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What do you use to skin/weight your models?

I'm having a problem in both Max and Maya with smoothing the weights. How do you smooth a weight properly between 4 or more bones?

In Max I use the 'Smooth Weights' paint tool, but it does not smooth evenly between all the influences, it seems to have a preference to giving the most influence to the currently selected bone so you have to ping-pong between multiple bones smoothing each time you select a new bone. Also, Max loves to suddenly balloon out the weights, going beyond 100% and breaking it completely. Wat.

Maya on the other hand doesn't go beyond 100% influence which is nice, but it still seems to favor the current selected bones and not giving a desirable result.

I'm considering using XSI as my main program to skin with because it seems to be the only one where the 'smooth' feature actually smooths evenly between ALL bones that the vert is being influenced by. Does anyone else seem to have this problem or is it just me?
use a softer weight brush, like 0.1 for weight paint. And weight everything to root and skin everything bellow to 100 influence and work your way out the chains.
May have to go in and manually dial in some of those verts breh
be methodical in your weighting, if you need to weight a set of vertices on 4 bones, weight it on the 2 that are most important at first, then the next, then the last
Sounds good.

Is there a way to 'shift' the weights in Maya like in Max? IE in max when you open the weight tool there's a + button you can push to increase the weight of the selected vert to the selected bone by a percentage.
I can't seem to find a similiar feature to this in Maya apart from going into the Componant Editor and manually typing in a weight value but that seems a bit finnicky compared to Max. Am I missing an easier way to shift them on the per vert level and not using paint brushes?

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