using the ik tool

Hi Lilly,

Like you said, I excluded the drawing layers and most of the bone mess cleared up. Finally, my puppet started to look right. I moved my master peg pivot and did some rearranging with my layers (after some tries back and forth with the IK tool), the puppet now works with the IK tool.

Thank you for telling me that, I probably wouldn’t have figured it out.

Looking forward to further instruction.

Thank you so much, Lilly.



Hi Lilly,

Thank you so much for all this advice on using the IK tool; I appreciate it, a lot.

I was wondering why the puppet gets lifted way up off the floor when I use the All Chain Mode (needs to be nailed down), but not in Simple Chain Mode.

Give me some time to get back to you regarding these procedures. I’m looking so forward to my first walk cycle using the posing positions from IK.

Answering your question, I use pegs in a mixed rig with pivots set on each drawing layer, but has Use Parent Peg option for pivots, and pegs are connected to pegs. The Master-Peg at top and two peg branches below it: chest and rear. Following the arrows, the puppet rig goes like this:

Chest-P > neck-P > head-P (all facial features are connected to the head with the eyes: Eyelid1 > Eye1 > Eyeball1)
Chest-P > Belly (the belly is set to Don’t Use Embedded Pivots and has no peg)
Chest-P > leg1 (leg1: Shoulder-P > MiddleLeg-P > Foot-P > Toe-P > Btmfoot-P)
Chest-P > leg3
Rear-P > leg2
Rear-P > leg4
Rear-P > tail (Tailbase-P > Tailpart1-P > Tailpart2-P > Tailtip-P).
I set the Master-P pivot on the belly using the Rotate Tool. When I position the Master-P pivot at the feet, all the bones want to point to it and the rotation arrow is backwards. Please let me know if the rig is inadequate for the long haul. I don’t have patches on this rig and the joints are circles (more or less) with overlapping parts.

Lilly, I spent some time going through the posts and reading most of the IK topics, I didn’t realize that you spoke on excluding the drawing layers from the IK chain. Also, I watched the rigging videos and tried to set up a rig like that using Elements as pegs, but I’m unable to copy and paste the pivot to any other layer except the inital layer.

Thanks a lot, Lilly, for all your help.


Hi Cindy!

Okay so here I just wanted to give a few tips and tricks for using the IK tool.


- How you set up IK depends on how your rig is set up. The way that IK works is it takes the pivots that you have set on your drawing layers with the pivot tool and it uses these pivots to connect together to form a chain. SO - first thing is, how is your rig set up? Do you have a hierarchy? Is your hierarchy set up by connecting drawing layers together directly? If so, then all you need to do is select the end joints and use the Bone Setup mode to fix the end joints.

- If you have set up your rig with Pegs, like I said before and you did successfully - first you need to select each of your drawing layers and click on the option Exlude from IK, then you can fix the end joints.

- To use the Bone Setup mode, switch the mode in the IK Tool Properties window, then select the drawing layer or peg layer whose bone you want to edit (this only works for an end bone, because all intermediate bones will be determined by the drawing pivots). Then just click and drag in the camera view to change the orientation of the bone.

This is all you should need to do for setup. Now you’re ready to animate.


- First, just like if you’re using the Transform tool, you need to extend the exposure on all your drawing layers
- Next click on the top peg (master peg) or the top drawing - the parent of everything
- Make sure that the “Animate” button is turned on or you won’t be able to see your chain
- Now you can animate! You just need to understand that there are 3 modes: Direct Chain, Simple Chain, and All Chain. I tend to switch between Simple Chain and All Chain, not using Direct Chain very much. Simple Chain will move just the parts that are connected in a simple parent → child relationship. Meaning, the bones on an arm, or the bones on a leg for example. Whereas All Chain will move all the bones at once.
- When you use All Chain, generally what you need to do is shift-click on one or more joints to pin that joint in place (the joint will turn red). Then you will pull on other parts of the body to move the rest of the body.
- You can also shift-click on a bone to hold the orientation of that bone.
- Just shift-click again to unpin the joint or bone
- Also be aware when using All Chain mode that there’s an option “Enable Translation if Top of Hierarchy” - you may want to have this option on if you want the whole body to move
- Other little tips and tricks - there’s a difference between clicking on a bone or clicking on a joint to animate. If you click on a bone and drag to animate, then it moves the whole chain. If you click on a white joint and drag to animate, then it moves the chain while HOLDING ORIENTATION on the child elements of that joint. So I usually switch between clicking on joints and clicking on bones to animate.

So that’s pretty much it. Give these tips a try and let me know if they work out for you!


It should be fine to leave the master peg at the belly - that’s what I usually do.

Also I should mention that you can also exclude the facial features from IK because you won’t be using IK to move these elements - just use the transform tool.

The reason that the whole rig moves with All Chain is because that’s the purpose of All Chain - to move the whole rig by dragging on a body part. If you turn off Enable Translation If Top of Hierarchy, then the whole rig will simply rotate and not move.

If you want to move only the chain that you’re dragging on, like only the arm, then choose simple chain mode. It’s up to you which mode you prefer to use at any given time.