Skip to main content

Review: Animaker - 10X Better than other Online Animation Video Making software (#DIY)... or is it?

Animaker's bold claim, right on its homepage is that it's 10X Better than other Online Animation Video Making software (#DIY). Also featured on their homepage is a cool promotional video that's dynamic, full of charming lip synced characters, with high quality animation that matches perfectly to the story being told.

If I could make anything even half as good with their studio, I'll at least buy that they're better than most of their competitors. Let's see if they live up to their tagline 'Animated Videos, Done Right!'

Animaker is a flash based, cloud animation studio application that gives you access to an entire library of thousands of characters, props, backgrounds, sounds and more, to create almost any kind of 2D animated video. In fact they make the bold claim that theirs is the largest animated library in the world of any similar online application (it's not... or if it actually is, it's not as versatile as other comparable libraries) .

Plans range from free, with severely limited access to features, to a very affordable US$39/month  Business plan, and even a new $99/month Enterprise plan for creative/marketing teams, animation studios, and freelancers. In terms of pricing they've definitely met their own goal of being one of the most affordable solutions.

Animaker has six distinct styles of video including; 2D, Infographics, Handcraft, Whiteboard, 2.5D, and Typography. Elements from the various styles can be mix and matched as needed.

Once you click the Create a Video button you are presented with a bunch of templates grouped into free or premium and categorized under various themes/topics, or you can just start with a blank animation.

The studio is the very familiar (but not ideal - according to my own personal bias) Powerpoint style layout with your scene slides in a column down the left side of the screen, stage in the main window, content library on the right of screen, and some pseudo timeline across the bottom that controls everything in the current slide.

Animaker's Studio is the very familiar Powerpoint style
layout used by a lot of similar cloud apps.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with a Powerpoint layout. I just like to have a proper timeline across the bottom like most other video editors and animation applications I use. It's more intuitive, everything is laid out from start to finish, you can see the length of scenes visually along with where sounds, narration etc. actually occur. No clicking on a slide to find these things out. No swapping between dedicated timelines... it's all there.

For this review I'm going to bypass the templates. The ones I saw looked decent and professional enough. Just choose one, load it into the studio and start customizing it to better suit your needs. Standard stuff.

What I really want to know is can I make something as dynamic as the promo video on the Animaker homepage (which cynical me thinks wasn't actually made with Animaker - it's just far too good).

Art Style

Quirky characters.
The one thing I really like about Animaker is the artistic styling of all the characters, props, and scenes. It's a fun, quirky, unique style that leans more toward Saturday morning cartoons than corporate explainer video. Not that they look out of place in a corporate production, they just don't look out of place in really fun 'storytime' style animations either (where as strictly corporate styles might).

For the most part you'll use mainly Animaker's content library but, if there is something custom you need you can import your own images as jpg or png files. No animation formats such as SWF or video formats like MP4 are supported. (Some of Animaker's competitors support one or both - just sayin').

I wasn't able to test out all the themes for this review, but at a quick glance there wasn't a single one that I wouldn't use. All look extremely professional

The Studio

Almost everything in the studio can be
achieved with mouse clicks and drag'n'drop.
As I pointed out earlier the studio is set out very much like Powerpoint. If you're used to learning apps just by clicking on everything to see what it does then Animaker is  a pretty easy user interface to learn that way (that's how I learned it).

If that's not for you then video tutorials are available to get you creating fairly quickly (honestly, most people should get the hang of how to use Animaker inside an hour).

Almost everything is either drag and drop or adjusting sliders

Need Voices? Animaker Voice, Record Your Own, and Lip Sync?

Animaker Voice is a free, separate, text to speech tool that allows you to create computer generated, natural human, voices for your animation.

The process is as simple as copying and pasting your text into the text window, choosing a voice, previewing, and then hitting download when you find a voice you like.

There are a number of advanced voice modifications you can make to really fine tune your voices before downloading so it's worth running through the tutorial video to discover all the features.

Voices are saved as MP3 audio files. A single file can be up to ten minutes long which is more than enough for explainer and promotional animations. These files can be imported into Animaker's studio (or you could do further editing on them in dedicated audio software) or even use them in other applications).

The variety of voices available are fairly extensive, with some sounding more human than others. None are as good as an actual, professional voice artist. I wouldn't recommend using them for a complete narration unless you really had no other option, but if you've got a short piece of character dialogue you may just get away with viewers not picking up that the voice isn't a real human.

The alternatives to Animaker Voice are to record your own using either your own audio software or, if you have a mic attached, you can record directly into the studio. Obviously the latter bypasses the need to import.

Lip Sync

Although characters do have pre-animated speaking actions there is no option to auto lip sync their mouth movements to recorded dialogue. All you can really do is make sure your characters talking action is aligned to their voice clip in the timeline.

Infographics

The infographics theme is really good with plenty of options for animated bar/line/pie charts, tables, checklists and more. It's easy enough to insert your own data so if stats are something you need to present visually, Animaker has you covered.

Whiteboard

Whiteboard or Chalkboard?
Animaker has plenty of options.
If whiteboard style animation is more along the line of what you want to do then Animaker has quite a few options including whiteboard, chalkboard, glassboard, pencil, and even a stitched/dotted line style.

Graphics and text that have been optimised for the whiteboard theme look like they are being drawn (as much as anything looks like it is being drawn with a picture of someone's hand). Anything not optimized will kind of get 'scribbled' in from left to right.

Did I Make Something Dynamic?

The short answer is no... well kind of. Baring in mind, for my review I only had access to a free account, so I didn't have full access to the entire library of content. However I was still able to pull a fairly decent little promo video for Animaker together. Which you can view below.


Shorts Graphic: Designed by Dooder / Freepik 

My super rough storyboard.
My entire animation was created in about three days as I wrote my review. I wrote the script, recorded my voice, and even drew a rough storyboard.

My goal was to get the camera moving wherever possible and to try and use most of Animaker's features.

To that end I think my favorite scene is the first one where I tried to recreate a camera pan around my main character's desk using both Animaker's camera and by moving the actual character and props as well.

I tried to use the Record feature to give character's multiple expressions in the same scene. Most evident in scene three where my character is trying to convince an animator to work for 'the exposure' she'll get.

There's a couple of 'whiteboard' theme scenes in there and I also imported graphics I didn't have, such as my 'animated shorts' on the clothes line.

Is It 10x Better Than Other Similar Apps?

If I'm absolutely honest, I had a relatively good time using Animaker, despite not liking the Powerpoint UI, and the studio started to slow down a bit as my project grew.

Is it 10x better than anything else? No, definitely not. Certainly aspects of it are better than other similar services I've used but feature for feature Animaker falls short by a long way when compared to a service like Vyond (who are arguably the leader in this space).

Also of concern is that Animaker's studio is a flash application, which Adobe is no longer developing or supporting after 2020. Vyond's new studio is a full HTML5 application. Will Animaker follow suit?

Two things definitely in Animaker's favour is their cartoon art style and the cost of their paid plans (which are almost half the price of Vyond). Animaker's graphics are friendly and accessible making them ideal for a very broad range of uses.

Like all of these kinds of services, if the studio itself is intuitive and gives you plenty of options, what it comes down to is how well their content library adapts to your needs. Can you achieve your vision or is the content library too limiting? How easy is it to find workarounds for character actions that aren't part of the pre-animated actions? Are you compromising so much that your animations look nothing like what you imagined initially?

A sampling of Animaker's Content Library.

If you compare my storyboard to the finished animation the scenes are pretty close - and I didn't design for the content library. That is, at no time did a pause to look through Animaker's content library to see if what I wanted to do was even possible. Keep in mind, my free account has severe limitations on the available content too.

If you took the time to really get to know Animaker's content library I definitely think there is a lot of potential for some really great animations that go far beyond customizing a template. As well, the low cost of even the top tier plan makes it very attractive compared to other services (particularly if you're looking to start your own freelance animated explainer video service).

The bottom line is Animaker is a great cloud application for making explainer videos, or any kind of short 2D animation really. It's not the best but it's still pretty good. There's definitely room for improvement and new features (personally I'd like to see a character composer based on their art style similar to Vyond's). Overall Animaker is good value and may be all you really need for the type of animations you want to make. It's definitely worth a look.

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

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,

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.