Table of Contents
- Top DIY Animation Software for Explainer Videos
- Best Professional Animator Software for Creating an Explainer Video
- Learning How to Use After Effects
- Leveraging Pre-made After Effects Explainer Video Templates
- In a Nutshell
Not all people and businesses are savvy enough to create explainer videos from scratch. It takes years to perfectly master professional software like Adobe After Effects.
Agencies and animators who have the hand to create on these platforms charge a pretty penny for their services. And rightly so! These videos are exceptionally detailed, realistic, and depending on the needs of the client – highly eccentric.
If you’re a personal user or a small business with a very limited budget, you might not have the extra bucks to spare for an explainer video done by professionals.
Nevertheless, explainer videos are a marketing trend that’s here to stay as the average retention rate for explainers is over 77%.
So where does this leave customers who need a quick and cheap fix?
Thankfully, there are plenty of tools available that let you create your own explainer videos for free or at nominal rates.
Here’s our review of some of the best explainer video software. Animation noobs rejoice!
Top DIY Animation Software for Explainer Videos
Be it live-action, animation, or motion graphics, Biteable has a template up its sleeve for all kinds of explainer videos.
You can choose from a built-in library of 800,000+ real-life stock footage and animated clips.
They offer plenty of personalization options so you can be sure that your explainer videos are in line with your brand’s style guide. It’s very easy to add your own images, clips, and music to the mix, and customize the templates.
Moreover, you can play with animations, effects, text overlay, and the drag and drop feature to produce creatively lit explainer videos.
Biteable offers a free trial that features 10 video projects and shareable videos that contain a watermark. However, you only get access to the basic content with the free version.
The paid plans start with $15 a month for personal use and new businesses, $29 for small and big businesses, and $49 for an unlimited plan which is more suited to regular content creators and teams.
All paid plans offer watermark-free, high video quality (1080p) premium content, and commercial usage rights.
If you’re struggling to understand how Biteable works, you can get in touch with their 24/7 support team or get trainings via webinars and documents.
Videoscribe specializes in whiteboard animation that emulates the classic teacher-student dynamic.
Their service is especially suited for the business and education sector where trainings, lectures, and learning videos are used frequently. Marketers can also use it to tell their stories and explain how their products and services work.
With Videoscribe, you get access to a large repository of customizable images and music. A drag and drop feature allows you to create compelling explainers in no time. Other features include animation, text overlay, and the ability to add voice-overs.
The user interface is self-explanatory and easy enough to be used by amateurs. But if you’re still having difficulties, you can always refer to their support team.
Videoscribe is not an online tool rather you can install it on your Mac or Windows.
It affords a 7-day free trial but comes with a watermark and commercial use restriction. The price point for single-users starts at $17.5 per month. Team Licenses start at $115 per month.
If you’re a charity or non-profit organization within the US or UK, you may be eligible for a discount on Videoscribe’s services. How cool is that?
Formerly known as GoAnimate, Vyond is one of the oldest online animation tools available. You can create animated explainer videos using contemporary, business-friendly, and whiteboard animation style.
A comprehensive library of templates makes it easy to create a video best suited to your needs. However, templates based on live-action clips are not available.
There are numerous character customization and animation options to make your characters move smoothly and appear more realistic. The automated lip-sync feature further enriches the explainer’s animation.
Vyond allows team collaboration where multiple people can work on an explainer video simultaneously. This also includes video sharing and audio/image sharing among the team.
You can learn to make the most of Vyond with the help of numerous helpful resources like webinars, case studies, blogs, and the Vyond support and community.
Vyond’s unique selling proposition is its security and data protection policies. It has implemented several industry-standard regulations and certifications to ensure that the user data is airtight. It also follows a third-party screening protocol before transferring the rights of the explainer videos made using Vyond.
Vyond packages start from a basic $299/year plan with watermarked videos. The $649/year Premium package is created for single users in small businesses.
More robust solutions include a $999 Professional package for small and medium businesses with more advanced features and priority customer service. It offers team collaboration and a scalable ‘per-seat’ plan.
The Enterprise solution combines the Professional plan with advanced IT features, priority support, and training along with a dedicated account manager. You can get in touch with the team for its customized pricing.
All the packages allow for ‘unlimited video production and downloads’ so that’s surely a big plus.
What we love about Renderforest is its dedicated toolkit for 3D explainer videos. They have a wide selection of 3D animated scenes, characters, and transitions for creating explainers suited for single to large enterprise users.
It also features a separate 2D and whiteboard animation toolkit. Not all online animation tools offer such diverse style options to choose from.
Renderforest supports a free version with unlimited 360p watermarked video exports. Paid plans start from a $9.99 Amateur plan which includes 7 HD720 videos per month.
Further plans include a $24.99 Pro and $39.99 Popular package with increased video quality and video time. If you’re an Agency, you can opt for the $49.99 plan with unlimited 1080p videos.
5. Wideo – 7/10
Wideo is another web-based animation tool for creating professional explainer videos. They specifically target marketing professionals, digital agencies, and SMEs.
With Wideo you have the option to upload your own live footage or choose from a free stock video library.
They lack a comprehensive explainer video template catalog. So, you’d have to customize other marketing video templates into an explainer video.
Wideo supports a free ‘watermarked’ version. All paid packages allow you to brand your explainer videos.
The basic plan is priced at $10 a month for HD videos. Both Pro and Pro+ packages support Full HD videos and unlimited storage.
Whether you’re a beginner, non-designer, or professional, Animaker lets you produce quick expert quality animated explainer videos.
You can experiment with live-action, whiteboard style, and 2D animation to create a customized and branded message.
Animaker boasts over 100 million stock photos and videos along with 1000+ templates. Talk about having options!
Once your explainer video is done, you can instantly resize it to fit your social platforms.
With Animaker you get a free ‘watermarked’ version, a $19 Starter, and a $39 Business plan.
If you’re looking for a bigger custom solution, you can get in touch with them for an Enterprise package.
Next on the list is the animation video maker Powtoon. It doesn’t have a dedicated explainer video category but you can find plenty of explainer video templates within its Marketing, HR, IT, and Training categories.
Powtoon for Business allows team management, collaboration, and sharing so your team members can work on the explainer videos simultaneously. The Agency package includes reseller rights, social integrations, and access to unlimited premium content.
A free trial is available for Powtoon. The most basic version starts at $19 per month. The Pro+ and Agency plans are for $59 and $99 per month respectively.
8. Toonly 5/10
Toonly is another animated explainer video software that claims it’s “perfect for product and service-based businesses”. Which makes sense because our recent survey found that 83% of people agree that a product/service explainer video helps them in making a buying decision.
You can easily download it on your Mac and PC and work offline on your explainer videos. It offers an intuitive user interface that’s great for beginners and amateurs.
A quick Toonly review highlights scores of pre-made animated scenes, props, and characters. You can record and sync your custom voiceover within the software and add a free soundtrack of your choice.
You can also upload your own images, GIF and fonts to create extremely personalized explainers. Whatever works best for you and your audience!
Toonly comes in a $39 Standard and a $69 Enterprise solution.
Best Professional Animator Software for Creating an Explainer Video
Cool as the DIY animation tools may be, they do have their limitations. Be it character design, animation styles, typography options, and more, there is only so much customization that you can achieve with these resources.
Since the templates are produced for mass consumption these platforms offer pretty basic animation features.
And it’s a fact that for some clients, ‘basic’ doesn’t cut it. They want highly unique explainer videos with advanced animation techniques and they have the budget to make it happen.
That’s where professional animation software come in.
After Effects is a go-to software for professional animators. It offers a world of state-of-the-art features for advanced animations and visual effects.
Animation: With After Effects, the possibilities for creating versatile animations are endless. Animators can work on 2D and 3D animations, character design and animation, motion graphics, and kinetic typography.
It allows animators to create glitch-free and seamless movements and experiment with unique transition styles.
Compositing: This feature brings together assets from different sources into a scene. These elements come together to create a single visually enriched scene. Compositing can include environment creation and stage extension.
It is widely used to add special effects to live-action footage. Think sparks from a gunshot.
Scripts: Scripts use the power of code to make things extremely easy for animators. With a few nimble clicks, animators can automate several processes, for instance, creating shape animations and offsetting layers. This is a huge time saver and boosts productivity.
Keying: It is used to superimpose live-action action footage shot in front of a green screen upon any other footage or image.
Plugins: After Effects supports a host of third-party plug-ins that maximize its functionality and give the animators unlimited creative possibilities. Some of the most popular AE plug-ins include Trapcode Particular, Plexus, and Element 3D.
Adobe After Effects price is about $20 per month for a standalone version. A subscription-based plan is available only as a part of Creative Cloud. It works on both Mac and Window systems.
Learning How to Use After Effects
The power of online resources strikes again! There’s no need to go to a traditional school to learn even some of the most sought-after skills like animation. There are plenty of online platforms that train you for After Effects that too for a small price.
Created by Andrew Kramer, Video Copilot is one of the most popular After Effects training in the world.
It comes with a free After Effects Basics package, but for more advanced level trainings you have to buy their DVDs.
With Motion Graphics being the hot new trend in animation, a lot of animators are turning towards online trainings to learn how to create them.
School of Motion is an online school where you can learn advanced motion graphics among other animation techniques.
Other than the formal courses, they have scores of guides, tutorials and tips available to master motion graphics within After Effects.
If you want to learn something, what better way to do it than going to the source itself?
The After Effects website has a dedicated tutorials page that offers courses for basic and experienced level animators.
Understand layers, learn animation essentials, creating custom shapes and much more. All these tutorials and courses are available for free!
Leveraging Pre-made After Effects Explainer Video Templates
Not all professional animators have the same level of expertise. Some are just starting out and some don’t yet have the skills to create professional explainers in limited time.
For such professionals, Videohive is a key platform. It offers many explainer video toolkits that come packed with scalable features. These include in-depth tutorials, modular templates, and customizable elements like icons, typography, accents, transitions, and fully rigged characters among others.
If you’re completely unfamiliar with how After Effects works, you can hire a freelance animator on platforms like Upwork or Fiverr to work on the templates for you.
Check out some of the popular toolkits on Videohive:
In a Nutshell
This concludes our round-up for the best software for making explainer videos. Once you decide on whether you want a 2D, 3D, whiteboard or motion graphic explainer video, all you have to do is go through this catalog and see which DIY tool works best for you.
Alternatively, you can get in touch with us at MotionCue and we’ll bring on our video production wizards to help you create professional-level videos.