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Issue with rotating tail for 3d model in Maya

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I've been stuck on this issue for a long time and it's been driving me crazy: I have this model of Jabba (see image 1) which I bought off of CG Trader several years back. I want the character to look exactly the same, but with the tail facing the opposite direction. Unfortunately, when I try to rotate the tail using the rotate tool from the base of the tail, the tail bends in a way where it doesn't look right (see image 2).

Here is a partial list of things I've tried:

-Rotating the spine instead of the tail

-Adding joints to the tail closer to the spine and rotating in a new axis of rotation

-painting skin weights for the joint and surrounding joints in every conceivable manner

-kind of fudging it using a tool called brsmoothweights

-messing with the attributes for tools to change rotational axes, position, etc.

-Recreating joints and re-rigging using IK handle

-flipping the model (setting x-axis = -1), I don't like this because the face is mirrored as well

None of these techniques have solved the problem, the weird bending persists. I also tried mirroring the mesh (see image 3), which looks right on one side but it leaves a Jabba with 2 tails. I'm not confident enough in my modeling abilities to go in and try to edit the mesh by like deleting vertices and stuff.

It seems like there should be an easy fix to this problem, but I'm just not seeing it. Anyone out there have any advice? It would be greatly appreciated!


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