Third-Party Tools for Better Brainsharks in 2014^* Part 1: Creating Hand-Drawn Animations

January 16, 2014 | Wahl Allison
Third-Party Tools for Better Brainsharks in 2014^* Part 1: Creating Hand-Drawn Animations

As you ramp up for 2014, we want to make sure your Brainshark content follows suit with some new tools to add to your repertoire. In this post, we’ll highlight two cool tools for creating hand-drawn animations. Then keep your eyes peeled for part 2 where we’ll recommend some interesting translation tools to consider.

We’ve all seen them – whiteboard animations, and wow are they cool! They add a storytelling twist to even the blandest of content, taking presentations outside the bounds of traditional PowerPoint. Furthermore, because of the authenticity that these animations bring to the table, studies by Aberdeen Group and others point to important effects, like increased conversion rates and shortened sales cycles when the animations are included in presentations.

But who has the time or technical know-how to create them? Great news…YOU do!  Below we’ve reviewed two great whiteboard or “doodle” animation software programs – Sparkol VideoScribe and Moovly -- that allow you to quickly, easily (and inexpensively) kick your Brainshark presentations into high gear.

Sparkol VideoScribe

The inspiration to seek out these programs came after last year’s Sharkie Awards. Corporate Visions won the Corporate Communications category AND second place overall with this great presentation:

Not only did it garner appreciation from our community, but their twist on the traditional job posting  gained widespread  attention, and helped them collect responses from around the world (and yes, it did land them a superhero for the position). When we shared  Corporate Visions’ Sharkie-winning presentation with our community, it garnered a great amount of interest, with a number of folks asking, “How did they do it?!

Their answer: Sparkol Video Scribe.

Sparkol did not disappoint. The interface for this application-based program is extremely user friendly, and everything you need to effectively use the tool is laid out in front of you. Sparkol starts at $16/month and users can access images from a built-in library or upload their own images (which could also just be the content on your slides) to create simple but effective animated videos.

Here’s how Sparkol works:

Following login, you are brought to the Project screen where you may begin creating a “scribe,” access previously created content, or alter universal program settings.

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After selecting Create, the user is brought to the canvas which functions like an infinite sheet of paper stretching in all directions. To move about the canvas, you can either click and drag or manipulate the camera.

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Every image you select is displayed in an animation timeline. For each image there is an identical menu that allows you to control style and animation. To change when an image presents itself in your scribe, select the image on either the timeline or the canvas, and use the menu arrows to control its location.

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For VideoScribe examples, additional information or how-to demos, visit Sparkol.com.

Moovly

For those who desire a solution with more features, Moovly is a great, web-based alternative. Compared to Sparkol, Moovly is slightly less user friendly but allows for more impressive visuals with a format more akin to standard video editing software. Pricing starts at $9.95/month and there is unlimited access to a freemium version (vs. Sparkol’s 7-day free trial).

Here’s how Moovly works:

When you log into your account, you are taken to a library of your content. From there you have the option to choose an animation template from the Moovly Marketplace or one of your own to begin (Brainshark also has three volumes of free animation templates you can access here).

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Once you have opened a project, adding an item is as simple as dragging the object from your library to the animation board. Each object within your animation board is displayed vertically on a video time line, with options to choose duration and style of animation.

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After selecting the objects you would like to use, choose an option from the animation pane. You can select multiple animations for the same object, and even set them to occur at the same time if you wish. 

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For Moovly examples, additional information, or how-to demos, visit Moovly.com, and to see how it looks in Brainshark, check out our example below.


Our take!

After testing the waters with Sparkol VideoScribe and Moovly, we found them both to be great options for adding whiteboard animations to your presentations. Sparkol and Moovly both run on Mac or PC, with the ability to store content locally or via the cloud. Although both have free offerings, we did find that paid options included larger image libraries, enhanced editing/design capabilities, and the ability to modify the video output quality (SD, HD, etc.).

Additionally, paid versions allow users to produce longer videos and remove Sparkol/Moovly watermarks. Fortunately, both services make it extremely easy to publish videos directly to social networks, import into PowerPoint, or save and add as a video slide in Brainshark.

Sparkol VideoScribe is perfect for the user whose number one priority is ease-of-use. In addition to being completely intuitive, the software is desktop-based and even offers a mobile device app (for iOS and Android), allowing you to access and create videos no matter where you are or what device you are using. What’s more, Sparkol gives you the ability to add personality by uploading images of your own hand to do the drawing.

Moovly, although more complex than Sparkol, is ideal for those who want to delve a bit deeper into whiteboard animation while saving space on their desktop, as it is totally cloud-based. That being said, Moovly does not offer mobile functionality or the ability to work offline. With Moovly, whiteboard animations are taken to the next level and you can even animate multiple objects simultaneously, upload your own video clips to supplement what you’ve created, or save yourself time using pre-packaged animations from the library.

Either way… you can’t go wrong. Both Moovly and Sparkol guarantee great experiences, authentic hand-drawn animations, and a presentation that will leave your audience wowed and wanting more.

Visit our Third-Party Tools page for more utilities to help enhance your Brainshark presentations.

Images courtesy of sparkol.com and moovly.com



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