Introduction

Limber is an add-on for Adobe After Effects that makes animating 2D characters quicker and easier, by generating and managing Inverse Kinematic limbs.

'Inverse Kinematic' or IK just means that you can place the two ends of your character's limb (hip and foot, for example), and the computer figures out how the limb needs to bend between those two points. It's a bit like playing with a cut out puppet made from pinned-together pieces of card. The alternative to inverse kinematics is forward kinematics, or FK, which is similar to working with layers that are parented to one another in the normal way - when you rotate the parent layer, the child layer follows along. In animation, both ways of moving layers are useful. Limber has best-in-class tools for switching between IK and FK, called blending, as well as matching FK properties to an IK pose, and vice versa.

Some other IK tools require you to supply your own artwork layers. One common problem with this method is that it can be difficult and time-consuming to get your two layers to rotate around each other in a seamless, visually-appealing way, at the knee or elbow. With Limber, you usually don't have to worry about this, because the limbs are based on geometric shape layers that just work.

This also means that Limber has a unique combination of simplicity with powerful customization potential. Limbs can be generated in a few seconds, then styled using straightforward color and size options. Or, you can use one of several alternative custom limbs, that feature additional, sophisticated options for appearance and behaviour.

Once you're comfortable with the basics, you can even customise your own limbs using vector artwork you've designed. When you've got a limb looking how you want, the Limber system is so robust that a single click will generate a duplicate for the other side of your character.

With Limber, you can dedicate time to complex rigging, or be animating in a matter of seconds - the choice is yours. And once you're animating, the dynamic controls for posing and movement are in a class of their own.

From day one, Limber has been made by animators, for animators. We believe that animation should be fun, and that the tools should make it easier, not more complicated. Limber focuses on doing one thing really well - limbs for character animation.

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