How to make an IK driven character using the DuIK auto-rigger

How to make an IK driven character using the DuIK auto-rigger?

Hello and welcome to Just the Facts,  a new tutorial series from e→d films where we keep it short and simple.

A prerequisite for this lesson is that you already have a working knowledge of After Effects. You should know your way around the interface and should know how to install and access plugins and scripts. So let’s get started.

Today we’re going to teach you how to make an IK driven character using the DuIK auto-rigging tools. Our puppet was made in a paper cutout style in Photoshop, we made each piece as a seperate layer.

One thing to keep in mind is that the auto-rigger doesn’t work on 3D characters, meaning characters that are 3D in After Effects space, so all the 3D switches on this character have been turned off.

Step 1:

    This one’s easy. Import your character. You want to have it set to retain layer sizes.

Step 2:

    Rename your joints or bone layers correctly.

Now it’s time to talk about naming conventions. You don’t have to name your layers properly, but if you do it will make things go a lot quicker later on.

We will start with the prefix, 
if the bone you’re renaming in a symmetrical bone like it’s the left or right arm, you’re going to want to start it with the letter L or R and then underscore.


If it is not a symmetrical bone, such as the neck or pelvis then just leave out the prefix and start with the name.

There are specific bone names that will quickly drop into the auto-rigger. They inform you what those names are as you’re going through the rigging process, but we’ll leave them right up here for reference.

    femur, thigh
    tibia, fibula, calf, knee
    foot, tarsus

    shoulder blade, clavicle
    arm, humerus, shoulder
    forearm, elbow, ulna, radius
    palm, hand, carpus
    fingers, claws, hoof

    spine, torso, chest, thorax
    hips, pelvis, abdomen

Now for the suffix. Not every bone will need a suffix but if you have bones that are in a series, for example for the spine you’re going to want to put an underscore ( _ ) and then the number.


An example of a layer named properly would be

Step 3:

    Adjusting the anchor points.

Now we’re going to move the anchor points on the bone layers to where we want them to bend. For instance the shoulders, the elbows, the knees, or the ankles. You can do that easily by using the Pan Behind tool the hotkey for that is Y.

Once all your bone layers have all their anchors in the right place you can move on to the next step.

Step 4:

    Parent all your non-bone layers.

You want to parent the non-bone layers to the bone layers they are going to be hanging off of.

Step 5:

    Create the rig

You are going to want to start by selecting all of the bone layers. This is an important step because otherwise the auto-rigger won’t know which layers you want to use.

With everything selected you can go into DUIK, then pick the auto-rigger, we’re going to go with plantigrade because we’re doing a regular human and then click full character. Now as you can see if everything was named correctly it should automatically populate these lists with the bones that we chose. Click through all the screens and just make sure the information is correct. You will want to make sure that your spine or torso layers are in the right order and the diagram on the left is a good reference for that. If you are not using a tale make sure that it is set to none, and then you click OK.

Now you’re done! Now you have a rig!

Step 6:

    Test your rig

Before you are totally finished, you’re going to want to make sure everything’s working. If you play with the hip controller and notice that the knees are bending backwards that’s an easy fix. You just go to your effects panel and then you check the box for Clockwise in the IK system, and then they flip back the right way. Once you’ve made sure that everything is working, you’re done. You can now animated your rig.