DUIK Tools helps in easing down the process of animation in After Effects with its easy to use features like Bones, IK and Auto-Rig. DUIK tools provides us the power of animating objects and characters in After Effects using Inverse Kinematics and Bones. It provides us with bone controllers for separate parts of the characters and we can reproduce the exact 3D Program like methods for skinning and rigging of characters in After Effects. DUIK tools also helps us with an IK controller at the end of an arm, or a leg. Now one can animate the entire limb by just modifying the postion of the hand or the foot. But before starting the lesson we will learn how to download and install the DUIK tool that we are going to use to rig our character.
01 In order to download the free DUIK tools script type in 'duduf.net' in your internet browser's address bar and hit enter. Click on the DUIK: Rigging and Animation link provided on the website's home page and download the Free Script from the page that opens.
02 Once its downloaded copy all the java script contents of the folder and paste it inside the ScriptUI Panels folder which is usually inside the default After Effects Scripts folder, C:\Program Files\Adobe\Adobe After Effects CS6\Support Files\Scripts\ScriptUI Panels.
03 Fire up After Effects and inside the General Preferences menu under the Edit menu enable, 'Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network' option in order to allow the 3rd Party Scripts and Plugins to work properly inside After Effects.
04 Now in order to access the DUIK tools open up the 'Windows' menu on the main toolbar and select DUIK from the drop down. A separate window for the plug-in will popup which can be docked onto any part of the After Effects interface.
05 Finally we are ready to start rigging our character using the Auto Rig feature of the DUIK tools. The Auto Rig feature in DUIK tools is based on actual layer names. We can only use the Auto Rig tool feature directly if we have an appropriate number of layers with similar names as of the options of the Auto Rig tool menu. But in this case we are having only one layer for multiple pieces, which forces us to use the puppet tool.
06 As we have already a layer for the head we will continue with dividing the parts for the body layer. If we look inside the Auto Rig tools menu we will find that we need a neck and a pelvis to complete the pieces for upper body. So all we need to do is to put two puppet points in the body layer.
07 Now we will convert the Puppet Pin Points into Bones with the help of Bones button on the DUIK toolbar. This actually creates a Null object onto the Puppet Pin Point which acts as its controller. Rename them according to the parts of the body that they represent like in this case Neck and Pelvis.
08 Similarly we will proceed with the left arm of the character and divide it into four separate parts as required by the auto rig feature with the help of puppet pins. We will further create bone controllers for the same with the names corresponding to the parts of the arm. Like 'L Arm' for the upper part of the arm, 'L Forearm' for the lower part of the arm, 'L Hand' for the hand and 'L Fingers' for the fingers.
09 Once we are done with the left arm we will repeat the same procedure with the right arm and two legs of the character. After completing the skinning process we will proceed further and hit the Auto Rig button on the DUIK toolbar. Make sure that we have not selected any layer while we hit the Auto Rig button. And as we have labeled the bones correctly, they all fits into their respective slots in the Auto Rig option window. Press OK on the window to complete the rigging process.
10 The auto rig might lead to some distortion in any of the limbs of the character like the left hand of the character in this case. So in order to correct it we will select the 'C_L Hand' layer controller that got created because of auto rigging, and disable the 'IK Orientation' check box. Similarly select the 'C_L Foot' and disable the 'IK Orientation' check box in its effects control window as well.
11 After finishing the Auto rig process we are left with the bones of Fingers and Toes of the character. So in order to link them to the IK controller we will parent them with their predecessor controllers, like L Finger to L Hand and R Toe to R Foot.
12 Next and the last step will be to rig the eyes of the character. Select and duplicate the Eye Ball layers (Left Eye Ball and Right Eye Ball) and place them over the Pupil Layers. Select the Pupil Layers one by one and inside the TrkMat options select Alpha Matte which will make the pupils to mask in case they move outside of the Eye Ball layers. And in order to make the Pupils move together we will parent them to a new Null object.