Principles behind Duik
A professional tool set
Duik is a professional tool set aimed at skilled riggers and animators. It’s also useful for professional compositors and more generally for all people having enough experience with After Effects.
Although its goal is to ease the rigging and animation process and it comes with a lot of automated tools, it always lets you customize the way it works and gives you access to all low-level tools used within higher level features like auto-rigs. That means you can do anything you’d like with Duik, as it is very comprehensive. You’re not limited to the use of automatic processes and auto-rigs.
Most of the tools are very similar to what you can find in any advanced rigged character animation software, mostly in 3D, like Blender, Maxon Cinema 4D or Autodesk Maya. A skilled 3D rigger will quickly learn how to use Duik. A beginner learning Duik will know also the basics of 3D rigging. Duik can be a good start to learn character rigging and animation, as 2D is a bit less complex than 3D, before learning advanced 3D rigging in Blender, Maya or Cinema 4D.
Duik is not meant to be quick to learn; it’s meant to be efficient and quick for the people who know how to rig or animate a character.
Unobtrusive, non-blocking and extensible
Duik is just a tool set for After Effects. Everything Duik does could be done manually in After Effects, except much slower. This means a character rigged with Duik can still be animated with any instance of After Effects, even if Duik is not installed. This also means that if you have in-depth knowledge of After Effects, you can easily customize the way Duik works and adjust the effects and expressions it creates.
Duik will never force you into a predefined workflow, it won’t impose its way of doing things. More than that, Duik gives you the tools you need to extend or modify it.
- Lots of settings and options: each time there are different ways of doing things, Duik uses the most common or useful default option, but always expose a way to change it and lets you customize the tools.
- Easy-to-use but comprehensive application programming interface (API): Duik comes with a complete API to integrate it into your custom pipeline and build your own auto-rigs and tools.
- Open source: if you know how to code, you can customize Duik to your needs, or contribute to the development.
The user interface of Duik is meant to be small and unobtrusive. It must let you focus on your job and be discreet. To achieve this goal, it’s as small as possible while staying intuitive, user-friendly and quick to use. It’s also meant to blend as much as possible into the User Interface of After Effects, instead of standing out.
Should I use Duik?
Rigging - no matter what software you use - is a complicated subject that requires advanced knowledge of both character animation, the software you are using to do the rigging, and, ideally a good undersanding of anatomy.
Before using Duik to create and animate character rigs, you should master:
- General basics of animation, including character animation (body mechanics, acting, walk cycles, etc.), and basic anatomy.
- After Effects animation tools: keyframe types, interpolations, graph editor…
- After Effects rigging tools: parenting, the basics about expressions, the puppet tool if you plan to use it…
Do NOT try to learn both After Effects and Duik together. For example, it is NOT a good idea to try to rig a character with a combination of Duik and the puppet tool if you do not perfectly understand how the puppet tool itself works.
A complete book about animation and rigging techniques in general is being written by Duduf and will be available… One day or another.