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Table of contents
  1. Paint Widgets
    1. Keyframing VertexFX
    2. Modifying Paint Values
    3. Reset and Flood
    4. Shortcuts
  2. Showcase
  3. FAQ

The VertexFX tool allows localized control of effects at the vertex level onto poly meshes. The tool is opened by clicking on the VFX shelf icon and shares the same window with the NoiseFX tool.

VertexFX tool window
VertexFX of the watercolor style.

Each Flair material (including proxies) supports VertexFX, but the effects driven by VertexFX depend on the loaded style. To paint VertexFX, select an object with a Flair material, click on the paint icon of the effect that you want to paint with and start painting.

From top to bottom, these are the different elements of the VertexFX tool.

View VertexFX

On the top-left, you will find an eye icon which toggles the parameter view. This will allow you to view the control parameters that you are currently painting.

On the top-right, you will find View vertices, a checkbox which allows to show the vertices underneath the brush where VertexFX are being applied to.

Brush types

The next row of icons allow you to set the brush stamp to use when painting the different effects.

Paint Widgets

Each style has different effects, therefore, the paint widgets (sections) will vary depending on the currently loaded style. Each widget handles a specific effect/behaviour within the style e.g., Lighting, Pigment turbulence, Color bleeding.

On the left side of each widget, you will always find a generalized term for the behaviour of each effect. This term also specifies the appearance of the effect icon which is shown as a Brush preview.

By clicking on the brush icon, you can quickly start painting the effect with the currently defined values on selected objects. Before going into more details on painting, let’s break down the widget.

Keyframing VertexFX

Underneath the brush icon, you will find three buttons, which will allow to animate VertexFX values.

Insert key on selected vertices

This button will key the painted values of selected vertices at the current frame, allowing to animate the painted effects.

Show timeline of selected vertices

This button will show the keyframes in the timeline of selected vertices/objects allowing you to adjust timing or delete keyframes of the painted effects. It will also show the keyframes in Maya’s Graph Editor.

Remove key on selected vertices

This button will remove the key of painted values from selected vertices at the current frame.

Keying of VertexFX requires the construction history of the vertex color sets and should be done with caution, as Maya stores the value of each vertex internally on adjacent faces. This means that, if you are keying one vertex with four values (RGBA), that is shared with four adjacent faces, you will be keying 16 values—for only one vertex. This escalates exponentially when keying objects with hundreds of vertices. Therefore, try to use proxies and animate them instead, whenever possible.

To keep complex scenes light, we recommend deleting Non-Deformer History (Edit->Delete by Type->Non-Deformer History_) whenever possible from objects whose VertexFX will not be animated.

Modifying Paint Values

To modify the painting values of each widget, you can use the radio buttons to quickly change between the two or more painting modes and adjust the vertical slider at the right of the widget to set the painting value/intensity. The painting value/intensity is specified underneath the vertical slider and can also be modified by manually entering the desired numerical value in the spin box.

By modifying a painting value, the tool will automatically change to painting mode, so there is no need to click on the painting icon anymore.

Reset and Flood

The painted values can be reset or flooded (added) on the selected objects/vertices. There are two buttons for this at the bottom of each widget. These buttons are useful when you need to assign a specific value to a lot of vertices in an object, be it to reset the VertexFX values or to add the effect evenly to the selected objects/components. Reset will put the values of the selected objects/vertices to zero (0) whereas flooding will add the numerical value set by the vertical slider or entered manually in the spin box.


  • b - press-and-hold b and click-and-drag with your left mouse button to reduce or increase the brush size.

  • q - press q to get our of the painting mode.


First we select the object we want to paint. Using the VertexFX tool, we accumulate the pigment and add color bleeding by painting. Afterwards, we flood the granulation effect with paint, then reset its values to flood dry-brush instead. At the end, we reset the dry-brush effect.

Using VertexFX on the selected object.


The scene size becomes too big after using VertexFX

This happens because Maya is not optimized to save a lot of data on vertices. Thankfully, in the globals node, you can define to separate the stylization of the scene and save it in a different file. The option Yes, save and replace will make your Maya scene lighter again.

Can I apply VertexFX on Nurbs or changing topology?

This is unfortunately not possible as nurbs don’t have vertices to save the painted effects onto.

Can I paint VertexFX on meshes with changing topology?

It is possible but not recommended. If you change the topology, the vertex count will also change so you may encounter unpredictable behaviors and even Maya crashes.