An In-Depth Look at Character Animator, Adobe's New Motion Capture & Animation Tool

Adobe Character Animator
A few weeks back, Adobe released their 2015 Creative Cloud video applications into the world, and with that release came a fun little surprise.

Subtly tucked away in that update was a preview version of their new performance capture and animation tool, Character Animator. In essence, Character Animator's goal is to drastically simplify the animation process and to bring basic motion capture to anyone. The folks over at RocketStock (who sell rad After Effects templates), recently compiled a few of the latest Character Animator videos on the web, and we're going to share a few of them in a moment. But first, a quick reminder about what exactly Character Animator is and does. This comes from the Adobe blog post in which the new software was first introduced:

Adobe Character Animator

Adobe Character Animator brings still image artwork from Photoshop or Illustrator to life by capturing your performance using a camera and microphone, reproducing your facial expressions, synchronizing mouth movements to your speech, and giving you control over all aspects of a character’s movement through the mouse, keyboard, and programmable behaviors. You can simply perform to animate a character that you’ve acquired from someone else, or you can rig your own characters based on your own artwork from Photoshop or Illustrator. You can even write your own programmable behaviors or plug in behaviors from elsewhere.

So how does Character Animator fit into an Adobe workflow? Here's a full end-to-end tutorial that shows you how you can take a 2D character created in Photoshop or Illustrator, give them life in Character Animator, and then composite that character into a scene in After Effects:

And here's a more in-depth presentation from Adobe's Jason Levine about how Character Animator fits into the full Creative Cloud suite of video tools:

Adobe Character Animator is currently available as a preview in the current slate of Creative Cloud apps, and I'm pretty sure it's automatically installed if you already updated to After Effects CC 2015 (at least it was for me). So if you're interested, jump in and create some animations. There are a few more tutorials available from Adobe here, and there's a helpful support community/forum over on Adobe's site.

If you've already worked with Character Animator, let us know about your experience with it down in the comments!     

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Your Comment


heh. i'll be astonished if it works, if the flea-bitten / DOA premiere pro 2015 is any indication.

July 5, 2015 at 3:18PM, Edited July 5, 3:18PM

stephen knifton
owner / creative director

What issues have you been experiencing with the new Premiere? I've been using it a bit now and haven't had any problems. I just noticed that my render times have become significantly shorter and the workspaces are awesome, so I'm wonder why I keep hearing complaints..

July 5, 2015 at 4:38PM

Jeremiah Kuehne

I use Premiere a lot and have had no trouble with Prem 2015.

July 5, 2015 at 10:34PM


I made my first attempt to use the software. A lot to learn, but it was super fun. I think the product worked for my genre. Feel free to look at it. I think that after Adobe makes it a little more versatile and user friendly it will be a powerful tool for certain projects. Hope this doesn't count as spam. Just excited about this app.

July 5, 2015 at 9:23PM

Kyson Kidd

I love it "Stupid hairy feet feet feet" :)

July 5, 2015 at 10:38PM


We've been using character animator for a while now and coming from a character animation background both 2d and 3d we think the software is awesome, it gives people the chance to make simple animations quickly without any animation knowledge. Check out our site for some samples of what we've managed to make and go to the blog page. Also love that you can stream live with real time animations, think there is a lot of potential for CA

February 9, 2017 at 5:30AM

You voted '-1'.
Antony Evans
3d Animator

Thank you for creating this post explaining how to work with Adobe character animator to create anime characters. I am a huge fan of Anime, and I would like to get into the anime business someday. My favorite anime couple is Takeo & Yamato.

Thank you again.

February 16, 2019 at 11:00PM