Skin Modifier

The Skin Modifier uses vertices and edges to create a skinned surface, using a per-vertex radius to better define the shape. The output is mostly quads, although some triangles will appear around intersections.

It is a quick way to generate base meshes for sculpting and/or smooth organic shapes with arbitrary topology.

Note

Faces in the original geometry are ignored by the Skin Modifier.

Options

../../../_images/modeling_modifiers_generate_skin_panel.jpg

Skin Modifier.

Create Armature

Create an armature on top of the object. Each edge becomes a bone.

Note

If the root vertex has more than one adjacent edge, an extra bone will be created to serve as the root.

This tool does the following:

  1. A new armature object is added with bones matching the input mesh. The active selection is switched to the new armature.
  2. Weight groups are added to the input mesh. The Skin Modifier propagates these weights to the output as well.
  3. An Armature Modifier is added directly below the Skin Modifier. Note that, the Armature Modifier is being applied after the Skin Modifier because it should only deform the output, whereas if it were above the Skin Modifier it might change the resulting topology.

Smoothing

Branch Smoothing
A branch point is a vertex with three or more connected edges. These areas tend to produce more complicated topology, some of which may overlap. The Branch Smoothing setting relaxes the surface around these points, with the side effect of shrinking the surface.
Smooth Shading
Output faces with smooth shading rather than flat shading. The smooth/flat shading of the input geometry is not preserved.

Selected Vertices

Mark/Clear Loose
By default, a branch vertex (vertex with three or more connected edges) will generate extra edge loops along adjacent edges in order to keep the output tight. Branches can be made loose by clicking Mark Loose, which will allow the output to stretch between all adjacent vertices. This can be disabled again by clicking Clear Loose with the vertex selected.
Mark Root

Marking a vertex as root causes that vertex to be used for calculating rotations for connected limbs. Root vertices also affect the armature output; they will be used as the origin for the root bones.

Roots are shown in the 3D View with a red dashed circle around the vertex.

Each set of connected vertices should have one root node. Mark Root enforces the one-root per set rule, so it is not necessary to manually unmark roots.

Equalize Radii
Makes the skin radii of selected vertices equal on each axis.

Symmetry Axes

The Symmetry Axes checkboxes are used to keep the output topology symmetrical in their respective axes. In other words, using it avoids merging triangles across an axis unless the triangles form a symmetric quad.

Note

These symmetry axes checkboxes do not add geometry flipped across an axis. For that, the Mirror Modifier should be used, typically placed above the Skin Modifier.

Usage

Add the Skin Modifier to a mesh. Disable Limit selection to visible in the 3D View so that you can see the vertices inside the new geometry. Ensure the modifier is enabled for display in Edit Mode (on by default).

The Skin Modifier uses ordinary vertices and edges as input. All of the regular Edit Mode tools (such as extrude, subdivide, grab, scale, and rotate) can be used when building a skinned mesh.

Skin Resize

The radii of input vertices can be individually scaled in Edit Mode to alter the thickness of the skin by pressing Ctrl-A. Non-uniform scaling of the X and Y axes is accessible by locking it with X or Y. The radius can also be adjusted in the Transform panel of the Properties region.

Examples

../../../_images/modeling_modifiers_generate_skin_example.png

Simple creature, made with only the Skin Modifier.

  1. In the modifiers menu, add a Skin Modifier.
  2. Tab into edit mode and start extruding.
  3. Try to sketch results similar to Fig. Simple creature, made with only the Skin Modifier., through extruding the vertices of the object.
  4. Use Ctrl-A to change the size of the different regions within the creature.
  5. Use Mark Loose at regions like the neck, to merge these faces more together.
  6. To get smoother results, activate Smooth Shading and add a Subdivision Surface.