAPES installed it’s not necessary to download this open source version of the plug-ins. Even though the feature set has changed slightly it doesn’t affect or improve the functionality of SHAPES. However, it is possible to replace the current version of the plug-in included with SHAPES with the updated version.
Starting with version 3.0.0 (the first open source release) the nodes handle the connected world matrix of the deformed mesh a bit differently than previous versions. This doesn’t affect meshes which are centered in the world.
For non-centered meshes please check the resulting effect.
The next version of SHAPES will include the updated version of the rampWeights node.

Version 4.0.0, updated 2019-08-14