Skinning is the process of binding a modeled surface to a skeleton. You can bind any model to its skeleton using skinning, or you can model over a pre-existing skeleton to create its skin. When a model is bound to a skeleton using skinning, it then follows or reacts to the transformations of the skeleton’s joints and bones. For example, if you bind a model’s arm to its underlying skeleton using skinning, rotating the elbow joints causes the skin at the elbow to crease and pucker.
There are three types of skinning in Autodesk® Maya®: smooth skinning, rigid skinning, and indirect skinning.
With smooth skinning, you can create smooth, articulated deformation effects. Smooth skinning specifies that multiple joints and other influence objects can have varying influences on the same points (CVs, vertices, or lattice points) on a model. For more information on smooth skinning, see Smooth skinning.
With indirect skinning, you can bind lattice or wrap deformers as skins to a skeleton. When a character is indirectly skinned, posing its skeleton causes the bound deformers to transform the model’s skin. For more information on indirect skinning, see Lattice deformer and Wrap deformer.