No, updates to SHAPES are free of charge. You will receive an email notification once a new release is available. You can also check for a new version from the SHAPES menu.

Yes, all scenes created with SHAPES are fully compatible with each license model.

The SHAPES license allows you to install it on two computers but only one may be used at a time. If you have one installation running in your office it’s within the license grants that you have the second copy running at home, as long as you are the only one using both computers.

No, SHAPES is only needed when you want to create the rig/correctives. SHAPES only uses default Maya nodes to make the scene files compatible with other environments which don’t run a license of SHAPES.
An exception is the weight driver node and the ramp weights node. The weight driver is an vector angle based reader and RBF solver. Driving relationships for corrective shapes can be set up to either use standard set driven keys or the weight driver.
The ramp weights node controls the blend shape target weights.
The weight driver and ramp weights are separate nodes which are part of SHAPES but can also be downloaded for free to guarantee full compatibility.

The weight driver can either be used as a vector angle based reader node, much like the Michael Comet’s pose reader node or a RBF solver. It’s part of SHAPES but also available as a free node to allow scene compatibility with environments not running a license of SHAPES. Learn more about the weight driver node here.

The ramp weights node allows to control blend shape target weights interactively to create partial or split shapes. It’s part of SHAPES but also available as a free node to allow scene compatibility with environments not running a license of SHAPES.

If you have already installed SHAPES the weightDriver.zip and rampWeights.zip can be found in the install path of SHAPES, containing all plug-ins for the supported versions of Maya. You can also separately download the archive here.

SHAPES has been tested with various setups and rig configurations to make the process as easy and stable as possible. However, rigs can be build in a magnitude of ways and the possibilities are endless. Working with blend shapes in a complex rig can be very difficult, expecially when some requirements are not met. If you run into issues it’s quite possible that you scene contains information which hasn’t been forseen. Please contact us with a detailed description of your problem and the error as printed in the script editor of Maya. Also, usually it’s very helpful for us to be able to look at the scene. If you can’t share the scene file because of production regulations try to recreate the error with a simplified scene that you can share. The more information the better we can help you solve the issue.

The most probable reason for this is that SHAPES wasn’t able to correctly detect the symmetry center when order based mirror is used. You can check which edge is used for defining the symmetry center by going to the Preferences > Mirror Tab > Symmetry Center > Current: … and clicking on it. This highlights the edge used for mirroring. If the edge is not at the center of the mesh the mirroring is unable to produce the correct results.
It’s also possible that, even with the edge at the center, the mirroring still produces incorrect results. This usually can be solved by selecting a different edge and choosing Preferences > Mirror Tab > Symmetry Center > Set Edge.
As an alternative you can switch to position based mirroring by selecting Preferences > Mirror Tab > Position Based Mirror. Please also take a look at the User Guide – Mirror Type Basics for more information.

Since SHAPES basically only uses standard Maya functionality it usually doesn’t influence the stability of Maya. The only known problem can be the extensive use of undo during the work. SHAPES is known to have some issues with undo, especially versions prior SHAPES 3.0, because undo can cause differences between the scene state and what SHAPES displays in it’s window. These differences then lead to false interpretations by the user and unexpected results. It’s always a good practice to use undo as little as possible when working with SHAPES. Also, incremental scene saving is highly recommended, as it is with all kinds of work.