To control skin weights with more precision than shown in the lesson, you can modify skin weights numerically with the Component Editor. If you smooth skin multiple surfaces which have been seamed together, there are many tool settings for the Paint Skin Weights Tool that make the task easier.
Another common use of an influence object is to simulate a muscle bulging during joint rotation. The technique requires use of Set Driven Key to link the bulging influence object’s scale values to the rotation of the appropriate joint. A brief example of this technique is provided in the Maya Help for Smooth Skin.
Skin weights and influence objects cannot overcome all modeling problems. For instance, if you further separate Jackie’s legs sideways, you will see an undesirable fold at the hips. This occurs because of the asymmetrical arrangement of polygonal edges in the hip region of the original model. To fix the problem, you would need to detach the skin, alter the original model, then smooth bind the model again.
Maya has an alternative skinning method, rigid skinning, which gives results similar to smooth skinning but requires use of different enhancement tools: flexor and lattice deformers. In general, smooth skinning gives more natural deformations with less effort than rigid skinning. If you skin multiple seamed surfaces, however, processing is faster with rigid skinning than with smooth skinning.
Smooth skinning is just one of the techniques for perfecting a character’s deformations during animation. You can use Maya’s other deformers alone or in addition to smooth skinning to achieve the results you want.