Wednesday, November 16th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Download the Maya 2017 Bonus Tools

Autodesk has updated the Maya Bonus Tools, its free collection of add-on scripts and plugins for Maya, adding a Weight Editor spreadsheet for character rigging, plus new modelling and display options.

The Bonus Tools provides a set of useful small features on an ‘as is’ basis, without active product support.

New Weight Editor spreadsheet and IK-rigging tool
Riggers get an interesting new Weight Editor, described as a “skinning-centric version of the Component Editor”, which you can see from 03:00 in the video above.

It displays a spreadsheet showing the skin weighting properties for each vertex of a character model, enabling users to fine-tune them on a per-vertex basis.

It’s currently Windows-only, but Autodesk says it is considering porting it to other platforms.

There is also a new Create IK Spline on Multiple Chains option, which generates IK rigs for multiple joint chains simultaneously: useful for characters with multiple tentacles or antennae, for example.

New curve-to-geometry tools
Modelers get new Curve to Ribbon Mesh and Curve to Tube Mesh tools, which convert NURBS curves to the corresponding geometry type, with options to control width, orientation, twist and taper.

There is also a new Cleanup Ribbon / Tube Mesh tool to clean up the geometry they generate.

New options for navigating display layers or node networks
Other changes include Compare Selected Display Layers, which enables users to toggle between objects on different display layers in the viewport by hitting a hotkey.

A new Navigate Graph option has also been added to the standard right-click marking menu, enabling users to navigate through the nodes in a scene from directly within the viewport.

In addition, a number of other tools have been updated, or ‘retired’ into the core software. You can read a full list of changes via the link below.

The Maya 2017 Bonus Tools are available free for Maya 2014 and above running on Windows, Mac OS X or Linux – despite the name, the installer actually works on earlier versions of the software.

Maya LT users also get their own version of the Bonus Tools, which works with Maya LT 2017, although at time of posting, it doesn’t actually contain any new tools.

Read a full list of new features in the Maya 2017 Bonus Tools
(Includes download link for the Maya 2017 tools)

Find tutorials for using the Bonus Tools on Autodesk’s blog
(Includes download link for the Maya LT bonus tools)