All in all I wanted to dive more into it and discover its pros and cons. Here are my first thoughts about Maya Muscle and my work in progress Maya Muscle study. (Model: Nick Zuccarello)
Using Maya Muscle
A short comparison of skinning and muscle deformations.
Issues & Ideas
As soon as you enable skinsliding the performance of your rig will become drasticly slow. Since this moment Maya tended to crash. I suggest to paint the skinsliding weights in the final tweaking and only enable it for playblasting.
- Painting weights
You can not block out your weights by using the component editor when you want to do muscle weights. Because of that I first painted little weights and slowly added more influences for the muscleshapes.
You replace the muscle weights with the original skinweights. Since you can not lock influences I made sure not to use smoothing and replacing by zero too often and always double checked.
You can mirror the individual weights. Maya Muscle is picky about the namingconvention so make sure everything is named properly. What helped me a lot was pruning the weights before mirroring them.
- Custom muscleshapes
You can create individual custom muscleshapes for squash and stretch. What you can not do is mirroring those.
What do you need when you want to try out Maya Muscle? Time and patience.
Do as much research as you can. Look up your anatomy book and improve your knowledge about anatomy and the body in motion.
Be patient when you first use Maya Muscle. Do not start with a whole character, create a few simple shapes, get a feeling for painting the weights and always use a test animation to tweak values.
- Use of a displacement map to show muscle tension
- Consider using corrective Blendshapes
- Building more anatomically correct muscles and bones
- test out "self / multi collision" in the muscle tab (looks great but slow performance)