Character skinning made easy

ngSkinTools is a skinning plugin for Autodesk® Maya®, introducing new concepts to character skinning such as layers, any-pose-mirroring, enhanced paint brushes, true smoothing, and more.



Skinning layers are a central feature of ngSkinTools. With them, you break your rig down into easier manageable parts and edit them separately, then blend everything together through layer transparency.

They’re not just a simple way to make your work more organized - they also physically isolate groups of influences from the rest of the rig, so paint and edit operations won’t mix-in influences you were not expecting. This also allows you do things that were impossible before: per-layer mirroring, adjusting influence weight up/down through layer transparency, blend transferred weights with previous weights, to name a few.



You won’t need to go to T-pose again when going through paint+mirror cycle, you can mirror in any pose now. There’s also a much greater control over what influences mirror onto which one: associating left-right influences by name without prefix, manual association overrides, etc. Mirroring is also layer-friendly, so you can mirror just the parts of your model you’re currently working on - very helpful, when you want to keep other parts of your rig intact.



ngSkinTools has its own set of paint tools, which are capable of working on a per-layer basis. Each tool maintains its own intensity, which is handy when toggling between smooth and replace through shift-modifier. Smooth is completely redesigned and you’re going to just love it.



The new smooth brush gives much better results, as it operates on all influences of a vertex at once. For even greater control, the more precise “relax weights” tool is there, which also can smooth across mesh boundaries and thin meshes.



ngSkinTools operate on standard Maya skinCluster (also known as “smooth skin”), so no custom nodes will be required to use your rig. Plugin has a couple of custom nodes, but they’re only required until the rig is complete, and can be deleted after, so your work should stay compatible with most pipelines out there.



All of the computing-intensive operations are being handled by a C++ plugin, and are being constantly tested on high-resolution meshes.

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About This Version

Version 1.2.2, 9/15/2016
1.2.2 (2016-Sep-11) •Critical fix: invalid skinCluster weights handling, introduced with 1.2.0 version; •OSX: fixed crashes when saving Maya 2017, 2016.5 scenes; •If skin was bound with “Colorize skeleton”, mesh will use joint colors in paint mode; 1.2.0 (2016-Aug-28) •Upgrade to Maya 2017. A lot of rework for UI to support breaking changes in Maya API; •UI fixes for Maya 2016.5; •Version check should now work better with minor Maya upgrades; •Removing some joint colors for paint mode, to make wireframes a bit more visible; •Some internal data restructure, slight performance increase should be observed on larger meshes; •Bugfix: fixes to child layers order after import. 1.1.0 (2016-Jun-27) •Bugfix: import/export and skin transfer should now properly handle layer hierarchy; •“Display options” in Paint tab now allows switching between “colorized” view (previous default display mode for influence weights) and simple white-black gradient for just the current influence; •increased contrast for influence colors; •Added support for Maya 2016 symmetry selection; •Added some self-healing for invalid weight values: if for any reason (additive calculation error, wrong initial values in skin cluster) there are influence weights below 0.0 or above 1.0, they are capped back into 0..1 range during skinCluster weight calculation (which is happening most of the time interactively). 1.0.971 (2016-Jun-22) •Bugfix: if RLM_LICENSE environment variable was in form of “port@host”, it was impossible to proceed with license activation dialog. Changed it so that RLM_LICENSE environment variable is used only if it contains at least one valid local directory in it (RLM_LICENSE can have multiple entries, see http://www.reprisesoftware.com/RLM_Enduser.html). •Bugfix: “Plugin is up to date” message should not show up with each ngSkinTols restart anymore; 1.0.969 (2016-Jun-21) •Updates to license key handling: license activation now uses license key file. The file can be obtained automatically or requested via email - follow the activation wizzard for details. Current owners of license key will have to re-enter the key after the upgrade. •Bugfix: importing or duplicating layers used to create huge undo queue, consuming a lot of memory; •Bugfix: some ngSkinTools operations could crash Maya after being repeatedly called with invalid parameters; •Bugfix: ngSkinTools would crash when skinCluster has invalid weights values (vertex IDs that do not exist, invalid influence indexes); •Internal rework: simplified check-for-upgrade implementation.

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Customer Reviews

(6 reviews)


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  • Efficient & worth it
    Hazem Mahmoud | July 17, 2018 Verified Download (What's this?)

    It's a very good tool, more efficient than default Maya skinning tools , & it's very compatible with Maya skin cluster, it doesn't have the ugly defects of maya's default skinning issues like: messing up the weights if you don't lock each bone/joint you finish...etc.. It has some very excellent features that are not mentioned in the description (like smooth painting across different geometry shells, it gives better results than Maya's defaults)

    Only downside: I wish if it can highlight the joint we choose in the viewport -not just in the tool window- makes it easier to avoid confusion.

    It's available free for non-commercial usage, & pricing for individual artist &  another pricing if for a whole Studio.. latest version can be downloaded from it's main site.. At the end,, this is an excellent tool that will increase your work's quality, shorten your production time, make skinning a joy instead of long pain, worth each penny .

  • Great plugin
    Andrzej Kloc | December 16, 2017 Verified Download (What's this?)

    Amazing work!

  • Lifesaving tool
    Darrick Yee | September 03, 2017

    Any chance for Maya 2018 support sometime soon?

    Viktoras Makauskas (Publisher) | September 05, 2017

    Maya 2018 support should be there in just a few more days, working on it.

  • Tremendously competent plugin
    Henrik B | May 10, 2017 Verified Download (What's this?)

    My only regret is that I didn't find this plug years ago.

  • must have rigging tool
    Mathias Schreck | June 21, 2016 Verified Download (What's this?)

    thanks a lot

  • huge help in our pipeline
    Bernhard Haux | June 18, 2016 Verified Download (What's this?)

    ngskin has cut our time we spent on weights in half, and we're getting more precise control with layers. This swiss pocket knife for handling weights has saved us from a number of potential headaches.

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