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Download Animate: How to try Adobe Animate for free or with Creative Cloud

Try out this industry-standard animation software now

Adobe Animate Website
(Image: © Adobe)

Adobe Animate is a versatile 2D animation program that can be used to create all sorts of animated and interactive content, such as advertisements, TV cartoons, and games. It’s part of the Creative Cloud suite of software developed by Adobe.

Due to the different pricing plans available for Adobe software, it’s not always obvious what the most cost-effective way to access apps like Animate is. In this feature, we’ll explain how to download Adobe Animate on a free trial basis, the various pricing plans and discounts available, and the alternatives you might consider.

Download a free trial of Adobe Animate today

If you want to test out Adobe's 2D animation program for yourself, you can do so by downloading a free seven-day trial from Adobe. This way you can create all sorts of animated and interactive content while seeing if the software is right for you. If you cancel before the trial is up then you won't have to pay anything. However, you can also upgrade to a paid subscription before the trial is up or even after it's over.

Can I download Animate for free?

You can claim a seven-day free trial of Animate. To find this, go to the Animate section of Adobe’s website—it should be the top Google result for “Adobe Animate”—and click Free Trial in the top menu. You will be given the choice of trying out Animate on its own or a trial of the Creative Cloud All Apps package.

When you register for the trial, you’re required to give Adobe your payment details, and when the trial expires, a paid subscription automatically begins. If you don’t want to commit to the subscription, you can avoid this by canceling before the trial runs out—make sure you do so if you don’t want to end up with a cancellation fee.

You can try out all of Animate’s features during the trial period and decide whether it’s the right software for your needs. After the week’s over, however, there’s no way to continue using Animate for free, so you’ll need to look into the payment plans offered.

How do I buy Animate?

On the Animate page on Adobe’s website, the Buy Now and Choose A Plan buttons will take you to the page where you can see the various plans offered. Unlike with some other software, you can’t pay a one-off fee to purchase Animate outright; all of the plans are subscription-based.

A decision you have to make is whether to subscribe to Animate on its own or sign up for the Creative Cloud All Apps package. This gives you over 20 creative apps, including Animate as well as video editing app Premiere Pro, motion graphics software After Effects, and 3D rendering program Dimension. If you’ll use three or more of the apps included, then this All Apps package is likely to be the more cost-effective option for you.

Animate Pricing

Adobe offers various pricing options for Animate (Image credit: Adobe)

What's the price of Animate

The standard plan for Animate costs $20.99 per month, with the catch that you must commit on an annual basis. If you cancel before the year is over, you must pay 50% of your remaining subscription as a cancellation fee. For the higher price of $31.49 per month, you can subscribe on a monthly basis with no commitment, meaning you can pause the subscription for months if you don’t need it. Or you can buy a whole year’s subscription for one payment of $239.88.

If you’ll use Animate regularly, then the annual subscription is your best option. For more on-and-off animators, picking up a monthly subscription as and when needed can be more cost-effective.

With the Creative Cloud All Apps plan, a similar pricing structure applies: $52.99 per month with an annual commitment; $79.49 on a month-to-month basis with no annual commitment; or $599.88 for a full year.

Note that you can cancel any Adobe subscription and get a full refund within the first 14 days.

Animate discounts for teachers and students

Adobe offers an education discount scheme through which students and teachers can subscribe to the Creative Cloud All Apps package—including Animate and all the other apps, plus 100GB cloud storage—for a significantly discounted rate. 

The cost for the first year is the same as the cost of one app—$19.99 per month—then it rises slightly to $29.99 per month afterwards. Like with the standard plans, you’ll need to commit to paying for a year at a time. It’s possible to pay for a full year in advance, but there’s no discount for this. And you’ll need to provide proof you’re a student or teacher, such as a school-issued email address.

How can I get started with Animate

The downside of Animate being such a versatile and powerful program is that there’s a steep learning curve. If you’re struggling to get to grips with it, then you’ll want to check out the tutorials on Adobe’s website. There are both written guides and videos, and they’re divided into Beginner and Experienced sections, so you can learn the basics first before moving on to more advanced skills. 

Interface

This is Animate's user interface (Image credit: Adobe)

Animate: Key info you need to know

Adobe Animate is Adobe’s main 2D animation program, used by many professionals for television animation, web series, game development, and more. It has a long history, having begun in 1996 as FutureSplash Animator before evolving into Macromedia Flash, Adobe Flash Professional, and finally Adobe Animate. 

The current release is called Adobe Animate 2021 and is available for Windows computers running Windows 10 build 1703 or later and Macs running macOS 10.12 or later.

Animate: Android and iOS apps

Adobe Animate is a desktop-only app, and because it’s a very complex program, it’s unlikely that Adobe will develop a mobile version of it. Adobe does, however, offer Spark Post, an app for mobiles and tablets that can create animated social graphics; this is available for free, though it’s very basic compared to what can be done in Animate. 

Animate alternatives

If you decide that Adobe Animate isn’t the right choice for you, then there are plenty of alternatives available. One choice is OpenToonz, an open source animation program that’s available for free for Mac and Windows. It’s packed with features and is the software used by Studio Ghibli for their acclaimed feature films. 

Another option is Harmony, from the company Toon Booms. This is also used by industry leaders, in this case the likes of Cartoon Network and Universal. A basic version costs $25/month, while advanced and premium versions cost $63 and $115 per month, respectively.

There are also plenty of animation apps for mobile devices available; for example, Animation Desk lets you draw on your tablet and convert these drawings into frame animation, and is available for iOS and Android.