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A leg by any other name

The Duik script offers three types of limb rigs: plantigrade, digitigrade, and ungulate. The first section below defines these, while the next section contains a 7.5 minute video that shows how the reverse kinematics works on each type of leg when using Duik.

Duik’s three types of rigging

These Duik rigging options represent the three forms of locomotion adapted by land animals.

Plantigrade is the default setting for Duik.

plantigrade limb

plantigrade: animals that walk with their phalanges (toes) and metatarsals (long bones in foot) flat on the ground. This was the first type of leg to develop in ancient mammals. The plantigrade sacrifices speed for stability because of its large surface area that contacts the ground. Examples: humans, apes, bears, rodents, rabbits, kangaroos, and raccoons.

Duik essentially rigs the plantigrade front and back legs (or legs and arms) identically. However, you can add an optional layer for the shoulder blade in the arm/front-leg rigging window which can add a more natural look to your puppet’s arm movements.

digitigrade front limb
digitigrade back limb

digitigrade: animals that walk on their phalanges. Their heels and wrists are raised up above the ground, which places these joints much higher than found in plantigrades. Examples: elephants, cats, dogs, birds, and dinosaurs.

ungulate front limb
ungulate back limb

ungulate: animals that walk on the very tips of their toes, and they often have hooves. Example: horses, cows, ibex, goats, rhinoceros, and hippopotamus. Interestingly, sea cows and cetaceans belong to this group because they are descended from early artiodactyls (even toed ungulates). Artiodactyls include camels, giraffes, pigs, and cattle.

Screenshot 1 back leg

Screenshot of Duik’s back leg plantigrade window.

Screenshot 2 front leg or arm

Screenshot of Duik’s plantigrade front leg or arm window. Notice, beside the labels, the only difference between this window and the leg rigging window is the top field, which can be linked to a clavicle bone. This field is optional.

A quick look at the Duik limb rigs

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