In a post on the Blender Studio Blog, resident character rigger Demeter Dzadik shares a new Shape Keys-based workflow in Blender 3.1, via his "Pose Shape Keys" addon. More specifically, his addon uses "CrazySpace", which was recently exposed in the python API, "to make changes to the rig and the weights while preserving the resulting corrective shapes."
Riggers rejoice! ?
— Blender Studio (@BlenderStudio_) February 10, 2022
The blog post goes pretty extensively into the possible workflows this addon enables, but here is a sample one outlined by Demeter:
Basic Workflow: Rig first, correct deformations later
- Save a pose whose deformation you want to correct (eg. Elbow Bend)
- Create a shape key and sculpt on it
- Save the resulting Beautiful Mesh
- Feel free to make modifications to the vertex weights, bone constraints, etc, to achieve better interpolation into the pose
- Re-apply the saved Beautiful Mesh, so the combination of your new weights and etc. still combine into the same final shape that you had before
Check out the full post for an overview of multiple new possible workflow, as well as a 20 minute walkthrough by Demeter going through the addon and how to use it on the link below: