Autodesk® HumanIK® (HIK) animation middleware is a full-body inverse kinematics (IK) solver and retargeter. HumanIK tools in Maya provide a complete character keyframing environment with full body and body part keying and manipulation modes, auxiliary effectors and pivots, and pinning. HumanIK also provides a retargeting engine that lets you easily retarget animation between characters of differing size, proportions and skeletal hierarchy.

Designed to be consistent with other Autodesk applications, Maya’s HumanIK tools let you transfer character assets between applications in your animation pipeline. For example, create and rig your character in Maya, send the rig to MotionBuilder for motion capture data, then continue to refine the animation using layers in Maya.


HumanIK is available in Maya as an automatically loaded plug-in. If you need to load HumanIK manually, select the mayaHIK plug-in using the Plug-in Manager (Window > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager).

To retarget animation in Maya, each character must have a HumanIK skeleton definition. Use the Definition tab in the HumanIK window to create and lock your skeleton definition.

HumanIK characters

Each character that you want to use in your retargeting pipeline must be set up as a HumanIK character. To function as a HumanIK character, the character must have a valid skeleton definition that maps out its skeletal structure. For more detailed information, see HumanIK character structure.

Whether you are building a HumanIK character from scratch or planning to use an existing skeleton or mesh, you can use Maya's HumanIK tools to define skeletons and create Control Rigs. To get started, see Create a HumanIK skeleton definition or Create an automatic character rig for a mesh.

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