If you’ve never heard of Adobe Character Animator before, you’re in for a treat. With this software, you can animate your creations in real-time for your viewers. Turn your streams into colorful, 2D adventures and take your audience along for the fun. Today we’ll give you a rundown of the software and show you how to use it on your streams. You definitely won’t want to miss this!

What Is Adobe Character Animator?

image of a cartoon fox for Adobe character animator

Adobe Character Animator is an animation software that uses motion tracking to bring avatars, or “puppets,” as Adobe calls them, to life. This software is easy for beginners to understand but powerful enough for advanced artists to make some pretty incredible creations.  

If you read our article on VTubing for Beginners, you understand why some streamers may want to use a puppet rather than show their face on camera. Adobe offers quite a few free puppets available for use with Character Animator, and you can also upload your own puppet (or a purchased one) as long as it is an Adobe Illustrator (AI) or Photoshop (PSD) file. 

Professional Mode

Adobe Character Animator requires a Creative Cloud subscription, which is currently 54.99 USD per month. Using other Adobe software such as Illustrator, Photoshop, or Premiere Pro could be a worthwhile investment. Character Animator offers a 7-day free trial of the full software and “Starter Mode.” With Starter Mode, you can play around with puppets and record short videos. We’ll show you how to use Starter Mode a little bit later.

While aspiring VTubers who want to game may want to look into other options, Adobe Character Animator is an artist’s dream. Look at Julie Okahara’s streams (Julieee22 on Twitch), and you will be amazed at the interactive scenes she’s able to create with Character Animator. All of the gifs below were made from live recordings!

Image of a cartoon girl in her bedroom with flying saucers by Julie Okahara

Julie is the mayor of Doodletown, an incredible 2D world that she built using Character Animator. Doodletown has many characters and scenes, including a charming cafe where Barista-kun tends to customers. When Julie isn’t taking her followers on strolls, moped rides, or subway rides through Doodletown, she is crafting all sorts of accessories for her online shop.

GIF of the incredible artwork from Julie Okahara depicting a cartoon cafe scene

Julie allows her followers to add some aspects to the scenes using channel points, making her streams an enjoyable experience. Her channel is family-friendly, and she caters to both English and Japanese viewers. Julie is the perfect example of an artist, streamer, and small business owner who has taken full advantage of all the features that Adobe Character Animator offers.

image of a cartoon girl walking and dancing on a train by Julie Okahara

Starter Mode

If you’re not an artist or don’t want to pay the monthly fee to use Adobe Character Animator, you can use “Starter Mode” for free. Starter Mode is incredibly limited in what it can do: you can only record and export short clips. Still, Starter Mode is a great way to play around with puppets and get a feel for the software. Here’s how to get it:

image of Adobe homepage for Character Animator

Go to the Adobe Character Animator homepage and click the “Start for free” button. Follow the prompts to download the software. Soon, you’ll come to this screen:

Adobe Character Animator showing the wide variety of puppets to choose from

Here are a few of the puppets that Adobe Character Animator offers. Choose whichever you like. We’re going with Japanese schoolgirl “Rin” today.

Image of a cartoon girl in a Japanese school uniform against a springtime background

Sit in a neutral position and click the “Calibrate” button in the bottom right corner. Rin will now blink, talk, and change her expression to match.

Image of a cartoon school girl with a surprised expression in Adobe Character Animator

You can select a new background if you click on the “Background” button in the bottom right corner.

Image of the wide variety of backgrounds that Adobe Character Animator offers

We selected a nice cafe background. If you record a short video, the Character Animator will take you to this screen, where you can choose preexisting expressions from the list on the right and drag and drop them into your video.

Image of a cartoon school girl crying against a cafe background

If you enjoy Character Animator and want to upgrade to the Pro version, you can do so by clicking on the “App Mode” button in the top right corner.

Image from Adobe stating the differences between Starter Mode and the Pro version of Character Animator

How to Set Up Adobe Character Animator with Streamlabs Desktop

First, you’ll need an NDI receiver to use Adobe Character Animator. We have an article that shows you how to set up an NDI source in Streamlabs Desktop. Once done, you must add a new source and select NDI from the list.

image of source selection screen in Streamlabs Desktop with NDI highlighted
Will you try out Adobe Character Animator on your streams? We can’t wait to see what you’ll create with this innovative software. If you have additional questions, feel free to ask us on Twitter. Also, Okay Samurai on YouTube is a member of the Character Animator team and has a lot of helpful videos and tutorials for your viewing pleasure. Stay safe and happy streaming!


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