In the 1950s, the literal whiteboard was the new frontier in education. And, it was only in the 1990s that it was replaced by the blackboard in schoolrooms across the world. A few years later the purely, whitey, mighty became every corporate’s go-to medium to educate, train and enable their teams across the globe. And why wouldn’t they - it’s like an empty canvas waiting to be filled with ideas! Fast forward to 2009 - the whiteboard concept is applied to video and the result is nothing short of spectacular. But, before we dive deep into the current application and diverse usability of whiteboard animation, we need to go back to where it all started!
Let's quickly have a look at what we have in store, in this blog about Whiteboard Animation. You can jump to any of the following sections by clicking on a heading you wish to reach about:
Whiteboard animations aim to utilize several parts of our intelligence at once. Auditory, visual and to some degree kinesthetic, to hopefully cater for many different types of learners.
Historically, whiteboard cartoon animation emerged as a particular type of explainer video and pretty much did what it said on the tin – images, diagrams, and words were drawn onto a crisp, white background using a sharp, black marker pen. The blacks were accented with a punchy color that stood out against the black and white.
The images illustrated a spoken voice-over script that could be heard above the animation. The hand-drawn images brought concepts to life in a highly visual way using instantly recognizable symbols and images to reinforce the central messages of the script.
If we track down the origins of hand-drawn animation, the name that clicks in our minds is of RSA Animate! We are astounded by just how viral the RSA Animate films went, using the 'Whiteboard Video Production' as a medium.
Now, here are some questions: Are you more honest than a banker? Under what circumstances would you lie, or cheat, and what effect does your deception have on society at large? Dan Ariely, one of the world's leading voices on human motivation and behavior is the latest big thinker to get the RSA Animate treatment. Let’s watch it here:
This makes us want to understand what was driving those numbers and why people started going crazy for content to be delivered in this revolutionary way. It is now time to understand the diverse applications of whiteboard videos.
Whiteboard animation is a multiple-use tool, the creative equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife. It comes with a multitude of strengths and applications that can be used in almost any environment. The strongest outcome is information retention. Whiteboard Animation is designed with three key pillars of communication; audio, visual and text. As a result, it enables any audience to grasp the information through their preferred learning medium. This gives it an edge when used in Live Scribing or Animated Explainer Videos. Here are some reasons why Whiteboard Animation works wonders:
Here’s what Whiteboard Animations or Hand Drawn Videos are popularly used for:
An Internal training Video: Here's our collaboration with Groundhog-
A Process Explainer: Our collaboration with Christian Church Homes-
A Case Study by Ted-Ed on What Did Dogs Teach Humans About Diabetes?-
What’s more? They’re cost-effective and quick to work on as well - a perfect animation style for startups and small businesses. And while you have your choice of custom animation studios to choose from, if you are looking for quick results and wish to be the master of your own universe - then we have you covered on the top DIY whiteboard video makers for getting out your message quickly and efficiently.
With an idea of course! Preferably a structured idea as to what you want to communicate and what ultimate experience you want to give to your viewer. In simpler words - a message and the tone of that message is always a good place to start.
If you aren’t sure of what tone you should use - consider your target audience and how they would like to be addressed. Or what emotions you would like evoked in them at the end of your video.
Now, with an idea at hand, you are at a head start for your whiteboard animation. But, before you actually get started with putting together your video, here are some factors that will help you choose how to choose the best internet-based whiteboard animation maker:
Voila! Now, we are ready to look at some amazing online tools that can convert your mundane textual content into enthralling whiteboard animation videos!
One of the first cloud-based DIY animated explainer video production tool - PowToons is surely one of the most widely used whiteboard tools with a huge library of resources and animated explainer video templates to choose from. The free version allows 5 minutes of non-HD video to be exported along with PowToons branding.
Pricing for Powtoons:
Removing that branding from the video and upgrading to Full HD would cost you about $16 per month for the starter plan, all the way up till $99 per month for the agency plan.
Here’s a sample created using PowToons:
Although this video looks professional it does not take care of details like character emotions or real human movements.
Powtoons interface, however, is quite straightforward and user-friendly. A little quality time spent playing around the interface will get you easily familiarised with all the tricks PowToons has up its sleeve.
For those of you who prefer quick steps - we've got you covered as well:
If you are keen to learn more - You can see this great video from PowToons for a complete onboarding tutorial!
VideoScribe is another community favorite DIY animation tool that’s grown and loved by more and more businesses and individuals alike to create your own whiteboard animation videos. I
Pricing for VideoScribe:
VideoScribe has three pricing plans-
Here’s an example of a video made using VideoScribe:
VideoScribe requires you to download the software onto your Mac/PC and offers a massive library of pre-animated objects, graphics, and characters.
Getting started is similar to other tools on this list - read on the quick steps below:
VideoScribe also offers a wide range of royalty free music to choose from. The tool gives you the option to choose how your image should be drawn + the type and size of the drawing brush. And while you may find yourself hoping the library had more keyword specific options to choose from - there is still plenty good here that can be achieved.
Learn more about getting started here.
First appearing with a tie-in with YouTube - Vyond is a web-based video animation tool that offers an extensive set of features that range from character customization, to VO recorder and modifier with basic lip sync to make your videos even more appealing to the regular viewer.
Unlike Powtoons and VideoScribe - all actionable features can be found on the left-hand panel in Vyond.
Vyond, however, does not allow you to add expressions to your characters - you can control their movement on and off the stage though. The video tool is quite easy to use and faster as compared to some of is competitors.
Pricing for Vyond:
A Vyond video for your business would require a commitment of about $89/month for the premium plan and $159/ month for the professional plan. While on the pricier side - Vyond has distinguished itself as a more comfortable, faster and more user-friendly interface as compared to its competitors.
Take a look at this sample video from Vyond:
With an extremely similar interface as PowToons - Animaker offers its users a variety of similar animation tools and assets as seen from the services above - with a unique inclusion of a notepad to turn your meeting notes into a kickass presentation. To get started:
Pricing for Animaker:
Animaker allows up to 100 videos of 30m each to be exported for about $35/month. It also provides you with a free trial, which lets you produce 5 whiteboard videos of 2 minutes each. One unique benefit of Animaker is that every video made with this Internet-based tool is mobile optimized.
Here is a sample whiteboard video created using Animaker:
Last on this list but definitely not the least - RawShorts is essentially the same tool as PowToons or Animaker - but with its own set of graphics and software tweaks to distinguish it. In it’s latest update - RawShorts offers a more fluidic animation of all whiteboard elements. To get started - simply follow the same steps mentioned above for Powtoons or Animaker and start creating your killer whiteboard presentations.
Pricing for RawShorts:
It comes with a three-layered pricing model: Free trial, Essential and Business. The free trial plan lets you have 5 non-premium exports in total in the standard video format. The essential plan comes at $49/month and lets you have 25 premium exports per month, which include 10 licensed video clips a month. Finally, the business plan comes at $89/month and lets you have 50 premium exports per month, which include 20 licensed video clips per month.
Take a look at this example of a video made using this tool:
So there you have it. The top 5 user-friendly tools to make your own DIY whiteboard animation videos. Personally, I prefer PowToons and Animaker.
Renderforest gives you more than 450 interactive scenes, animated characters and a huge stock of high-quality music tracks that can be assimilated into brilliant storytelling whiteboard animations. The biggest perk of this video maker is that it gives you flexibility in terms of the duration that you want to have for your video. Starting from a free trial, you can switch among four plans: Amateur, Pro, Popular and Agency. The 'Popular' plan costs around $36/month and the 'Agency' plan costs around $50/month. Let's look at a whiteboard video made using Renderforest:
According to Moovly, whiteboard animation videos are an essential tool for marketers trying to communicate complex concepts in a compelling way. Moovly helps to utilize the power of doodle videos and hand-drawn animation. As for the pricing, Moovly also comes with a free trial, giving you a maximum bandwidth of 20 personal media uploads. Then, there is 'Pro Monthly' plan that comes at $49/month with unlimited personal media uploads and a whole lot of other features. Here's a video made using Moovly:
Having said that, whiteboard videos created via such tools can be limiting and thus not the most efficient option when it comes to showcasing/maintaining your brand image via video. Plus - a lot of companies use these tools already as an alternative to professionally created animated videos. And thus the templated design from DIY tools won’t be exclusive - but they’ll help you get started with your custom whiteboard videos for sure.
There will be a time when your business will be chasing higher ticket size clients, higher revenue, and so on. It’s no secret, all of that happens when you build the right perception - tell visual stories that are different from those that everyone’s telling. A custom whiteboard animation costs upwards of $4000 a video and eventually you will come to a point when you’ll be comfortable shelling out more money for the right kind of video.
When you do a custom whiteboard animation, you move to zero automation mode. You’ll see that everything in the video is created from scratch - the board style, the characters, the drawing brush, and the hand movement.
Custom animated videos give you complete control over the output of your video and thus enables you to control how your brand is perceived.
Custom animation has the advantage of marrying your brand with the appropriate story. The custom animation does away with hazy communication of templatized videos, enabling you to communicate the features of your product to your audience in a manner that resonates with them and positions your brand as precisely as you prefer.
A great example is this internal training video we made for Clif Bar. This one was for their internal communication.
Clif Bar wanted to train their sales crew on communicating with customers more effectively. They wanted to create videos that bring the team together in a huddle, work towards common goals.
The brand sells energy bars and everything about their brand is young and vibrant. We created a character in the video that looks exactly like any Clif Bar employee.
Custom videos give you the freedom to make your characters look like your audience - so they can resonate with their story. They help you add expressions and colors that go with your brand values - it makes a huge difference! You can plan the mood of your video, the tone and determine how exactly you would like your audience to react after watching it - thus enabling the right outcomes.
Whiteboards have come a long way indeed. The storyteller whiteboard is a personal favorite, equally loved by our clients. It makes you want to learn when you’re too bored with the mundane. It’s apt for internal and external business communication and a must-have in your content calendar.
To make the most of it you must hope to be at a stage when you can make use of the handcrafted version. In the meanwhile don’t shy away from trying out the DIY tools I’ve talked about it in this post - I hope you enjoyed it and found value. Do feel free to add your thoughts and comments in the section below.