Blender 2.8 - Stir the Vertex Group Soup

What about Vertex Groups?

Usable in many Modifiers, particles, physics. VG are crucial to specify MeshDeform-Modifier and to get more precise deformations from Armature modifiers (comparing to boundary based skinning).
Vertex Groups are a key concept.

Now the point:
every Vertex Group from every modifier for every purpose is maintained in the same place. So, happy times if you like to normalize a mask modifier’s VG with other VG’s used by Armature Modifier. I vividly remember, how dangerous weight operators could be, which affect many VG’s at once. Correcting a Mesh Deform Modifier’s VG erased large areas from Armature VB’s, forcing me to reskin whole section and loosing time.

Different Modifiers sharing same place for Vertex Groups with different purposes. Could be somewhat dangerous, since we do have operators which could change many VG’s at once.

Vertex Groups could be protected. With VG locking. So you have to do some lock/unlock, to prevent yourself from shooting into your own foot. With many VG’s, this could be tedious and prone to errors. Conquering usability.

Maybe some people love to have everything on a large pile? Honestly, I do not like playing minesweeper with Vertex Groups. And I like to share a question with others, who feel similar about it.
Might there be a less tedious way to prevent artists from shooting into their own foot?
You have an idea how you would tame Vertex Groups?

My idea …

Many of these problems occour, because many different Vertex Groups with very different purposes are maintained on the same place.

What if we maintain Vertex Groups in different VG sets? Sets should ensure, that operators are limited to a group of VG’s they are supposed to manipulate. Leaving other VG’s, who are not supposed to be changed.


I think in 2.8 there will also be some new Face group now !

happy bl

Hi Ricky.
Not sure how to use Face-Maps atm. How do Face-Maps solve the described problem with Vertex Groups?

There is a simple solution.
You want to modify a vertex group already used by a modifier for the use of another modifier :
Create a copy.

You can copy a protected group and rename it with the name of the modifier.
2 different uses = 2 different weight groups
It is just a matter of being rigorous.
You can keep prefix or suffix in name and use filters in vertex group list.

When “everything nodes” will be in place, you will be able to modify weight groups with nodes and plug them as you want inside modifiers nodes.
But it will not change the fact that to preserve a vertex group and do a manual modification, creating a copy is equal in terms of usability than to create a sublevel of edition that complicates UI and depsgraph.

I just realized that I am not responding to asked problem which is dealing with multi-editing of VG.
Honestly, I avoid multi-editing for same reasons of a cumbersome management of protected groups.
Well in this case, I am not against VG sets that would just be UI tools to organize VG list and select VG to protect.
It can be faster than filters.

Hi zeauro.

In my own workflow I rely on normalizing. But I did some damage with auto normalizing. Or I forget to lock an important group.

Having one tool used for many things is actually better than having distinct tools for each task. It means you only have to learn one tool, and it mean that tools and tasks can be combined in interesting ways.

Huh … my mind walks alongside its sandals …
Could you please explain me how it relates to the described problem?

I’m saying that having a weight-painting mode for vertex groups that can be used for both bone weights and in a whole bunch of modifiers… and they can also be set in edit mode… is better than having two or three different tools for bones, modifiers, etc.

Having said that, having folders in the Vertex Groups panel in the mesh properties, so a whole rigsd worth of bone groups can be carefully hidden when I’m looking for the vertex group that does hair emission - that would be good.

Hi yogyog,
I agree, there is no need for different tools for different vertex groups.

We could agree, there need to be a mechanism to protect groups from unwanted changes.

Locking vertex groups works for small projects. For something more complicated, this could get tedious and error-prone. Unlocking ‘every’ VG is dangerous, because it does treat everything the same, renders away any protection.

Mh … your idea of folders for Vertex Groups would work.

I think this is a good idea. Once an object is skinned with potentially dozens/hundreds of VGs, and you start adding other VGs for modifiers to work on, it can become cluttered.

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I think so, too.

As long as we do simple tasks, we could lock VGroups by hand. On bigger projects, VGroup locking itself could distract from workflow. If most VGroups are outside the small view (in Properties Editor), we have to scroll to check, whether all ‘vulnerable’ VGroups are protected.

Drawers would protect from distractions or accidents. It give back attention to creating.