Unleash Your Creativity with Adobe Animate 23
Adobe Animate has its roots dating back to 1996, when it was known as FutureSplash Animator. Later, Macromedia acquired it and rebranded it as Flash. However, this is not an attempt to revive Flash. Adobe has taken the best aspects of the old platform and transformed it into a user-friendly 2D animation tool, which has been updated and improved over time.
Subscribing to Animate as a standalone app may not be cost-effective at £20 per month, but it may be included in one of Adobe’s Creative Cloud packages, which offer over 20 other tools. The interface of Animate is familiar and intuitive, with a recognizable welcome screen, templates, and customizable options. The interface features a sidebar with tools on the left, properties on the right, and the canvas taking up most of the screen, with the timeline and layers beneath it. It feels like a combination of Photoshop and Premiere Pro or a simplified version of After Effects.
Animate is limited to 2D animation, suitable for creating simple banner ads and side-scrolling games. It does not offer the extensive features of a high-end tool like After Effects, but its ease of use compensates for its lack of versatility and power.
One of the standout features of Animate is the Asset Warp tool. This allows you to bring motion to an object that wasn’t originally created for animation, such as an image. However, for this to work, the layer you’re working on must have a transparent background. With that set up, you use the Asset Warp tool to create a type of exoskeleton, which tells Animate how the various parts of the object should move and connect with each other.
It’s important to note that there are limitations to the Asset Warp tool. For example, if the object you’re working on is a person and their left arm is obscured, it won’t suddenly become visible when you warp the object. The name “warp” should be a clue – the object is distorted based on the exoskeleton you created to give the illusion of movement. Despite these limitations, the results can be impressive.
Animating an object is done through the traditional keyframe process, where you set a start point, move along the timeline, set an end point, and Animate takes care of the rest by calculating the changes in the object’s position, size, orientation, and movement between the two frames. Another helpful feature is the onion skin visual mode, which shows you the difference between two frames, making it easier to identify what needs to be improved.
When it comes to exporting your work, you have the option to render an MP4 video or an animated GIF and share it directly to Twitter and YouTube. However, these options are limited, so you may need to manually upload it elsewhere if you need more options.
Adobe Animate has a host of exciting new features, with Flexibones standing out to me. This feature, when used in conjunction with the Asset Warp tool, allows you to specify the hardness, softness or flexibility of different sections of an object, resulting in a more realistic animation between keyframes.
The Envelope Deformer is another flexible tool, offering a convenient way to deform the edges of an object using Bézier handles. This feature makes it easier and faster for users to control the deformation of their objects. Adobe Animate can be run on any modern Mac or PC without the need for high-performance video-editing computer.
Adobe continually adds new features to its software, and I hope to see HEIC image format support soon. Some Mac users may find the Windows-like shut down process, where clicking on the red button closes the program rather than just the file, to be an annoyance.
However, these are minor issues in comparison to the versatility and ease of use of Adobe Animate. It’s a fun and user-friendly piece of software that allows users to create smooth animations on a 2D canvas, with the new features enhancing the fluidity and control of the final product. While it may not be suitable for professional artists, Adobe Animate is perfect for amateur animators, especially those who already have a Creative Cloud subscription.