Adobe Character Animator: Everything You Need to Know + Free Puppets

Create action fun, packed animations from your own home. Characters, sounds, voice overs, facial expressions all controlled by you. A guide to Adobe Character Animator Software.

Updated: June 21, 2022

American computer software company Adobe has been widely known as a specialist in Creativity software products for years with a host of top-ranked household name products like Photoshop, Acrobat, Flash, Lightroom, and Illustrator among many, many others. It’s a brand that carries the mark of quality be it with Web or Graphic Design software, Digital Marketing, Visual Editing, or just about anything they put their name to. Adobe Character Animator is definitely a great addition to this range as part of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and whilst not so well known yet, it is sure to grow. Recently, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences announced that it will award Adobe Character Animator with an Emmy as a pioneering system that has broken new ground in television animation for live performance-based animation using facial recognition, and for showing excellence in engineering. Praise indeed, but it must be noted that it’s not only suitable for the professional industry, but it’s also great for the layman too.

So here’s a brief guide to what it is and how it can be used, and exactly why it is gaining such popularity.

1. What is Adobe Character Animator?
1.1. What is the Idea?
1.2. What Skills do you need?
1.3. What is the price of Adobe Character Animator?
2. Where Character Animator can be used?
3. What do you need to get started with Adobe Character Animator?
4. Get started with animation
4.1. Free Puppets for Adobe Character Animator
4.2. Beginner tutorials for Adobe Character Animator


1. What is Adobe Character Animator?

An Emmy award-winning application software that allows you to place custom-made puppets in scenes and apply different behaviors to the puppet, creating an animation. These cartoon characters have automated features such as lip-syncing to your voice, mimicking your gestures, and following your facial expressions. It’s quick, super easy and the look is very professional. A webcam record you, and the software turns your movements and voice into the character. Do you know What You Can Do With Adobe Character Animator? Check out these Amazing Examples.


1.1. What is the Idea?

The whole idea is to make animation easier for everybody, whilst still keeping the quality. Even non-professionals can create something incredible without a specialist skillset. It is a cheap, simple, and effective software suitable for all ages and abilities that opens up the world of animation for creatives and hobbyists. In doing so, it can save you thousands of dollars and take your presentation, tutorial, or stream to another level.

Taking a pre-created character (puppet) and then using Animator to rig it to specific behaviors such as smile, point, walk, etc. This creation is then controlled via the keyboard, mouse, or even webcam  (to allow face expression tracking) or microphone (to allow lip sync) and touch screen, if you’ve got the facility.  The result is motion and action either live (it’s fast enough) or recorded, giving life to your creation and also enabling the capture of your expressions as you perform in the guise of your character. Your character can appear in a scene with a background and you can include audio in the form of sound effects and background music as well as voice.


1.2. What skills do you need?

If you want to create a character from scratch then you’ll need a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.  Characters are created in Photoshop or Illustrator and then animated with Adobe Character Animator.  Of course, it is possible to use your own existing character creations, or you can use preset templates and modify them accordingly and then start animating. Characters can also be bought ready-made or to tailored designs or there are some free characters available, (see below)

Once you have imported your character, then you’ll need to rig it to follow your movements, action, and mouth, ready for animation. You’d imagine this is where it gets technical but Animator is surprisingly easy to operate. Of course, Adobe wants to make its software as user-friendly as possible so more people can use it. As such, Character Animator does not require any advanced programming or coding skills. It is designed to be intuitive and easy to use and it doesn’t take long to get into the swing of things, with plenty of preset options and behaviors.  There are plenty of templates in rigs for you to work with and even more tools to design characters. It is easy to rig with useful and clear options and it’s easy to create puppet pins and animate them including facial expressions, with webcam capture. Sound recording is a simple press of a button, triggers are easy to set up and the editing is straightforward too.

There are also plenty of tutorials online to guide you, check out these 16 Beginner Tutorials to Learn Adobe Character Animator.


1.3. What is the price of Adobe Character Animator?

As part of Adobe Creative Cloud, including Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat Pro. Annual plans are:

  • Individuals – $52.99 per month
  • Students & Teachers – $19.99 per month
  • Teams – starting at $33.99 per month

You could also use the software for free. Use the special GraphicMama code and get Character Animator Performer Mode* for free: Free Adobe Character Animator Performer Mode.

Adobe Character Animator Performer-Mode Unlock Code

* Performer mode is a free version of Adobe Character Animator, with some limitations: you can only use the record and streaming features, but can’t create your own puppets.



2. Where Character Animator can be used?

Although there is no limit, indeed you can use it anywhere you like, there are certain types of presentations that very much lend themselves to this creative, energetic, and personalized software.

Tutorials – Tutorials can be dry and uninteresting even when you are giving it your all, so Animator is something different that immediately captures the attention. The character can act as a guide through the tutorial, providing a focus for your words and actions to help explain. The animated character breaths life and movement into the process. For great examples just look at how the animator is explained using its own software.

Explainer videos – Similarly to tutorials in many respects. Ch Animator is perfect for retaining attention and breaking down processes or concepts whilst keeping them interesting and fun. A character designed specifically to enhance your message or brand works wonders.

Online education – The obvious rise in online education has given educators pause for thought. How is it possible to generate the energy and interest of the classroom setting and keep the focus from a remote destination? Character Animator is a great tool for adding variety and interest to your lessons. Why not create a character based on the topic or even your own personal caricature to deliver your lessons. You can even prerecord to make things less hectic, and you’re sure to impress even the hardest audience with your IT skills.

Streaming – Another area that has seen a rapid rise in recent months is streaming, from professional YouTubers and gamers right through to amateur singers, jugglers, storytellers, or potential comedians – everybody seems to want to get themselves out there for the world to notice. An animated character can add to your potential in many ways. Mix things up with live-action and your character, add humor, and get your character to show the things you don’t want to..the potential is all yours to play with.

Tv Series – Even if you are streaming so much that you’ve created a channel or followers, or you’ve risen to the heights of TV… character animation has long been a great way of communicating with your audience. with Adobe’s Character Animator it’s easy to create an animated world of characters to fill your TV schedule with exciting, attractive content. It is ideal for quick production and tight deadlines. It’s even been used on The Simpsons – so if it’s good enough for them…

Social media – For personal or business purposes Social media shows no signs of slowing down. The key to getting and keeping followers is exciting, novel, innovative content. Character Animator allows you to create short videos or clips that will be “liked” and shared. It’s quick and easy enough for you to be able to keep your content up to date and relevant without too much effort.

Or just for fun – You don’t have to be serious or looking to take over the world, Character Animator is great fun just to play around with at home, creating something fun to share with family or your friends.

Here are some examples of videos created with Adobe Character Animator:

If you want to view some more examples of what can be done with Adobe Character Animator, take a look at these 30+ Adobe Character Animator Video Examples



3. What do you need to get started with Adobe Character Animator?

You don’t need any particularly specialist, professional equipment to start animating, just what most people already have for standard video chatting, or remote working.


3.1. Microphone

A microphone, obviously the better quality, the better the result, but again the standard equipment for online chat sessions works absolutely fine. The microphone will allow you to lip-sync your puppet to your words. You’ll also need a microphone for audio recording such as voiceovers.


3.2. Camera

As with the microphone, a webcam connected to your computer or the camera in your laptop will allow your puppets to be rigged to your facial expressions. Nothing special is needed but the camera needs to be good enough to recognize things like eye movements, and eyebrows.


3.3. Hardware requirements

Adobe Character animator can be run on either Windows or macOS. A similar spec is needed, see below. You’ll also need the Internet for required software activation, validation of subscriptions, and access to online services.

Windows – Version 10 or later, minimum 8Gb RAM (16 GB recommended), Minimum 3Gb Hard drive space for installation, 1280×1080 display (1920×1080 or larger recommended).

macOS – macOS Version 10.13 or higher, 8 GB of RAM (16 GB or more recommended), 3 GB of available hard-disk space for installation, 1440×900 display (1920×1080 or larger recommended).


4. Get started with animation

We now know what it is, and you’ve got some ideas of how it could come in handy. Let’s look at the easiest ways to get up and running, so you can take a look for yourself and get a better grip on the whole idea. there’s no better way to get a feel for it than to dive right into the deep end.

You may also check out GraphicMama’s beginner-friendly tutorial: Beginners Guide to Adobe Character Animator.


4.1. Install Adobe Character Animator

Step 1: Go to the Adobe website and download Adobe Character Animator.
Step 2: You will be asked to sign in with your Adobe ID. If you don’t have an Adobe account, sign up for free.
Step 3: Start your free trial.
After that, you should unlock the Performer Mode to use the software for free for an unlimited time.


4.2. Free Puppets for Adobe Character Animator

The best way to get started is to use free animation puppets. This way you can experiment with the software straightway without the cost and time of creating your own character. Here are some completely free puppets, already rigged,  so you can get started immediately. Choose a free puppet and download it. You can import it into Character Animator right away and have a play. A great range to whet your appetite.

free character animator puppet businessman

Free Businessman Character Animator Puppet

Free features:

  • Holding Objects
  • Making Gestures
  • Walking

free character animator puppet man

Free Male Character Animator Puppet

Free features:

  • Making Gestures
  • Walking

free character animator puppet fun businessman

Free Fun Business Character Animator Puppet

Free features:

  • Making Gestures
  • Holding Objects

free character animator puppet woman

Free Female Character Animator Puppet

Free features:

  • Making Gestures
  • Walking

Browse over 100 more puppets


4.2. Beginner tutorials for Adobe Character Animator

Once you’ve had some time getting used to the software, (or even before if you want to take a look) there are some excellent tutorials on the Adobe page online that take you through the basics (step by step) right up to more advanced techniques. There are also a number of YouTube tutorials to help you along. As Character Animator is perfect for tutorials anyway, you can see it and learn at the same time. Double plus.

If you wonder how to get started with Adobe Character Animator, you can check out these 16 Tutorials to Learn Adobe Character Animator.


Final words

The animation was once seen as the domain of the pro but no longer. With Adobe Character Animator anyone, with basic technology, time and willingness can get creative and impress the audience with something extra special. It’s a sure-fire to get noticed, and can’t fail but to wow your viewers. Another trick in the toolbox whether you want to entertain, inform, educate, or sell – is a chance to move with the times, literally.

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Lyudmil Enchev

Lyudmil is an avid movie fan which influences his passion for video editing. You will often see him making animations and video tutorials for GraphicMama. Lyudmil is also passionate for photography, video making, and writing scripts.

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