Limber

  • Compatibility After Effects
    Please check exact version compatibility under the "COMPATIBILITY" tab below

Author: Steve Kirby

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$39.99
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Quick Overview

Limber is the new shape-layer IK system for After Effects character animation.

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Limber is an IK system for After Effects that uses shape layers to make customizable limbs for character animation. Limber has controls for styling the shape and colors, dynamically preventing animation ‘pops’, smoothly blending between IK and FK, foreshortening one half of a limb, and swapping limbs for different types.

You animate using controller layers for the hip and ankle points of your limb. If you want to use FK, simply generate an FK controller, re-parent your hand or foot layer to the new controller, and dial in the FK rotation values you need - perfect for swinging arms in a walk cycle.

You can customize the limb shape layer in any way you like: add extra shapes, alter the existing shape, add extra properties like strokes or gradient fills, remove parts of the limb to get separate layers for each part, and much more.

We ship the script with a 'Limb Library', giving you access to a growing range of more advanced custom limbs - many of them sophisticated rigs in their own right, with controls for extra properties and behaviors.

Sound too good to be true? Check out this review by animation studio No Magnolia.

Features

  • Fast ‘bones’ based on a single expression (CC2018 and newer only)
  • The only After Effects IK tool with seamless IK-FK blending
  • Highly customizable tapered limb shapes and styles
  • Built in controls for anti-pop and stretchy or fixed length limbs
  • All vector workflow - infinitely scalable
  • Quick and simple - make a limb in two clicks

What people say

“I’m using Limber for the first time on a project and its wonderful”
Louis Weslowsky

“Tons of fun and pretty intuitive”
Lana Simanenkova - Animade

“Works really, really well - excellent job…”
Cameron Gough - Dirty Puppet

 

Limber customizing Limber FK Limber bones

 

Workflow

Choose which type of limb you want in the dropdown, and hit 'New'. 2017 and 2018 limbs can be tapered and have options for colored fills. The Bone type is a fast, stroke-based limb generated by a single expression. Bones are CC2018 and newer only.

Each new limb is made of three layers: the main rendering limb layer, a Start controller and an End controller. You can parent the Start controller to your characters body layer (at the hip or shoulder position), then parent a foot or hand layer to the End Controller, and animate it's position. It's as simple as that.

Select the End controller and check out the Effects panel. There are controls for the length, shape and colors of that limb.  Once you have it looking how you want, hit the 'Duplicate’ button to generate another, identical limb with it's own controllers.

If you want to get creative, you can start customizing the limb layer yourself.  There are clearly named shape groups inside the layer that form the different parts of the limb. Add a pocket, tattoo or even a hand or foot right inside the layer and watch it move along with the rest of the limb. Best of all, these customizations you've made will all be there when you use the Duplicate button to make your character's other matching limb, including effects, expression controls or whatever you've added to the layer.  The Copy and Paste buttons will copy a limb and apply it’s attributes to another.  And just like the Duplicate button, they will paste anything you've added, removed or changed in the limb layer.

You can hit ‘Replace’ to refresh your limb layer with a new, default copy of any of the three basic types. You'll retain the basic design choices you’ve made in the Limber effect, such as length and color, but it'll remove any of those customizations you've made to the limb layer itself. Useful if you've messed everything up (!) or if you're only using a basic, un-customized limb and you want to swap temporarily to a bone for the speed boost.

Limber can blend smoothly between IK and FK by keyframing the FK slider. But why do you need that? Here's an example: In a walk cycle, your character's body often moves up and down, and you need the hands to follow along with that up and down movement because they are 'hanging' at the ends of the arms; if you just animate on IK, you'd have to figure out the motion path of the hands so that it accounts for the body going up and down… that can be tricky to get right if the body movement is complex. Much easier to use FK and just let those arms follow along with the body's movement. And then later, if you need those arms to reach and grab something, you'll find that easier to animate on IK, so you just blend from one to the other. You can also use FK to get beautiful arcs, break joints, perfectly swing legs, and more.

For more information download the comprehensive User Guide available below

Compatibility

Limber is officially supported in After Effects CC2015 and up. Bones are only available in CC2018 and newer. The default tapered limbs come in two types - one for CC2018 and newer, and the other for CC2017 and older. You can swap between these two types in CC2018 and they are visually identical when rendered.

Trial version

The trial version is limited to two limbs per comp maximum, FK and Joint controllers are disabled and you cannot copy and paste customized limb layers. The Limb Library is not included with the trial version download. It's functional for 7 days.

Resources

User Guide
Animation Presets
Introduction Tutorial
Customization Tutorial

Support

Send Feedback
Feature Requests
Report a bug

Credits

Limber is made by Steve Kirby and Mike Overbeck

with thanks to Jesse Parsons, Adam Plouff, rendertom's compCode and Paul Slemmer

After Effects CC 2019, CC 2018, CC 2017, CC 2015.3, CC 2015