Create structures

Structures panel (standard)

There are several ways to create Structures with Duik, depending on what you need.
As all the other tools in Duik Bassel, the Struture creation tools try to be smart, and change their behaviour depending on the context (i.e. the current selection in the current composition).

You can create either complete characters (e.g. Homonoïds…), single limbs (e.g. Arms, Legs…), or custom structures. Except for complete characters, the way the Structures are created will change depending on the selection.

Complete characters are always created in the center of the composition, and nothing is linked to the new Structure, you’ll have to make the links between the artwork and the Structures by yourself later.

Without any selection in the composition, predefined limbs and custom Structures will also be created in the center of the composition, but with a selection, they will be moved to the selected properties or layers, which, by default, will be linked to the Structure elements.

If Bezier path properties (i.e. mask path or shape path) are selected, one Structure will be created for each path, with one Structure element for each vertex of the path.
Vertex and tangents will both be linked to the corresponding Structure elements, but there is no individual control for tangents. You can create them later if you need with the Bones tool.

Note

As Structures can be created on a bezier path with any version of After Effects, paths can be linked back to the Structures only on After Effects CC2018 and newer.

If puppet pins are selected, one Structure will be created for each layer, with one Structure element for each puppet pin. The order of the elements of the Structure depends on the order of the pins in the layer stack. You can re-order them before creating the Structure to adjust how the Structure is created and parented.
Puppet pins will be linked to the corresponding Structure elements.

If layers are selected, without any other property, one Structure will be created. Each Structure element will be moved to a corresponding layer, and the layer will be parented to it.

Note

If there are selected layers with their anchor points at the same location in the composition, the Structure will not use the layers’ position, and layers will not be parented, to avoid weird issues happening when layers share the same anchor point in the same Structure chain.

Hint

You can separately deactivate the automatic linking of layers, pins and paths to the Structure elements in the edition panel of the Structures.
In this case, holding the [Ctrl] key when creating Structures will enable you to temporarily force this automatic linking.

Warning

Never duplicate nor copy and paste Structures in After Effects, always create new Structures or use the Duplicate button in the Structures panel of Duik.

Internal unique identifiers are associated with the Structures, which won’t be updated when you copy or duplicate the Structures in After Effects. The Auto-rig and other rigging tools in Duik need these identifiers to work correctly and may fail if they are not set properly. The Duplicate tool does this.

Hominoid Icon Hominoid

Hominoid

This tool will create Structures for a complete hominoid with a spine, two legs and two arms, using the settings of the individual limbs set in the Structures panel.

Note

Hominoids (Hominoidea) are a branch of tailless anthropoid primates native to Africa and Southeast Asia. They are distinguished from other primates by a wider degree of freedom of motion at the shoulder joint. There are two extant branches of the superfamily Hominoidea: the gibbons, or lesser apes; and the hominids, or great apes (orangutans, gorillas, chimpanzees, humans).

Hint

[ Alt + Click ] on the button for a demo of what Duik can do!

Animal Icon Types of walking animals

The rig, and the animation, of the animal you’re working on depends a lot on how it walks. There are three main ways of walking among vertebrates.

Type Description Examples Notes
Plantigrade Animals which put the whole foot on the ground, with the heel touching the ground when they walk. Primates, bears, rabbits… The ones nearly equal to humans.
Digitigrade Animals which walk on their fingers. Dogs and all canines, cats and other felines, dinosaurs, walking birds… The friends of humans.
Ungulate Animals which walk on the tip of their fingers, who usually have hoofs. Horses, cattle, girafes, pigs, deers, camels, hippopotamuses… The ones humans eat.

For each limb you can create with Duik, you have to choose the type of walking animal it is (for arms and legs), and which parts of the limbs must be created.

Arm Icon Arm

arm structure

arm structure comp

Creates a Structure for the arm or the front leg of a quadruped.

Click the ○ button to adjust the settings for the arm.

You can check which part of the limb is present on your character. The autorig will adapt to every configuration, but using all of them (except for claws when rigging humans) can ensure a nice rig and a more realistic animation.

Arm Animation
Animation by Jissse

Leg Icon Leg

leg structure

leg structure comp

Creates a Structure for the (rear) leg of a biped or a quadruped.

Click the ○ button to adjust the settings for the leg.

The autorig will adapt to every configuration, but using all of them can ensure a nice rig and a more realistic animation (with a proper foot roll).

Spine Icon Spine

spine structure

Creates a Structure for the spine of any vertebrate.

Click the ○ button to adjust the settings for the spine.

You can check which part of the spine is present on your character. You can divide the spine and the neck in as many layers as you want (or none). The autorig will adapt to every configuration.

Tail Icon Tail

tail structure

Create a Structure for the tail of any animal.

Click the ○ button to adjust the settings for the tail.

You can divide the tail in as many layers as you want. The autorig will adapt to every configuration.

Fish illustration
Illustration by Jissse
With tails, you can even rig fishes very easily.

Tip

In the Autorig options, you can choose between rigging tails using Bezier IK controls or FK (with automatic follow through and overlap) controls. The latter achieves a natural motion more easily, but IK could be needed in some cases, like if the tail interacts with anything else.

Bone Icon Custom Structure

custom structure

Creates a standard, custom Structure.

You can set the number of elements in the Structure, and choose a name for it.

Hint

Hold the [Alt] button on your keyboard to assign a new random color to the Structure.