What You Need to Know to Make Animated Videos

Cropped view of man using gadgets near sketches producing animated videos

If you’re new to video production, the prospect of making an animated video is probably daunting. The good news is that there are a ton of animated video makers available nowadays that make video creation a breeze — even if your expertise mostly comes from watching Saturday morning cartoons.

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What are animated videos?

Animated videos feature moving elements that are either designed or drawn. Think of the 2D animation of classic Disney movies, or the 3D animation popularized by Toy Story and ubiquitous today.

If you dream of making your own cartoon movie, you’ll likely need professional tools, software, and training. But if you want to create animated videos for your brand or social media channels, you can — and it’s easier than you might think.

Why make animated videos?

Using animation in your videos means you can have a unique and visually appealing way to display information and tell a story. Animation can also help your audience retain what you’re telling them, and gives you a lot more options when it comes to production formats.

  1. Done right, animation is much cheaper than live-action. If you’re making an explainer video, a marketing pitch, or an in-house educational presentation, a simple drag-and-drop-style program with animated elements can save you a lot of time and money. Think of it this way: You could either pay actors, book a space, rent video production gear, and spend a few days shooting and editing; or you could create a simple slideshow or infographic using basic animation tools.
  2. Visuals can help your audience absorb and retain your message. If you need to convey dry or mundane information, you can create animation-based lessons or videos to liven up your presentation. The more interested your audience is in paying attention, the more information they’ll be able to take in.
  3. Animation allows more production possibilities than live action. A platform that lets you fully customize the components of your animated video means you don’t have to worry so much about what’s feasible. Your work safety seminar can take place in outer space without you ever touching the company rocket ship.

5 easy-to-use animated video makers

If you’re ready to step up and try your hand at animated videos, here are some solid options for help:

  1. Prezi. If you’re new to making visuals and don’t need all of the bells and whistles, Prezi is a reliable option. It easily integrates Webex, Zoom, and Teams; includes plenty of video templates that make it easy to put together a simple animated presentation; and it starts at $5/month for personal use. A Prezi presentation likely won’t win you an Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but it’s great if you’d like to jazz up your run-of-the-mill slide presentation.
  2. Biteable. A step up from Prezi, Biteable is another quality option for beginners looking to tell compelling stories through animation. It’s also one of the easier-to-use cartoon generators. Choose a template from a range of characters and animation styles, customize it with your choice of background music, colors, and messaging, and your animation is as good as done. Biteable also lets you choose different aspect ratios for social media sharing, and a beginner plan is totally free — though your videos will bear a Biteable watermark. For non-watermarked videos, plans start at $49/month.
  3. Vyond. For free animation templates full of cute characters, Vyond reigns supreme. In addition to providing plenty of customization options for your animated figures, Vyond also comes with a built-in tool to help you fine-tune their motion. If you’re looking for a signature experience that allows more customization, this could be the right choice for you. Plans start at $49/month for watermarked videos and $89/month for more features and non-watermarked videos.
  4. Raw Shorts. Raw Shorts uses AI to automatically translate a script or text into a video, which you can then edit. This can be an attractive feature, especially if you’re short on time or not visually inclined. A basic plan starts at $39/month, though it comes with some limitations on video length and what kinds of integrations they offer.
  5. Toon Boom. If you have the time and want to start learning animation from scratch, Toon Boom may be what you’re looking for. It comes with a suite of products that can help you storyboard, animate, and manage your workflow to give you maximum control over every aspect of your project. The company also provides consultation and education services. Toon Boom is definitely a step up from the other options, and at nearly $1000, the price tag reflects that.

Final thoughts

If you’re sick of slideshow presentations, it might be time to try animation. With everything from templates to accessible AI technology, it’s never been easier to make a high-quality animated short video.

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