Thursday, October 19th, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe releases Character Animator CC

Originally posted on 18 September 2017. Scroll down for news of the official release.

Adobe has announced the commercial release of Character Animator CC, its 2D puppet animation software, after over two years as a free beta. The commercial version is due to ship later this year.

On its blog, Adobe refers to the release as ‘Character Animator 1.0’, although it it follows its usual product naming convention, we suspect that it may actually end up being called Character Animator CC 2018.

Updated: It’s actually called plain old Character Animator CC, without a version number.

The new version, which also adds pose-to-pose-style animation and a new collision system, and streamlines rigging and animation, went on show at IBC 2017 alongside updates to After Effects and Premiere Pro.

Create 2D puppet animation using mouse or keyboard triggers, with live markerless facial capture
First released in 2015 as a preview that installs alongside After Effects, Character Animator is an intuitive tool for creating puppet-based 2D animations.

Users can import a character as a 2D source image, rig it, then animate in real time using mouse and keyboard shortcuts, or generate automated facial and lip synch animation from webcam footage.

The software has been used in a range of commercial productions, including live versions of The Simpsons and the animated series of Mr. Bean.

New in the commercial release: pose-to-pose-style animation
As well as making Character Animator a commercial product, the next release adds a range of new features, including a Pose-to-Pose Movement setting.

The setting mimics the look of traditional hand-drawn animation using a pose to pose workflow, freezing the head positions generated from webam footage at user-selected intervals.

New eye animation options; more streamlined character rigging
Other new animation features include a new Snap Eye Gaze option, which lets a character’s pupils snap between nine common positions. It works with both source webcam footage and when animating manually.

There are also new options for controlling characters’ eyebrow movements.

Rigging has also been streamlined, with automatic attachment of independent groups like arms or legs to a character’s torso; and the option to use clipping masks to the content of a layer to mask layers above it.

Support for physics-based collisions
The 2D physics system gets a new Collide behaviour which enables objects in a scene to collide with one another, along with a small set of control parameters including Weight, Friction and Bounciness.

There are also new behaviours for selecting or changing the opacity of specific layers within a scene.

UI changes and updates to the audio toolset
Workflow and UI changes include a new Triggers panel for creating and editing animation triggers, and a Controls panel for creating custom buttons and sliders for triggers.

The audio toolset gets a new waveform display in the timeline, plus an improved lip-synch algorithm.

Updated 19 October 2017: Character Animator CC is now officially shipping.

The update was released at Adobe MAX 2017 alongside new versions of Adobe’s other Creative Cloud software, including After Effects CC, Premiere Pro CC and Photoshop CC.

Adobe also released several other work-in-progress tools as full applications: most relevantly for CG Channel readers, rendering and compositing tool Project Felix becomes Dimension CC.

Other announcements include a new cloud-based edition of Lightroom CC. Find a full summary here.

Pricing and availability
Character Animator CC is available for 64-bit Windows 7+ and Mac OS X 10.10 and above.

Adobe software is only available via online subscriptions to the firm’s Creative Cloud platform. An annual subscription costs $19.99/month for a single application, or $49.99/month for the entire collection of tools.

Read a full list of new features in Character Animator CC in the online changelog

Read a longer overview of the new features on Adobe’s blog