This video is part of the official comprehensive video course about Duik Ángela

Using the Auto-rig 1, and a set of constraints*, what you end up with are controllers* to drive the animation. You animate the controllers, they drive the bones* through the constraints, et voilà! Your character moves.

Illustration of mechanical hand; Instrumenta chyrurgiae et icones anathomicae,
Ambroise Paré, 1564
CC BY 4.0, Wellcome Library, London.

As the controllers are going to be the interface between the animator and the character, they have to be intuitive and easy to manipulate. That’s why Duik uses nice shapes to make them easier to recognize, but also adds visual feedback on the controllers to see what the controllers are doing! And of course, they can be easily customized, changing their colors and shapes if needed.

The Controllers panel

The seven lines of icons in the center of the panel represent all the controller shapes available; they’re buttons to create the controllers.

By default, controllers created by the Auto-rig 1 and the controller panel are shape layers. This allows to customize them, and for them to be dynamic, to include guides and references with some tools. But the performance is better using raster layers or null layers; you can change the type of the controllers in the controller settings 2.


When controllers are standard shape layers (the default), you can draw anything you’d like in the content of a controller layer, therefore using custom shapes is possible.

You can also use custom raster layers (or any layer actually); just tag 3 your layers as controllers (and you can use them with the Auto-rig 1).

Create controllers

There are several ways to create controllers:


Null Controllers and After Effects Null layers will be 3D layers if the corresponding selected layer in the composition is a 3D Layer.

If the controller is a shape layer, you can easily customize its appearance using the effect on the layer.


With shape layers, the size is dynamic and relative to the resolution of the composition, until the controller’s been baked 4 *.

To improve performance, once you’ve set the appearance of the controller, you can bake 4 * it.

Specific controllers

Among all these controller shapes, some are a bit specific.


The toolbar at the top of the bones panel gives a quick access to several secondary but useful tools.



  1. cf. Bones and Auto-Rig / Auto-Rig

  2. cf. Controllers / Tools / Settings

  3. cf. Controllers / Tools / Settings

  4. cf. Controllers / Tools / Bake controllers

  5. cf. Constraints / Connector