This Adobe Tool Can Bring Silly Characters to Life With Just Your Webcam

Some of Adobe’s professional video and compositing software was updated today, and one of the coolest new features is Character Animator, which tracks your own movements through a webcam, and maps them onto any custom made character you want, with very little effort.


The new tool is part of After Effects CC, and looks like a super easy and pretty darned magical way for artists to make their creations move realistically. As you can see in the GIF, and the video below that Adobe produced, the animation occurs in real time and requires only an Illustrator file with each layer labeled according to a naming convention that identifies each part for the software to interpret.

Your character will move up down and around as you do, and its lips will even move to match your speech, though the fidelity of this feature looks pretty rough. Still, this looks like a super cool way to lower the bar for people wanting to create complex animations without the tedious keyframing usually involved in plotting such motion.

Character Animator is in its infancy, and though Adobe is releasing a preview version to Creative Cloud subscribers, expect the tool’s functionality to grow and evolve along with user feedback. The After Effects update does not have a firm ship date, but should appear in the coming months.

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Would love to see some users vector their own face and try it just to check the accuracy. It’s a bit puppet-warpy for my tastes, but could be great for beginners and hobbyists. However, I am dreading the crap ton of YouTube mediocrity that will come of this being used badly.