The early 2000s featured a charming YouTube trend that involved content creators drawing out the story of their lives on a bit of whiteboard while explaining where they’re from, who their dog is and how they came to explain what the best lipstick dupe is to thousands of viewers. Channeling this type of animation are whiteboard animation/explainer video solutions such as VideoScribe, Doodly, and Toonly. Let’s take a closer look at which of these software solutions are best to further your learning and development needs. 

What Are Whiteboard Animations?

Whiteboard animations focus the image on a static, whiteboard-style image. At that time, images are drawn onto the blank area. At the same time, the animation is accompanied by narration. Sounds simple? Sometimes the most simple of animations can be the most engaging. There’s something about the childlike naivete of these drawings that helps viewers follow the concepts. Additionally, we can easily project ourselves onto stick figures, often more so than more complex animations. 

What Are Animated Explainer Videos? 

Animated Explainer Videos are small animations used to teach learners about a new idea or product. They tend to be short and sweet, 90 seconds or less, to ensure audiences can follow along. It requires specific tailoring to the intended audience. Additionally, creating them using brand colors helps connect concepts to particular businesses. 

VideoScribe

Sparkol launched VideoScribe in 2012. Sparkol believes that there’s a brilliant storyteller in every person. Their product offering helps get those stories out into the world in an accessible, quick, and affordable way. No more having learners’ faces glaze over, more having them wide-eyed and engaged. Four thousand videos are created every day, 2 million worldwide users, six thousand images in the library. The impressive numbers don’t lie. 

Advantages

  • Super easy: with drag and drop capabilities at your fingertips, the learning curve is short. Select your images, type what you’d like to say, add music or voiceover, and VideoScribe will create the perfect animation. 
  • Speedy: we’re talking minutes spent on making something memorable and captivating. 
  • Value for Money: Create an unlimited amount of animations for the same price.
  • Image and music library access at your fingertips
  • Fantastic customer support
  • Used by the BBC, World Bank Group, and the NYC Department of Education. 
  • Cross-platform and cloud compatible. 

Disadvantages

  • Currently does not support mobile phones. 
  • Vector, especially PNG, rendering glitches and can pixelate even higher resolution images. If you are more likely to utilize custom graphics, this will be a problem for you. 
  • Missing basic audio-editor. 

Doodly

Bryxen, the creators of Doodly, has a simple mission, to allow regular people (not the artists in the room with years of video creation experience) to create professional and engaging videos at the snap of their fingers. The company prides itself on acting with integrity, continuing to innovate without overwhelming and deliver excellent value. 

What do two hundred characters, twenty different poses each, 20 additional background scenes, and hundreds of props give you? (Almost) endless possibilities. At least more endless than math I can do on the fly without grabbing a calculator. 

Advantages

  • Whiteboard animations in minutes for people who do not have an art or design background. 
  • Speedy: animations in minutes, not hours. 
  • Take animation into your own hands rather than outsourcing. 
  • Greenscreen animations are well supported. 
  • Doodly Smart Draw Technology (patent-pending) creates draw paths on existing images and adds your imagery. 
  • Different hand sizes with diverse ethnicities to showcase the unique value of your learners and organization. 
  • Record audio into Doodly. 
  • No stock images; all sketch images have been created by professional artists for Doodly.
  • Access to a Facebook group full of other creatives. Share ideas, get help, and be inspired. 
  • Works offline.

Disadvantages

  • Slow to export completed videos. Rendering is a slow process. 
  • You cannot edit individual characters and props. 

Toonly

Brixen’s other offering, Toonly, is a different spin on the drawn simplicity of whiteboard animation. Instead, Toonly helps you create animated explainer videos to get your point across. They are considered entertaining, informative, and creative. The complex becomes simple when Bob, the cartoon, explains a new concept with ease. 

Advantages

  • Created by the makers of Doodly, the software comes with years of know-how and reliable data on customer engagement. 
  • No design or technical skills are needed. Any layperson with a dash of creativity can use it. 
  • Toonly’s customer service team, coupled with step-by-step tutorials, help you create an explainer video in minutes. 
  • Ability to self-sufficiently create explainer videos in minutes without having to employ designers. No need to explain lengthy briefs. Take the process back into your own hands. 

Disadvantages

  • Outdated looking characters: the charm of Doodly’s simplicity is lost when coupled with color. 
  • Lack of subtitle availability, an additional tool needs to be used to create accessibility for those with hearing impairment. 
  • Limiting cartoons and pictures. 

How do I choose?

I wish I could choose for you, but the thing t remember is, you know your own business, and EdTech needs far better than I do. Do you want simple animations with the ability to import additional items? Do you want to teach in color? All of these considerations will inform which of these are the best option for you. However, they all offer excellent service and products, and I would not hesitate to use any of them. Thankfully, they all offer free trials. You can browse at your leisure and find the perfect animation product for you. The ideal tool to create the animations of your dreams is out there. Watch out, Pixar!