If you have time and you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, these 20 DIY tools are the best around. Most of the tools below won’t give you full creative control like you’d get with a full service company, but they may just do the trick:
1. Vyond (formerly GoAnimate)
Vyond offers templates for different industries, occupations, and concepts. You can build character-driven stories or compelling data visualizations that engage audiences and deliver results. The platform allows for the import of external audio and images. Most basic option starts at $39 USD/month.
Pros: easy-to-use, good number of templates, offers voiceover options.
Cons: simplistic characters with little customization options, needs a lot of bandwidth to operate, most basic option ($39/month) does not include watermark removal so you’ll need to opt for the $89/month option for that feature.
Lumen5 is a video creation platform designed for brands and businesses to produce social video content for driving audience engagements online. The platform is powered by artificial intelligence and enables anyone without training or experience to easily create engaging video content within minutes. Starts at free.
Pros: cost, little-to-no video production experience needed, large image gallery and ability to upload your own.
Cons: Not fully customizable, no voiceover, image gallery is not very diverse (mostly marketing-related stock images).
3. Autodesk’s Maya
If you’re technically savvy, Maya can help you make high quality 3D animation. Maya is used by professionals making animation for film, game, and television projects. $1500 USD/year.
Pros: Powerful, professional, ability to create virtually anything. Does everything from animation, rigging, motion graphics, 3D modeling and more.
Cons: Cost, complicated user-experience, steep learning curve.
Animatron is an online animated video maker that allows creating animations and videos with a drag-and-drop interface. Starts at free.
Pros: cost, little-to-no video production experience needed, good variety of graphics and walk-through tutorial.
Cons: Not fully customizable, not many options for transitions, interface is reported to be confusing at times.
Moovly allows users to easily create videos using libraries of stock media in combination with your own media objects. Using a combination of uploaded images, videos and sounds, as well as a library of millions of objects (images, sounds and videos) in different styles, you can create videos, download or publish them on YouTube, Facebook or Moovly’s Gallery. Starts at free.
Pros: cost, good for presentations, ability to use live action video in backgrounds.
Cons: Not fully customizable, buggy software, few transition options. Higher learning curve with not much customer support.
Renderforest is an online video production platform which allows users to make broadcast quality videos. Main features include templates and royalty free stock footage. Starts at free.
Pros: cost, good for marketing video newbies, lots of tutorials available.
Cons: Not fully customizable, limited number of templates and audio options, steep learning curve.
Prezi is a PowerPoint alternative that features a dynamic, flexible format letting you move freely between topics and adapt on the fly, without having to flip through slides. Starts at $7 USD/month.
Pros: Many templates to choose from. good for casual, conversational presentations. Makes presentations much more engaging when done right.
Cons: Embedded videos won’t work offline, mostly steep learning curve. Creative skills are somewhat required otherwise audiences can be visually overwhelmed.
Explee is a cloud-based video management software that allows users to create whiteboard-style animations online. Starts at $7 USD/month.
Pros: little-to-no video production experience needed, good for students. Templates, image libraries, and quick video to tutorials are available.
Cons: Not fully customizable, not many options for transitions.
9. Crazy Talk
CrazyTalk Animator is a fully-featured animation tool designed for users to create professional marketing videos, animated avatars and comic effects for PowerPoint, Keynote, Google Doc and other presentation software. Starts at $29.95 USD/one-time/user.
Pros: Good for basic animations, ability to import your own images.
Cons: Purchase price is a bit high for private users with low usage requirements, not many customization options or characters to choose from.
iClone is software for real-time 3D animation, blending character creation, scene design, and cinematic storytelling into a real-time engine. Starts at $199.99 USD/month.
Pros: relatively user-friendly production environment, flexible lighting and camera options, pipeline to 3D tools and game engines.
Cons: limited character customization options. Software needed to run the program is expensive (GTX 700 series card or greater).
11. Toon Boom
Toon Boom is a professional animation software used by numerous top animation studios globally. Starts at $23 USD/month.
Pros: Versatile toolset, plenty of self-learning resources, easy to play back movement and export information.
Cons: not great for beginners, limited brushing options, unable to record or edit audio in the program.
12. Adobe After Effects
Adobe After Effects is an industry-standard animation and creative compositing software used by professional motion graphics and visual effects artists, as well as independent artists. Starts at $19.99 USD/month.
Pros: fantastic Adobe product, extremely versatile, updates relatively frequently, works seamlessly with Adobe products (Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, etc).
Cons: Requires some creative skills, program has been known to lag and crash often, no way to preview projects, steep learning curve.
13. Raw Shorts
RawShorts enables you to create animations from text (i.e. blog posts) using AI technology. Starts at $39.99 USD/month.
Pros: little-to-no video production experience needed, seamless social sharing capability, plenty of royalty-free media to choose from.
Cons: Not fully customizable, limited templates and animation options.
14. Video Scribe
Video Scribe specializes in hand drawing animation (whiteboard-style). They include templates, a drag-and-drop editor and library of media assets. Starts at $12 USD/month.
Pros: little-to-no video production experience needed, plenty of online education available, good for presentations.
Cons: Not fully customizable, unpolished finished product (blurry graphics), no sound or audio options, limited to whiteboard animations.
15. My Simple Show
My Simple Show transforms text into video. Starts at $129 USD/month.
Pros: Templates and scripting advice available, little-to-no video production experience needed,
Cons: Limited customization available, voiceovers not included.
16. Easy Sketch Pro
Easy Sketch Pro is a doodle software that allows you to create interactive sketch videos. Starts at $37 USD.
Pros: drag and drop interface, social integrations with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more.
Cons: limited styles and customization options, limited export formats (mp4 only).
Animaker is a web-based video creation tool with 8 visual tools, multi-user collaboration features, and the world’s largest animated library. Starts at free.
Pros: cost, little-to-no video production experience needed, great for presentation-style videos.
Cons: Not fully customizable, users report a slow and sometimes buggy experience. Long (sometimes more than 24 hours) export times.
Pros: Easy-to-use and intuitive, smooth animation, great for presentations, templates available.
Cons: Not fully customizable, can’t export for certain platforms like Instagram, frame-accurate edits not available, limited characters.
Powtoon is another popular online video maker that offers editable templates that you can make your own using drag-and-drop tools. The platform offers multiple styles, characters and backgrounds. Starts at $19 USD/month.
Pros: clean interface, user friendly colors and designs, offers templates, good for those with some experience making animation.
Cons: fine tuning the animation is cumbersome, slow and heavy product, difficult to manage voiceovers, collaboration feature is buggy.
Mixamo is in Adobe’s family of product and is a spin-off of Stanford University. It’s the first online character animation service that sells web-based services for 3D character animation. Starts at free (with an Adobe ID).
Pros: ideal for 3D animation and game developers/artists, good for testing animation, thousands of customizable animations
Cons: Limited customizations, has been known to lag and crash often, steep learning curve.
For beginners, we’d recommend getting started with Vyond. For those who have made videos before (but aren’t pros) we recommend Toon Boom, and for pros we’d say that Adobe After Effects is the best all-around tool for DIY-ers.