Skip to main content

Review: Renderforest 3D Explainer Toolkit - Fast Cloud Animated Video

I first reviewed video creation site Renderforest back in November of 2017. Since then they have been adding more and more content packs/tools to their cloud based video creation studio, branching into animated explainer video territory in the process (as well as logo and website design too).

This review is focussed on their 3D Explainer Toolkit, but keep in mind, along with several different animated toolkits (including whiteboard), Renderforest has toolkit/templates to suit almost any video need from logo stings and music visualizations, through to complete video templates that can be highly customized with your own content. Click here to browse their template library.

I am planning to review some of their other animated toolkits in the future but their 3D Explainer Toolkit particularly caught my eye because few (if any?) similar cloud animation services offer 3D animated styles.

Global animation customizations in Renderforest's Studio.
Renderforest's editing studio revolves entirely around mixing and matching pre-animated scene templates, then customizing each scene with your own text, images, or video clips, depending on what each specific scene has placeholders for. You can then customize your color scheme, add music or voice over, before publishing/downloading the final video.

Almost everything is done for you other than arranging and customizing the scenes. While you can still make a dog's breakfast of everything if you have no flair for design whatsoever, most people should be able to achieve relatively professional looking results quickly.

3D Explainer Toolkit includes 700 scenes in many different categories e.g. Male Character Animations, Female Character Animations, Occupations (Male Characters), Occupations (Female Characters) etc. giving you a lot of options and combinations.

When you open the studio you are given three options:

  1. Load a preset script - by far the easiest option, this is a complete video focussed on a specific generic topic, such as Product, Service, or Education, and more, that you can customize to suit your specific needs. Most useful for very general promotions focussed on broad ideas.
     
  2. Add My Script - This is the first option I tried because I was interested to see the initial results. Enter your text script into the text entry box and the studio will break it down into scenes, automatically choosing templates for each scene based upon keywords from each line of your script. All your script's text will be included onscreen throughout the animation.
     
  3. Add Scene - essentially this is as close to starting from scratch as you can get. Choose you first scene, customize it, choose your next scene, customize it, etc. etc.

As I mentioned I started with option 2 and was quite impressed with the initial animation that was automatically generated. It wasn't perfect by any means, I did go in and replace scenes with ones I thought worked better, but the animation still worked before I started customizing it.

Here's my result, a short promotional video for my Animation 4 Business service, after my customizations and scene changes, below.



The end result does the job and definitely would work as a general promotional video. I made the video in only a few hours, baring in mind I spent a lot of time exploring options and trying different things for the purpose of this review. I'm sure I could have easily made this in less than an hour if I'd stayed focussed on creating just the animation.

In theory, as a person with a background in Graphic Design and Animation, I thought I should be able to create an even better animation by starting completely from scratch.

As it turned out, doing this really emphasized the compromises you're making when designing from fairly rigid templates.

The majority of template scenes in the 3D Explainer toolkit are consist of a plain color background with an animated, 3D character or prop placed to the left or right of some text. I wanted to showcase more of the 'Background Scenes,' a category of template scenes that places the characters in an actual environment such as an office, city, outer space, etc. Unfortunately this limited my options to just 30 scenes templates.

Some of the 30 'Background' Animated Scene Templates.

I also wanted to add narration, rather than have the words appear on screen. My original audio file (used for a version of this animation created with Vyond) was 36 seconds long and didn't align with my scenes due to most scene templates having a minimum length of 5 seconds. Some of my lines were intended for scenes that lasted 2-4 seconds, including transitions, creating faster paced visuals.

Renderforest does have an Advanced Audio Trimmer tool, that specifically helps you time recorded dialogue to your individual scenes but it's only available to people who have purchased an annual subscription. Which I think is unfair given that people who prefer to pay per video, because they know they won't get value from even the lowest annual subscription, pay at least eight times more per video than the cheapest annual subscription package. They should have access to all the editing tools to make their videos the best they can be for the price.

I understand that certain features are held back to encourage subscription purchases, I just think the Advanced Audio Trimmer is a basic function of any video editor, and not having access to it only encourages the use of alternatives. Case in point, since I didn't have access I used an audio editor to adjust my narration timing to align with my scenes before uploading it as a single audio file to the studio.

My final animation is below. I think the quality is comparable to the previous one that was partially auto generated based on my script. I certainly don't think it's better due to the severe limitations of wanting to feature more 'background' scenes and not being able to cut scenes any shorter than five seconds.



Overall, I think Renderforest's 3D Explainer Toolkit is a great option for creating animations that deal with broad subject matter across many different industries/topics. You could certainly use it to create an eye catching series of videos for a general promotional campaign across social media.

The more specific the information you need to present the more compromises you'll make to bring your script to life. You may find yourself using a lot more animated text scenes with dot points, or including more of your own custom images and video clips inserted into those template scenes that have placeholders for such custom content.

There are more versatile cloud animated explainer video options out there but if you specifically want the 3D look then, off the top of my head, I can't think of one that's this easy to use.

Renderforest's tools are all free and, as mentioned, you can purchase single videos (to remove the watermark) if buying an annual subscription seems like more than you want to spend right now.

It is worth looking at the subscription options as you gain features like longer videos, more storage space, more music tracks, etc., and don't forget, this is just one theme/toolkit from hundreds available  for all kinds of video applications... and they have tools to assist with logo and website design (coming soon) too.

If you like the 3D look Renderforest's 3D Toolkit is well worth checking out.



Disclaimer
This article contains Renderforest affiliate links but 
is not paid for or sponsored by Renderforest. 
The views expressed are my own and the demo animations shown were purchased as single video downloads.


Comments

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Popular posts from this blog

Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc. I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations. I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity . AV Voice Changer Interface. Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply

Should You Buy or Upgrade to MOHO 13? *Spoiler* Yes. Yes You Should!

MOHO 13's New Character Set. Smith Micro released MOHO 13 , their all in one, 2D animation studio, this week. The question is should you buy or upgrade to the latest version? Obviously I've already spoiled this in the title, so the actual question is why do I think you should buy or upgrade? To be clear, I'm only talking about MOHO 13 Pro. If you're considering MOHO 13 Debut be aware that you're missing out on some of the new features, and a lot of existing features that are only available in the Pro version. Debut is fine if the budget doesn't stretch to Pro, but, if you never want to be disappointed about not having a feature, it's Pro or nothing! The other thing I need to be transparent about is I'm not, by any stretch, a frequent MOHO user/animator. However I took the time to learn MOHO 12 Pro fairly extensively, blogging about my process and sorting out 104 free MOHO training videos into a logical viewing order in the process. I think I ha

Make Disney/Pixar Style Characters with Reallusion's Character Creator and Toon Figure Bases

The Extraordinary Tourist Classic Coat outfit created using Reallusion's Toon Designer for CC3. I've talked before how I've wanted to get into 3D Disney/Pixar style character animation since I first saw the animated cutscenes for the very first Tomb Raider game back in 1996. It's why I initially bought Reallusion's iClone 3D studio app as soon as I could afford a computer that would run it. But then Reallusion released their 3D Character Creator (CC) for iClone and I wanted to create my characters with that (and I did try with Bat Storm ). But the focus of CC was realism, even with ToKoMotion's stylised body morphs . Now with Reallusion's Cartoon Designer bundle for CC3 which features two packs, Toon Figures , and Toon Hair , designing Disney/Pixar style 3D characters just got a whole lot quicker. The two packs are the bare essentials for creating Toon style characters. Five body morphs (2 male, 2 female, and one adolescent body morph that w

Animation 4 Business iClone Promotional Video

In my recent updates I've been teasing a new Animation 4 Business Promotional video created with Reallusion's iClone 6 . It's taken me longer than expected because I've only been able to work on it for a couple of hours each day - part of my new schedule that enables me to work on many projects concurrently. Finally the animation is finished and, although I've already debuted it on the Animation 4 Business website , Facebook and YouTube, here is the only place you can read about the behind the scenes creation process.

Voicemod - Free and Easy to Use Voice Changer/Modulator Application

Voicemod is a real time voice changer app. A common problem for hobbyist animators is finding people to voice characters. Friends are often called in to our no budget productions because they're friends and they're usually happy to help. However friends aren't always available and/or willing, and hiring voice actors can be expensive if you're making a lot of short animations just for fun. In desperation you start voicing all your own characters but quickly realize your vocal range extends to only about three different voices. This is where  Voicemod  may help. Voicemod is a free dedicated, real time voice modifying app for Windows (other OS's are in the works). It has a very simple interface that makes it easy to alter the sound of your voice to any saved voice profile with a single click. It also makes it very easy to modify any profile or even create your own voice modifications from scratch. Before I go further, while Voicemod is free you are limited

Learn Moho Pro 12 Free Using SmithMicro's Own 104 Video Tutorials Sorted into a Logical Order of Progression

So you've bought Smith Micro's Moho Pro 12 along with the Moho, 10 hour, 104 Video Tutorials Add On pack so you can get learning right away... only you can't. For whatever reason, the video tutorials aren't sorted into any logical order of progression making them hard to follow. Yeah, I've been there, only I've done what Smith Micro should have done and sorted all the video tutorials into a logical order of natural progression for you. That is, each tutorial builds upon what you learned in previous videos and you won't suddenly come up against some feature you've never used before, unless that feature is what the video tutorial is about.

Eric W. Schwartz: Cartoonist, Animator and Amiga Die Hard

July 1992 Edition, CU Amiga Featuring Amy the Squirrel. American Cartoonist, Eric W. Schwartz , (whose unofficial Amiga Icon, Amy the Squirrel, is pictured on the July 92 edition of CU Amiga cover on the right) is my only real animation hero. Sure there are the big names like Disney , Chuck Jones , Tex Avery and even Preston Blair whose influences can all be seen in my own cartoons but Eric did what none of the others could. He showed that really great 2D computer animation was within my reach with little more than an Amiga Computer , a copy of Deluxe Paint and Moviesetter . This was at a time when computer based animation was in its infancy (outside of computer game animation) and Flash was something that lights did. There were many great Amiga artists but Eric was really the only one consistently making very funny, traditional style animations. His humor and drawing style is heavily influenced by classic Warner Brothers and Disney cartoons but he managed to build on this,