Adobe always has awesome and powerful products and my hesitancy with it is more about their business model. Some time ago, Adobe went to the monthly fee price, and if you signed up for all of Adobe’s products in Canada, with the Cyber Monday deal that knocks a bunch off the cost, it is still $40 US a month, or about $52 a month/$600 a year. That’s pretty freakin’ steep. Now, maybe that doesn’t seem fair, because that’s ALL of Adobe together. Except here’s the kicker…while LightRoom and Photoshop are uber powerful, they are way more complexity than I want for my simple photography needs. InDesign for page layout might be nice, but again, overkill. Illustrator would be a nice-to-have as would Premiere for video editing. Even Acrobat Pro would come in handy from time to time. I could probably find a use for Spark, InDesign, and Audition too.
But none of them are “must-haves”, not like MS Office for instance. If Adobe dropped it to $100 a year, I’d say sign me up. At $600 a year? Yeah, no.
But I can license them separately if I find one I like, and Adobe has three products on my list — Flash, After Effects and Character Animator. While lots of people still use Flash even in 2020, it’s being phased out for website use and not generally recommended much anymore, so easily dropped.
AfterEffects is more about motion graphics in general, so not really what I want either.
Which leaves Character Animator.
1. Character Animator ($$$$$)
I downloaded ACA with their free 7 day trial and it seemed pretty powerful at first. It has some stock “puppets” to work with, including some anamorphic characters (monsters, etc.) and humans (man, woman, ninja). So some good stock characters.
I did a couple of tutorials and the interface is not particularly compelling for me. One of the features, quite common I know, is that you can use your own webcam and microphone to animate the character. So, for example, if I move my head side to side, or bob around, the characters head moves too. Equally, I can record my voice over the character and it will (in theory) lip sync to my words. Not very accurately, but a pseudo replica of my movements.
Which is okay, but not compelling to me. I closed out, checked some stuff back in email, did a couple more things, and went to go back to it. It wouldn’t load. Total crash. Okay, shut down, reboot? Nope, won’t load. I’m not sold on it, and it is more expensive than most because of the subscription model, so I’ll just uninstall it.
Nope. It insists on loading the Creative Cloud tool (CC) first, and it keeps hanging. The help page says reinstall. Why would I reinstall just to uninstall? Sigh. I eventually had to download ANOTHER uninstaller to get the first uninstaller to work. Nice.
And to be honest, this is one of the things I hate most about Adobe products. When I’ve used their Lightroom, for example, it didn’t just help me manage my files, it started doing a whole bunch of changes to folders and subfolders and meta data so that nothing else would be able to manage it either. That’s not an option I accept, particularly when I have other tools with better interfaces for some functions.
Okay, all of Adobe is definitely off the table. Too bad.