Weight Painting Sub-Surfed Mesh


When weight painting for armatures, does it make a difference if the Mesh’s Sub-Surf Modifier is APPLIED so that it’s real vertices are already subsurfed?

I have a few flexing issues with my organic actor, and I’ve always just left the Sub-Surf modifier unapplied in previous projects that involved simpler actors (robots, a talking Fish)

So my question can also be re-phrased as: Should Sub-Surf Modifier be APPLIED before weight-painting?


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Well, do you want to paint the weights of all those polygons? When subdivided things can get pretty high on the poly count. If your machine can handle it and you feel the need, yes apply sub-surf. I would just paint on the low poly cage though.

I see… I did notice that if I pressed APPLY after weight painting…the new vertices were not painted.

It sort of left me a bit preplexed because it seems that when it is left unapplied, the low-poly cage is able to move the sub-surfed version of the mesh after weight painting.

So I was wondering if it really makes a difference to paint over the high poly applied mesh or if I’m supposed to work with the low-poly one.

Perhaps a better compromise is to manually subdivide (W-key) in the hip area and still leave subsurf unapplied.

I faced a similar question earlier in my character model development, found that it’s better to leave the subsurf modifier for render-time only (un-applied). Subsurf is great for “finishing off” a lower-poly cage for final rendering, but once applied can be tough to work with in many areas, not just weight painting.

Careful manual subdivision can improve a model’s deformation characteristics significantly, and can be focused on problem areas. I’ve found that if you get your deformations looking good without subsurf, they’ll work just fine when rendered with the modifier.

If an area is in doubt, use the display option buttons to inspect the deformation with & without subsurf. After a while you’ll get better at seeing what needs to be done with the base cage to get the subsurfed mesh looking right.

Also note that it is important where your armature is on the modifier stack before or after the subsurf. I found that if you have the armature befor the subsurf (hope I remember this correctly so try both ways) then the subsurf will be used on the deformed mesh and will result in nicer deformations.

The modifiers have priorities?!?

Now that’s news to me!
Thanks… I’ll try it out!

It’s logical – they couldn’t (and in many cases shouldn’t) all be applied simultaneously. The order is based on the order of the modifier stack, topmost being applied first, others in descending order. Sometimes it makes little difference what the order is, in other cases it’s critical.

Just to show you what I mean. The first attachement shows a test character from me with the armature modifier before subsurf. The second image shows the same pose with the armature modifier after subsurf.


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