Master Adobe Animator: Guide to Rigging & Animation
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


  1. Getting familiar with Adobe Animator
  2. How to set up your animation workspace
  3. Preparation of your animation assets
  4. Rigging techniques in Adobe Animator
  5. How to animate characters with rigging
  6. Applying effects and adding depth to animations
  7. Animation timeline management
  8. Finalizing and exporting your animation

Are you eager to delve into the world of animation? Looking to upgrade your skills and master Adobe Character Animator? You've landed in the right place! In this blog, we’ll take a step-by-step tour through the process of character rigging and animation in Adobe Animator. Buckle up and prepare to widen your animation horizons.

Getting familiar with Adobe Animator

Before you dive headfirst into animation and rigging, it's important to understand the tool you're using — Adobe Animator. Adobe Animator is a powerhouse for creating interactive animations. It's user-friendly, efficient, and packed with features to help bring your characters to life. Let's break down some of its key features:

  • Layer Parenting: This feature allows you to link layers together. Move one layer, and the linked ones follow suit. It's like having a group of obedient pets — you move, they follow!
  • Auto Lip-Sync: No need to animate every single word. Just input the voiceover, and Adobe Animator will take care of the lip-syncing. It's like having your own personal lip-reading expert!
  • Asset Warp: This feature allows you to deform and twist your assets in any way you want. It's like playdough for your characters — mold and shape them as you please.

These are just a few examples of what Adobe Animator has to offer. As you dive deeper into the world of Adobe Character Animator character rigging and animation, you'll discover even more tools and features at your disposal. So, are you ready to explore this animation playground? Let's move on to setting up your workspace.

How to set up your animation workspace

Now, let's talk about setting up your animation workspace in Adobe Animator. Think of it like preparing your artist's studio before you get down to the fun part — painting or in this case, animating.

First things first, open up Adobe Animator. On the right side, you'll notice a series of panels. These are your tools and materials:

  • Properties: This is where you can adjust the properties of your selected item. Think of it as your control panel.
  • Project: Picture this as your storage box. It's where all your imported files live.
  • Timeline: Here's where the magic of motion happens. The timeline panel is where you'll animate your character over time.

But here's the best part: you can customize your workspace however you want. Need the timeline at the top? Simply drag and drop. Want the properties panel on the left? You got it. Adobe Animator allows you to tailor your workspace to your preferences, making the process of Adobe character animator character rigging and animation as smooth as possible.

So, you've set up your workspace and you're raring to go. What's next? Let's talk about preparing your animation assets.

Preparation of your animation assets

Now that your workspace is all set up, it's time to prepare for the main event: creating and animating your character. But before you start transforming stick figures into superheroes, you need to gather your assets. Think of this as your character's costume fitting before the big show.

Your animation assets are all the elements that make up your character. These can include things like:

  • Body parts: You'll need separate images for each part of the body you want to animate — for example, the head, torso, arms, and legs.
  • Facial features: Want to make your character blink or smile? You'll need individual assets for the eyes, mouth, and other facial features.
  • Props: If your character is going to hold a magic wand or play a guitar, you'll need assets for these too.

You can create these assets in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, or you can download pre-made assets online. Just make sure they're in a format Adobe Animator can use, like .png or .ai.

Once you've got all your assets ready, import them into Adobe Animator and organize them in your Project panel. Now, you're ready to start the exciting process of Adobe character animator character rigging and animation. Let's dive in!

Rigging techniques in Adobe Animator

With your animation assets in place, let's roll up our sleeves and get to the heart of Adobe character animator character rigging and animation. Rigging is like giving your character a skeleton — it's what enables your character to move.

Start by opening the rigging workspace in Adobe Animator. Here, you'll see your character's assets laid out like a puppet, ready to be rigged. You'll also see the Puppet panel, which is your control center for rigging.

First, assign each asset a role using tags. Tags tell Adobe Animator which parts of the character are what. For instance, you can tag an asset as a 'right arm' or 'left eye'. Adobe Animator even has built-in tags for common body parts, so you don't have to start from scratch.

Next, add handles. Handles are points that guide how your character moves. For instance, you might add handles at the joints of the arms and legs. You also need a handle called the origin, which acts as a sort of anchor for your character.

Another nifty tool is the dangle tool. Dangle points make parts of your character move as if they're being pulled by gravity. Think about a character's hair bouncing as they move — that's the work of dangle points.

Lastly, you can add sticks for extra control over your character's movements. Sticks act like bones, limiting how far a character's limbs can bend. You might use sticks for a character's arms, for example, to stop them from bending unnaturally.

And voila! Your character is rigged and ready for animation. The process might feel a bit like a puzzle at first, but with practice, you'll be rigging characters like a pro in no time.

How to animate characters with rigging

Now that your character is rigged and ready, it’s time to breathe life into them with animation. As you now know, the rigging process has already laid the foundation for your character's movements. The next step in Adobe character animator character rigging and animation is to actually animate your character — to make it talk, walk, and express emotions.

Start by turning on the camera and microphone. Adobe Animator uses your facial expressions and voice to animate your character in real-time. Want your character to blink? Just blink. Want your character to talk? Start talking, and Adobe Animator will move your character's mouth to match!

For more complex movements, like walking, you'll need to use the Walk behavior. This feature automatically animates your character walking. All you need to do is tell Adobe Animator whether your character is standing, walking, or running. You can even adjust the stride and arm swing of your character.

What about emotions? Adobe Animator has you covered there too. The Face behavior allows you to animate your character's facial expressions. From a simple smile to a raised eyebrow, you can control it all. You can also directly manipulate your character's features using the draggable handles you placed during the rigging process.

And there you have it! With rigging and these animation techniques, you've just become a puppet master in the realm of Adobe Animator. Remember, animation is all about bringing characters to life, so don't be afraid to experiment and have fun!

Applying effects and adding depth to animations

Great, your character is now moving and expressing emotions, but it's time to take your animation to the next level. How? By applying effects and adding depth to your animations. This aspect of Adobe character animator character rigging and animation gives your creations a touch of realism and professionalism.

First off, let's talk about effects. Adobe Animator offers a variety of effects that can enhance your animation, from simple color adjustments to more complex visual effects. For example, you can use the 'Roughen Edges' effect to give your character a more hand-drawn look, or the 'Bulge' effect to exaggerate certain parts of your character for comedic effect. But remember, less is more when it comes to effects. Using too many can quickly turn your animation from professional to amateurish.

Now, let's dive into adding depth. Depth creates the illusion of three dimensions in your 2D animation, making your characters feel more alive and part of a real-world environment. One way to add depth is through layering. By placing certain elements in front of others, you create a sense of foreground and background. Another technique is to use shadows. By adding shadows to your characters and objects, you give the impression that they are existing in a three-dimensional space.

An additional way to add depth is through parallax scrolling. This is when the background moves slower than the foreground, creating an illusion of depth. Adobe Animator makes this easy with the 'Parallax' behavior, wherein you can assign different speeds to different layers.

Applying effects and adding depth are vital elements in creating a compelling animation. They transform your flat drawings into a vibrant, dynamic world. So go on, give your animation that extra oomph!

Animation timeline management

Alright, we've rigged our characters, made them move, and added some depth and effects. It's looking good! But how do we manage all these elements over time? This is where animation timeline management comes into play.

The timeline in Adobe Character Animator is your control center for your animation's flow. It's where you can adjust the timing of your character's movements, sync their lip movement with the audio, and much more.

Firstly, let's understand the timeline. It runs from left to right, with each second divided into frames. The number of frames per second, or your frame rate, can be adjusted depending on your project's needs. A common frame rate for most animations is 24 frames per second. This ensures smooth motion without using up too much computer processing power.

Now, each character or object in your animation has its own layer in the timeline. Think of these layers like the separate pieces of a puppet—you can move each one independently of the others. This way, you can animate one character while keeping the others static, or vice versa.

Lastly, the timeline also features keyframes. Keyframes are specific points in time where you set a property of your character, like their position or expression. By setting different keyframes, Adobe Animator automatically fills in the motion between these points, creating smooth, natural movement.

Remember, managing your timeline properly is just as important as designing your characters or animating their movements. It ensures your animation flows smoothly and maintains a good pacing, keeping your audience engaged from start to finish.

Finalizing and exporting your animation

Congratulations! You've made it to the final stage of your Adobe Character Animator journey. It's time to add those finishing touches and get your masterpiece ready for the world to see.

Before you start exporting your animation, it's wise to take a step back and review your work. Look for any inconsistencies in character movements or any part of the animation that doesn't seem smooth. You may want to adjust the timing between keyframes, or tweak the position of a character. Remember, small changes can have a big impact on the overall quality of your animation.

Next, consider adding some final touches to enhance your animation. Maybe you could add a background music track, or sound effects to match your character's actions. You could also play around with color and lighting effects to create the perfect mood for your animation.

Once you're happy with your work, it's time to export your animation. Adobe Character Animator offers several options for this. You could export your animation as a video file, which you can then share on social media or your website. Or, you could export it as a sequence of images, which you can use for a more detailed post-production process.

Whichever option you choose, make sure to select the right settings for your needs. For example, if you're sharing your animation online, you might want to reduce the file size for faster loading times. Conversely, if you're planning to display your animation on a large screen, you'll want to maintain a high resolution for the best quality.

And there you have it! You've just learned how to create, rig, animate, and export your own characters using Adobe Character Animator. It's a journey, but with practice, you'll be creating stunning animations in no time. Good luck!

If you're looking to expand your skills in animation, check out the workshop 'Basic Character Creation in Blender' by Jonathan K. Although the workshop focuses on Blender, the principles and techniques covered can also be applied to Adobe Animator. This workshop will help you strengthen your foundation in character creation and rigging, giving you the confidence to tackle more complex animations.