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.
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.
There are several ways to create controllers:
- Without any selection, click one of the buttons to just create a new controller, centered in the current composition.
- With some layers selected:
- Click one of the buttons to create one controller per layer, at the same location than the corresponding layer.
[Alt] + [Click]to create a single controller for all the layers. It’s created at the center of mass of the layer coordinates.
[Ctrl] + [Click]to automatically parent the layers to the new controllers. Hierarchy is kept and controllers are inserted in it; i.e. the previous parents of the layers will be the parents of the controllers.
[Ctrl] + [Alt] + [Click]to create a single controller and parent all the selected layers to it.
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.
Among all these controller shapes, some are a bit specific.
- The Slider, 2D Slider and Angle controllers are not meant to be used like other controllers - with parenting or IKs, etc. - but with the Connector 5 or expressions: it is easy to get and connect their value to any other property and control almost anything you want with them, in a very visual and easy way.
- The AE Null button doesn’t create an actual shape but an After Effects null layer to be used as any other controller.
The toolbar at the top of the bones panel gives a quick access to several secondary but useful tools.