iSkinDeform – Maya Mesh Deformer

While working on the Maya plugins iDisplace and iCollide I came across the idea for additional deformers. The maya bonus tools 2013 comes with the slide components tool, which allows to slide components over a surface during the modeling process while maintaining the shape (thanks to Steven Roselle for his awesome work). So the idea was to implement this as a deformer when working with animation. I have seen something similar at Chad Vernons site (which btw. is a great source for getting started with the maya API) in his showreel. He also has this sticky lips deformer demo on his site, something that I wanted to do for quite some time now. Since both deformers make use of a control object I thought about combining these two ideas into one deformer.

iSkinDeform is a deformer for Maya which allows to add skin sliding as well as skin attraction effects to a mesh. Skin sliding can be controlled through a control object and keeps the original mesh shape while deforming the vertices over the existing surface. Skin attraction can be useful for applying sticky effects to mesh like to the lips of a character.

iSkinDeform will be maintained for future versions of Maya as soon as they are available.

Supported Maya Versions (OSX, Windows x64 and Linux x64): 2012, 2013, 2013.5, 2014, 2015

Download iDeform Suite: iDeform



Just copy the plugin to your users plug-ins folder

  • i.e. /Users/USERNAME/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2014-x64/plug-ins

After loading the plugin from the Window -> Setting/Preferences -> Plug-in Manager, the plugin is available through the Animation Menu -> Create Deformers -> iDeform and Animation Menu -> Edit Deformers -> iSkinDeform.

Select an object as a controller, such as a locator, and your mesh object to deform and go to Animation Menu -> Create Deformers -> iDeform -> iSkinDeform Attract/Slide to create the deformer.


Only mesh objects are supported up to this point.



- Strength: General multiplier for the deformation effect.

- Radius: Defines the distance to the control object in which vertices are effected by the deformer.

- Falloff: Controls the strength of the deformation within the deformer radius.

- Attractor: Let’s you choose between the type of attractor. Choices are ‘Point’ (transforms) or ‘Curve’.

- Pinch: Controls if the affected vertices are moved along their normals or towards the influence object.

- Negative Clamp: This option disables any movement of vertices opposite their normal direction. This feature is beta only as it can lead to unexpected results dependent on the affected area. Must only be used with care.

- Curve Falloff: Controls the amount of influence in U direction when using a curve as a control object.

- Sliding: Switches from the ‘Attraction’ mode of the deformer to ‘Slide’ mode.

- Method: Defines how the position of the moved vertices is calculated. ‘Raycast’ is more accurate but can lead to more overlapping effects when using more extreme positions of the influence object, ‘ClosestPoint’ has less overlapping effects but can be less accurate.