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Chapter 12. Character Animation > Inverse Kinematics

Inverse Kinematics

With the skeleton in place, you could now bind the character to the skeleton if you wanted. However, at this point, the skeleton has only Forward Kinematics (FK) linkages. This means that to animate the skeleton, you must start at the root and work your way to the end of the chain. For example, if a character is going to pick up a remote control, you would animate the torso leaning over, then the bicep extending, and then the forearm's rotation, and hope that the hand could approach wherever the remote control is placed (see Figure 12.7). For much character animation, this approach is cumbersome and results in awkward character animation. However, for other animations, FK is sometimes a better choice—for example, if a character is bowling and the arm needs to rotate freely in an arc. Maya provides tools for setting a key so that you can toggle between FK and IK animation for a joint.

Figure 12.7. Adjusting arm position with IK versus FK.



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