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Selecting bones in weight paint mode | Blender 4.0+

Written by Hayden Falzon author image Hayden Falzon

Published on Updated on
Reading time: 4 mins

The Solution

In Blender version 4.0+, the new way to select bones in weight paint mode is by using ctrl + shift + left-click shortcut rather than the older ctrl + click shortcut.

Example of rig in blender

How to access Weight Paint mode

I can access weight paint interaction mode in Blender via the top left dropdown menu in Blender’s 3D viewport while you have your object with weights selected.

But, just doing so, you will not gain access to the bone selection method of weight selection. Weight Paint mode in menu in blender

Accessing Weights with Selecting Bones

To also add the functionality of being able to select the bones while you are in weight paint mode, you will need to do a few things first.

  1. Select Bones
  2. Hold Shift Key, then select the mesh to add mesh to your selection as the active object.
  3. Access Weight Paint Mode.
  4. Switch to Bone Selection Mode in Top Left Corner
  5. Use Ctrl + Shift + Left Click to switch bone groups being edited.

There are more controls that can be used with this new update - but we will save that for another article. For now these should get you up and running.

Common Problems with Selection Vertex Groups

No weight paint mode

If you are not seeing weight paint mode in the list of interaction modes, there is one reason for this. That your current "Active" object is not an object that has weights (Armatures, cameras, lights, etc..). Be sure that your active object (denoted by the lighter outline) is the object with weights.

Even when your bones are selected, no weights appear

The most likely reason for this is that the bones do not match with any vertex groups. i.e. they are not named the same.


There is currently only 0 values assigned to the vertex groups of the weight you are currently editing.


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Why is it important to edit weights via bones?

It is important to select the current weights via the bones in Blender. Rather than navigating through a list of vertex groups. Here’s why:

  1. Direct Visual Feedback

When selecting weights directly via the bones, you get immediate visual feedback.

When you directly select weights via the bones, you receive immediate visual feedback as highlighted areas on the mesh influenced by that specific bone. This direct selection method allows for a more intuitive and efficient workflow, as artists can quickly identify and focus on the relevant parts of the character.

Personally, I will only use this method when rigging characters or if my mesh has an excessively high number of vertex groups that would be too long to search through manually.

  1. Streamlined Editing Process

Directly selecting weights via bones streamlines the editing process. Instead of searching through a list of vertex groups, artists can interact with the 3D viewport. Being able to select and adjust weights right in the viewport dynamically. This approach is helpful for artists who prefer a hands-on, visual editing experience.

  1. Contextual Editing

Selecting weights via bones ensures you are making adjustments in the skeletal structure. This focused editing allows for more precise control over deformations, especially when working on specific poses or animations where certain bones have a more prominent influence.

  1. Intuitive Navigation

Working directly with bones for weight editing aligns with the natural way animators think about character movement. It offers an intuitive and artist-friendly approach for adjusting weights based on the pose of the character's skeleton.

  1. Better Integration with Pose Mode

Blender’s Pose Mode becomes more seamless when you can select and edit weights directly via bones. This integration allows for a more fluid transition between setting up the rig and refining the weight distribution during the animation process.

Skeleton with a pose in Blender

You can also move the bones as if you were in pose mode - giving you a far better idea of if your weight edits are effective or not.

  1. Enhanced Control over Weighted Areas

Direct selection via bones enables fine-tuned adjustments to specific areas of the mesh influenced by a particular bone. This level of control is crucial for achieving precise deformations, especially in complex character animations.


The ability to select the current weights being edited via the bones provides a more intuitive and efficient workflow in Blender.

It allows artists to interact directly with the character’s skeletal structure, enhancing the overall control and responsiveness during the weight editing process.

Author Avatar

Hayden will tell everyone that he is not a programmer, game developer, educator, artist, 3D modeller or animator... instead, he tells people he is a storyteller.

Graduated from the Australian Film Television and Radio School (AFTRS) Bachelor, Hayden has been proactive in fostering a multidisciplinary outlook on digital storytelling across all of its mediums.