Join Owen Lowery for an in-depth discussion in this video Rigging a character for a walk cycle, part of After Effects Duik Rigging & Animation Tools.
- [Instructor] Now that we've gone over character rigging, and all of the various rigging menu tools, we will be doing a little extra mini project that brings together a lot of what we've learned, and goes over a topic that is very useful for character animation, a walk cycle. I'm here in 07, and before we start rigging up this little blue warble character, I want to explain how this character is set up, why it is set up this particular way, and some of the little confusing discrepancies one might encounter while rigging a character for a walk cycle. I've already created, and named bones for the puppet pins on this character so I can quickly rig it up using the auto rig.
If you're not sure how to create bones on puppet pins, please go back and watch the chapter on IK rigging with puppet pins and bones, then come back, and we will work on this. For now, I want to explain why this blue character is designed to the way it is. I'm going to click on the shy guy button, so I'm briefly just looking at the design layers, and not the bones. On this character, I have a front leg and a back leg, I have a right arm and a left arm, and they are both in front of or behind the blue body.
This way, when they walk or swing, one will be in front, and one will be behind the other. My character's walking from left to right, forward on the screen. You will notice when we click on the auto rig button, that some of the buttons within here have front leg or back leg. Now, you can just ignore this for this character. Anything that is arm or leg will just be for anything on here that is arm or leg. The reason it has front and back leg on here are four characters designed like, dogs or bears, that have front and hind legs. Just assume that anything that says arm is meant for arms, regardless if it's as front or back.
One more thing before I start rigging. I want to go back into my rigging toolbox by clicking on the little rigging guy up here, and I want to go into the controllers button. When using auto rig, it automatically defaults to the last controller settings, so if it's set up really big, or using a strange color, like size big, or color magenta, it's going to use big magenta controllers when it creates them for the bones. I'm going to change this to medium, so it's a more manageable size, and I'm going to change this to white, so it really nicely contrasts with what we're seeing here.
Everything else looks good on here, and I can just go back to my rigging menu up top. All right, now it's time to rig up this character. I'll click on the auto rig, I'll go down here into my timeline, and un-shy guy all of these bone layers. Everything is locked off that I don't want to select, so I can just go from top, R's thigh, all the way to the bottom, to left foot, and hold down shift, and so it selects all of the bones for rigging.
I'm now going to go to full character, click on that, and because auto rig does such a good job finding the exact layers we want to rig up, it's already filled in for the left thigh, left knee, and left foot. That looks good. I'll hit next. Now, we have the right leg. R thigh, R knee, R foot. Looks good again. I'll hit next. Now we have the front left arm. Left arm, in the shoulder blade, it is giving us thigh, knee.
This is not what we want. I'm going to take this, and put this to none. On left knee, which is once again not what we want, I'm going to change this over to L arm. L arm, elbow, hand, good. Now, you want to make sure to double check this stuff and not just assume everything is right, because that could happen. Let's click next. On this one, where having the same problem, so I'm going to make this shoulder none, I'm going to go to arm, for right arm, and find R arm.
Right arm, right elbow, right hand, that looks good. Let's hit next. For head, 10 head, good. For neck, we will go from neck to neck. For torso, torso to torso. We don't have any hip or pelvis, so that looks good. I'm going to click next, and finally, we have our tail. We have no tail at all, so I'm just going to click remove all, to make sure that nothing is filled in here, and I'm going to click okay. Let's let Duik do it's magic.
All right, I'm going to go ahead and zoom in a little bit by hitting command plus, And I'm going to check out these different controllers, which are looking pretty good. I'm going to need to do some adjustments, but before I do that, I only want to worry about looking at these controllers now. All of these bones, I can just go ahead and select them. I'm going to select R thigh, hold down shift, and go all the way down to L foot, shift select that to highlight them all, I'll click on the little lock icon, so I don't mess with them anymore, and I can just go ahead and turn off the eyeball on all of these bones as well, because I don't even need to see them.
That looks pretty good. Let's go ahead and click on shy guy again, so this way we will hide all the zero layers, and we will hide all of these different bones and everything we don't need to concentrate on. I can even go on ahead and shy guy my different body artwork layers now too, so the only thing I'm looking at are the actual controllers. Before I move on, I just want to make sure these controllers are set up how I want them to be. These are feeling pretty good, the colors are good, I like them. I want to make sure that my arms are bending the way that I want them to.
This arm is bending like this, which is good. The right controller, I want my arm to bend the opposite way here, so I'm going to go ahead and hit E, and right here where I see the IK R elbow, I can double-click on that to make sure it brings up my effects controllers up here, and I'm going to uncheck the clockwise mark, so I know the arm is bending this way, so as it walks, it can just swing its arm in front of its body, and that looks good. Now, let's make sure that the legs are bending the way I want them to.
The back leg, yep. Is the front leg? No. That is breaking its front leg, so let's make sure that it is checked for clockwise up here, good. All right, now the front leg is bending the way I wanted to for a good walk cycle, and everything is left to stretchy, which I like for this kind of character rig, looks good. I'm happy with this. All right, now our character is rigged up, and it's ready to animate, and place in the different poses required for a good-looking walk cycle.
- Inverse kinematics
- Character design and rigging
- Automation tools for rigging: Autorig
- IK rigging with puppet pins and bones
- Rigging with Rotation Morph and other rigging tools
- Animating a walk cycle
- Automation tools for animation
- Animation and interpolation tools
- Camera tools