Adobe Animate CC Review

Romj Amon
Romj Amon

Updated · Aug 03, 2022

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Rarely do we see so many users declare a piece of legendary software dead before its funeral, as has happened with Animate CC. This Adobe Animate CC review explores how this app has remained relevant.

Presets

90+

Ready-to-Use Assets

Supported

Complexity

3.5/5

Complexity

3.5/5

Licensing

Monthly & annual subscriptions

Free Version

Unavailable

Free Trial

Available

Customer Support

Live chat, email, FAQ, knowledge base, forum, & YouTube tutorials

WORKS ON:

mac-os windows
Adobe Animate CC logo

MINIMUM PRICE $19.99/month

Visit Website
Visit Website

Best for: Animation creation within the Adobe ecosystem

Strengths
Strengths Native integration with other Adobe apps
Strengths Regular updates
Strengths Clear & concise interface
Strengths Free trial
Weaknesses
Weaknesses No free version
Weaknesses Limited 3D capability
Weaknesses Steep learning curve
Weaknesses Few Adobe tutorials

What Is Adobe Animate CC?

Adobe Animate CC (or simply Animate) is a premium animation app for beginners and professionals alike. It's useful for creating simple banner ads or more complex, immersive virtual reality content.

Formerly Flash Professional, it can interact with dozens of other Adobe apps through Creative Cloud.

Unlike Renderforest and Animaker, it's exclusively a desktop app. The minimum Adobe Animate system requirements are Windows 10 and macOS 10.15 (Catalina).

Judging by the mostly positive Adobe Animate CC reviews on G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra, it's one of the industry's best. But many users believe that its days are numbered.

So, is it a waste of time to try in 2022?

Keep reading this Adobe Animate guide for dummies to find out whether such a remark holds true.

Features

To appreciate Animate, here are the main things you should know:

Documents and Platforms

Animate supports a wide range of document types for different platforms.

Right off the bat, you have numerous presets across seven categories, including social media, gaming, and education, at your disposal. This software natively supports WebGL and HTML5 canvas outputs. Plus, it lets you create Flash formats, package Adobe AIR apps, and more.

VR Panorama and VR 360 are some of the more advanced presets available in Animate. Both are optimized for building interactive virtual reality content for the Web.

Due to its flexibility, you can make your creations viewable anywhere without any Adobe Animate plugin whatsoever.

Supported Files

Adobe Animate supports various file types, including:

  • APR
  • AS
  • FLA
  • JSFL
  • Uncompressed XFL
  • SWC
  • SWF

Not only that, you can import a slew of graphics, audio, and video formats into Animate. The more external artwork and sounds you can use, the easier it is to enrich your animations.

With QuickTime 4 or up, you can unlock 8 more Adobe Animate file types, 6 of which are audio ones.

Assets

Animate has ready-to-use assets so that you can work faster and more conveniently. They have their own panel, which Adobe recently enhanced in its June 2021 release.

Adobe Animate CC assets

This new and improved Assets panel features two tabs: default and custom. The former contains pre-loaded animated, static, and audio assets, whereas the latter includes those you export.

In the default tab, you can download more assets. Over in the custom tab, you can save assets, including scenes, symbols, bitmaps, as objects, rigs, and rigged objects.

Moreover, Animate makes it possible to share and use assets in multiple FLA files. This functionality eliminates the need for unwanted duplicates and automatically applies changes across the board.

Basic Tools

Is Adobe Animate for beginners? Definitely! Here are some of the most essential tools for those of us with lower skill levels:

  • Pencil - By using this tool, you can draw and edit basic characters made up of freehand lines and shapes.
  • Brush - Like the pencil tool, it can help you produce natural artwork. It’s customizable, so you can define the brush’s parameters, including angle and shape, as you please.
  • Pen - If you want to sketch straight or curved objects, the pen tool is your best friend.
  • Ellipsis - This is the ultimate tool for creating perfect circles and ovals.
  • Rectangle - This is the square and rectangle equivalent of the Ellipsis tool.
  • Transformation Anchor - In the Adobe Animate app, you can easily reshape the curved segments of an asset. You can do this by dragging the anchor points of the segments you want to adjust.
  • Bone - This tool can animate graphic characters using inverse kinematics (IK). IK is a means of making components of an object move in parent-child relationships. You can think of these individual components as interconnected bones that influence each other’s movement.
  • Free Transform - With this Adobe Animate tool, you can skew, scale, and rotate objects with absolute freedom.
  • Camera - To bring a cinematic feel to your animation, you can emulate the movement of a virtual camera with this tool. You can zoom in and out of an object, pan with the frame’s subject, and rotate the virtual camera.

In addition, you can apply color effects to set and change the tone of a scene. You can also change the focal point by drawing the viewer’s attention from one subject to another.

Frames and Keyframes

Like films, Animate divides your composition into frames, which dictate time segments and object and/or character movement. They determine when visuals appear, the speed they playback at, and the content’s overall length.

When you introduce a new object, the frame becomes a keyframe. They unlock settings for positions, anchor points, actions, comments, etc.

If you want control over certain aspects of your Animate document, a keyframe with ActionScript code lets you do so.

They don’t have to contain anything. A blank one enables you to save a spot for a symbol you may want to add later. Additionally, you can use it to leave the frame empty intentionally.

Furthermore, different span types let you decide whether the content changes or stays the same within a specified period. At a push of a button, you also can select a range of frames sandwiched together by two keyframes.

Layers

Layers are like filmstrips laid on top of one another. Each layer contains a different visual that appears on the stage - the area where you place graphics.

In the Adobe Animate software, every new document contains just one layer. Adding more is necessary to control and organize the other elements in your composition.

You can inject as many layers as your computer’s memory permits. You’re also able to rearrange, lock, or hide them as you wish.

The number of layers you use is inconsequential when it comes to SWF file size. It’s the objects you put into them that increase the size of your document.

Normal, mask, guide, motion tween, and armature layers are the ones you can use in this Adobe 2D animation software. The ones associated with mask and guide are called masked and guided, respectively.

You can create parent-child hierarchies between layers so that interrelated symbols move naturally. Layer parenting is a drag-and-drop feature. This means you can assign which ones become the children of which parents by dragging one onto the other.

Timeline

The timeline displays where the scene occurs in the animation. Representing the bottom panel, it keeps your frames and layers organized and controlled.

Adobe Animate CC timeline

Other than frames and layers, the playhead is the third major component of the timeline. It moves as you play your animation, indicating the exact frame on the stage.

In the timeline header, you can find the frame numbers. Above it, you see the time in seconds. This way, it’s easy to take note of its per-second value.

Animate’s timeline is rich in controls such as layer view, layer depth, and camera. Its improved aesthetics simplifies the way you view frame intervals and read the time marker. Likewise, it includes buttons for making keyframes, blanks, and more.

Symbols

In Animate, the most common symbol types are Graphic and MovieClip. Graphic symbols move when you scrub the timeline, but their MovieClip counterparts remain still.

Using many Adobe Animate tools like the frame picker, you can alter the looping options for Graphic symbols. To modify MovieClip ones, you can play with color effects and filters.

Tweening

Animate has two main types of tween: classic and motion.

Usually, the first one is used in traditional video-based animations. Whereas the second is the preferable choice for interactive content.

Either type lets you experiment with a multitude of transitions between intermediate frames. Scale, position, rotation, and color are qualities you can use to create the illusion of motion.

With different easing options, you can further explore how your character performs actions.

The third type of tween is shape tweening. It’s designed for morphing lines, shapes, text, and/or freehand artwork into other things. To infuse your composition with more character, you may apply a mask and add a gradient.

To animate the transformation of one object into another, you can use hints. You assign them to the first and second objects. Their placement tells the Adobe Animate software which spots should end up where to avoid awkward transitions.

Modern Rigging

To create a rig in Animate, use the asset warp tool.

Its key capabilities include creating and changing hard and soft bones, modifying the mesh density, and freezing joints. This Adobe Animate tool lets you rotate bones or specify the angle of your chosen ones.

On top of that, you can add or remove the pin without impacting the tween. Being able to activate or disable pin propagation across keyframes is a great addition as well.

Onion Skinning

Onion skinning enables you to overlay earlier or later frames in the current one. This feature works with frame-by-frame animation as well as symbol-based.

Unlike in the older versions of the Adobe Animate app, executing this option is more straightforward in today’s iteration.

Onion skinning has a dedicated button for enabling and disabling it. You can quickly include or exclude frames within its range by right-clicking an onion skin.

Colors, starting opacity, and range constraints are some of the parameters you can define. There’s also a mode that tells Animate to render only the keyframes within the onion skin range.

Auto Lip-Syncing

In Animate, lip-syncing is a breeze. This software leverages Adobe Sensei’s machine learning technology to automatically match mouth poses to sound inflections. Adopting a lip-syncing feature based on artificial intelligence can be a huge time-saver.

To get started, draw mouth shapes and convert them into Graphic symbols. You also need to select a master mouth pose symbol for Animate to reference.

Afterward, import your audio and then assign visemes (speech sounds that look the same) to individual sounds.

3D Features

Animate isn’t well-known for being an Adobe 3D animation software for a good reason.

It can’t match Autodesk Maya’s advanced modeling prowess, nor can it rival Maxon’s Cinema 4D or Blender’s texturing brilliance.

Nevertheless, you can use Animate to add a third dimension to your 2D compositions utilizing various tricks.

For starters, mastering camera placement and movement can help you control how your artwork looks on screen. Also, by wielding 3D translation and transformation tools, you can consistently lend your objects and characters a sense of depth.

Publish

Being able to export animations to different platforms has always been characteristic of Animate.

But since the rollout of its October 2020 update, the new quick publish option has been available. It streamlines the publication of videos, animated GIFs, and HTML5 canvas outputs.

In addition, you can immediately post your work on Twitter and YouTube with one click via social share. To help optimize your content for search, you can add a title, a description, and hashtags.

Ease of Use and Interface

Reminiscent of Flash Professional, you’d find its interface familiar if you’re experienced.

Actually, its appearance looks more organized than ever. Adobe has done an incredible job categorizing Adobe Animate tools and making the app’s layout super space-efficient.

Adobe Animate interface

But like most robust animation programs, Animate may intimidate beginners. Adobe could only simplify its capabilities so much. It would take a ton of practice to understand its ins and outs.

Immersion can undoubtedly accelerate your progress. Unfortunately, Adobe surprisingly doesn’t have many meaningful tutorials.

Thankfully, you can use CartoonSmart to get a handle on the Adobe Animate Mac or PC app more quickly.

If you’re a hobbyist who can’t dedicate yourself to mastering an industry-standard animation program, you’ll be better off with Vyond.

Vyond is browser-based and isn’t as resource-intensive. Even kids can use it on old computers. No wonder many YouTubers love Vyond so much.

In Animate’s defense, Adobe has optimized it mainly for its own user base.

Using Illustrator, you won’t have to bring your assets outside of Adobe’s ecosystem to breathe life into them.

Granted, Photoshop does support animation to some extent. Plus, there are online communities that recommend it more than Animate. But the former isn’t an animation app through and through like the latter is.

So if you’re serious about building quality animations, it’s essential to understand that Photoshop doesn’t compare to the Adobe 2D animation software.

Performance-wise, I experienced some sluggishness only because there was a problem with Animate’s parent app, Creative Cloud. It sorted itself out, and Animate worked smoothly after that.

Although this software isn’t without known issues, it’s a shortlist. Plus, it’s encouraging that Adobe developers work tirelessly to fix bugs and fine-tune its feature set. In fact, over the past two years, they’ve released three Animate updates each year.

Pricing

Animate has personal and business editions. As standalone products, you can pay for either of them on a monthly or an annual basis.

This subscription model is the complete opposite of Anime Studio Pro 11’s licensing, which involves a one-off payment.

So, how much does Adobe Animate cost? Have a look at the prices of its two editions and what they have to offer.

Prepaid Annual Animate for Individuals

$19.99/month

100-GB cloud storage Access to Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio, & latest updates

Adobe Animate for Teams

$33.99 per user/month

Access to Adobe Fonts, Adobe Portfolio, & latest updates 1-TB cloud storage Instant asset synchronization across devices Web-based administration console Microsoft Teams & Slack integrations 24/7 tech support 2 1-on-1 expert sessions per user per year Unlimited job posts on Adobe Talent

At the time of writing this Adobe Animate CC review, the personal edition comes with a seven-day free trial. The best part is that it requires no payment information.

If you keep it, you can pay with your credit card or PayPal and get a 14-day money-back guarantee too.

If you sign up for the paid monthly annual subscription, you'll pay a termination fee for canceling after 14 days. This charge is equivalent to 50% of the remaining period of your contract.

If you finish the subscription, it will renew without any annual commitment. The company’s help desk suspiciously wouldn’t confirm whether the regular monthly subscription’s cost would be the Adobe Animate renewal price or not. Although the sales rep I spoke with said that it’s negotiable.

To get more value for your money, buy the Creative Cloud subscription instead. It costs 60% more, but it includes 26 other apps like InDesign and XD.

Verdict

According to some Adobe Animate CC reviews, this app should’ve faded into oblivion at the turn of the decade. But it’s safe to say that it’s here to stay.

Despite the limitations of its 3D capability, its inclusion in Creative Cloud makes it harder for many creatives to dismiss it. Its frequent updates are proof Adobe isn’t going to let it go quietly into the night.

Although it’s still worth the novice’s while, animation beginners may find more user-friendly apps more appealing. Especially with the lack of an Adobe Animate free edition, you only have seven days to test it.

Unfortunately, this software’s functionality is hard to grasp, although not necessarily because of its complexity. There’s just so much you need to learn and too few Adobe resources to consult that can advance your knowledge.

But if you immerse yourself in learning it during your free trial, its intuitive interface should make your life easier.

I say, give it a go. It’s risk-free, so you have nothing to lose.

FAQ.


What is Adobe Animate CC used for?

Animate is designed for animating practically anything. Using it, you can publish your work on a wide variety of platforms in almost any format.

Games, e-learning materials, advertisements, and feature-length films are some of the web and mobile content you can build with it.

Is Animate CC good?

Yes, it’s a capable program.

However, it’s not the best 2D animation app on the market; that crown goes to Harmony. It isn’t a smart choice for 3D animation either - Autodesk Maya would be the way to go for that.

Typically, hand-drawing animators gravitate toward either Pencil2D or Animation Paper. As for stop motion creatives, they usually prefer Dragonframe over the rest.

Using Animate makes the most sense when you use other Adobe products. It natively integrates with the likes of Lightroom. You can also seamlessly create and move your assets across Adobe apps through the Creative Cloud library.

Is Adobe Animate CC good for beginners?

Not so much.

Despite being extremely well-organized, Animate can be overwhelming to new users because of its array of tools.

To learn the ropes of 2D animation more quickly, go with simpler apps like Animaker or Vyond. If you’re interested in 3D animation, Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Blender are the best for newbies.

Is Adobe Animate free?

No, it doesn’t have a free version.

Nevertheless, you can arrange a demo and test Animate for seven days at no cost.

How much is Adobe Animate CC?

Animate licenses range from $19.99 to $39.99 a month.

However, if you buy a more expensive Creative Cloud subscription, you can get Animate along with 26 other Adobe products.

To know what’s included in which subscription, go back to my Adobe Animate CC review above for details.

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Romj Amon

Romj Amon

Romj is a veteran copywriter who used to be a Jack of all trades. Now, he's trying to be a master of one: technology. He jumps down the rabbit hole to size the latest innovations up. As a content contributor for TechJury, he hopes to help you keep up in our fast-paced world with his discoveries.

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