Pros / You can add bone rigging to your characters.
Cons / It cannot record audio.
Verdict / Adobe Animate makes the animating process easier with bone rigging and additional animation features. However, it works best when used in conjunction with Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
Adobe Animate CC is the rebranded version of Adobe Flash. It gives you access to professional-level drawing and animation tools so you can get the exact look you want from your work. We were able to use bone rigging and animation paths to quickly animate scenes. We were also able to draw freehand from within the software, however, some included drawing tools are limited as the software is meant to be used in conjunction with Adobe’s other design programs.
As with Character Animator and most other Adobe software, Animate CC is subscription based. You can purchase a single app subscription from Adobe for $20.99 a month but if you want to get the most from this software, it would be best to pay the $52.99 monthly subscription so you can use Illustrator and Photoshop as well. The reason being that Animate CC is meant to be used alongside these two drawing programs. There is a free trial period, however, it only lasts 7 days, which is much shorter than most other demos.
We found this software easy to use overall, but since it is missing some features it limited our creative freedoms. This is why it didn’t score as highly as some other programs. For instance, it provides plenty of helpful tools like onion skinning, brushes and layers so we could have more control over our animations. However, the program often relied on Illustrator and Photoshop for some of its other skills. The drawing tools are relatively good. We were able to adjust the opacity of the brushes in order to sketch directly into the program. The software responded very well to our Wacom tablet, allowing us to quickly sketch and draw, but you’ll need to rely on photoshop to create more pressure-sensitive drawings.
Just like its predecessor, Flash, this software gives you plenty of tools to create interactive animations perfect for websites and simple 2D gaming. This means you can provide links within your movies for viewers to click on. You can use the bone rigging tools to make your characters movements easier to control and more lifelike. Using the timeline and frames tools, you can lip sync your characters mouths to your audio. There is no motion capture software, so this will all need to be done manually, frame by frame.
Adobe recommends you use a program called SmartMouth to record and edit audio since there are no audio tools within Adobe Animate. Once again, this program relies on external programs to get your animation completed. Using the CC libraries tool, you can search and purchase millions of images, however, we were unable to find any premade special effects like smoke, fire or rain animations.
The software is compatible with most image files including PSD and AI. You can also import audio and video files like AVI, MP4, MP3 and WAV. When you are ready to share your work with others, you can save your clips as AVI, MP4, SMF and GIF files. However, you cannot directly upload your movies to Facebook or YouTube from within the program.
Adobe separates Animate CC video tutorials into two user levels, Beginner or Experienced, so you can find instructions that meet your current skillset and grow from there. We also found plenty of text tutorials, an expansive knowledgebase, FAQs page and a VERY active user forum. Should you need to contact the company, you can do so via phone or email. Animate is compatible with both Mac and PC.
Animate CC helps you add smooth movements with bone-rigging, but is lacking in the lip-synching department. This program is especially good for anyone who wants to make a simple game or interactive movies where viewers can click links to activate scenes. While it offers a decent range of drawing tools, they are limited compared to Photoshop and illustrator, so you’ll want to switch between those programs when creating your movies for the best results.