If you’ve been connected at any time to the Internet lately there’s no doubt that you would realise that today is the age of multimedia. Content is king, but not just any type of content; Dynamic content.
This can take the form of slideshows or videos. If you’re running a business or even a blog, this is an area where you can grab market share with just a little effort.
However, if you’re like me and consider yourself hopeless at video editing of any kind, how can you create this powerful content without breaking the bank by engaging a creative firm to help you? The answer is simple really; Use an online animation tool!
What are online animation tools?
For those familiar with Cloud-based services, online animation tools are similar. Instead of installing a software, you log in to a website and use their service. One of those that I’ve used before is Wideo, which helps you create animations such as slideshows and infographics.
Many of these online tools come packed with powerful features that will create the maximum bling with the minimum pain, even if you have no experience at all. This includes ready-to-use templates which can be prettied up with either your own images or from an internal database of stock images. Various providers will of course offer different stuff.
Enter Wideo, Wave, and Wistia
Three of the top online animation creation tools I’ve come across are Wideo, Wave.video and Wistia. Each of them are extremely powerful and will be able to let you craft professional-looking animation videos in a short time.
As an example, let’s take a deeper look at Wideo’s features.
While I feel that Wideo is powerful in its simplicity, some would argue that for the price it costs, there’s far too little functionality. This is likely to be a back and forth disagreement between proponents and there’s no real win side to the argument except personal preference. Mainly, Wideo has;
1- Rich Template Repository
The template base mentioned earlier is very important for beginners to Wideo as it provides a learning playground, so to speak. By choosing one of the templates and customizing parts of it to do and show what you want it to, the learning process becomes more interactive and fun.
There are almost 100 to choose from and these range from a simple birthday greeting animation all the way to corporate presentations.
Once you’ve created or customized an animation, you can even save that as your personal template if you wish.
2- Multiple Image Options
Visuals are one of the most critical parts of animation videos and Wideo has an interesting system that uses Google image search to help you find stuff. However, it returns images based on your search that are public domain and hence useable without copyright issues.
If there’s something more personal or specific you have that you want included, you can just upload an image of your own and place it. Wideo also has large amounts of ready-to-use 3D objects and sound clips already available.
3- Visual Editor
Perhaps the most important part of Wideo, and where it seriously excels, is in the editing engine. As mentioned earlier, Wideo requires Adobe Flash to run, but one you get it going you’ll find it is no different or any more difficult than using a more powerful version of Microsoft Powerpoint.
Almost everything is drag and drop, with text boxes you can add on and type in to. To enable the layering of multiple images, just simply add them on and you can select which image stays on top by either sending others to the back, or bringing the one you one to the top. Just visualize laying playing cards on top of each other and you’ll get what I mean.
Notably, there are also the important transition effects which would affect how your screens move form one to another. This can be as simple as a slide across a page, or even as nifty as having a finger swipe across a display on a mobile phone.
4- Instant Sharing
Once your animation has been created and processed, you can share it to multiple channels right from the dashboard. This includes to social media channels or even directly to your clients. In fact, it can even go straight up on Youtube!
Alternatives to Wideo
If you don’t think Wideo is the one for you there are other top-notch tools as well, such as Wave.video and Wistia that essentially do the same thing – help you quickly create effective animation videos. The main differences lie in the extra services and of course, slight tweaks to the interface.
Wistia delivers beautiful videos at up to 4k resolutions and is perfect for those who are leaning heavily towards the marketability of their content. To that end, it includes helpful extras such as heatmaps and statistics that will help you adjust your marketing campaigns.
The pitch that this tool has is that it is aimed directly at allowing you to use your videos towards highly tangible and convertible results such as email collection and calls to action leading straight to a purchase.
Wave.video allows you to configure not only your video formats and aspect ratios, but also lets you merge multiple videos before downloading them in one of six available formats (or even in all six formats at the same time). It comes with access to a massive stock image library and sound file repository.
To show you how simple it is to create an animation, let me show you one which I created using a Wideo template. This was done in five minutes flat (excluding processing time) and is short and sweet.
These are the steps I went through, so you can see how simple it was;
From the template repository I chose the ‘Sell Your House Video template’.
The next screen has three main areas. On the left were components (images, sound, etc), the centre was the first template page and the right had a column of page icons just like in Powerpoint.
After that, it was just a matter of going through the template and replacing text and images with those that I wanted.
Give your animation a name and click save, then Wideo will do the processing and send an email when it’s complete.
During the processing stage, Wideo will tell you that it might take some time to complete (hence the email). I’m guessing that the length of time you must wait will vary based on the complexity of your Wideo. That would be a factor of file sizes and Wideo length.
As a side note, I did attempt a second video which would have been a demo of a mobile app. The template for this was good too, unfortunately for some reason I was unable to customize one of the screens that showed during the animation process. Otherwise it would have been even better.
Who’s using these tools and how much does it cost?
There seems to be a very good spread of customers who are using the available tools. An example of this can be taken from Wideo, which has everyone from individual entrepreneurs all the way to large corporates.
However, it’s specifically what they wrote in the testimonials which come to mind and should be important to you. For example, according to Yolanda Verveer-Born, Strategy & Amp Innovation at Randstadt;
“With Wideo we reduced 90% of production costs for our internal promotional videos. Wideo saves us money and time!”
This is notable since it involves a major global HR company and the testimonial shows resource savings such as time and money.
Pricing is very competitive among the online video animation tool providers, but don’t mistake this as cheap. These marketing videos can create a huge following for your brand or product and the ROI should not be underestimated.
Creating video animations are a fast and cost-effective way to generate leads and can lead to extremely high returns. For example, did you know, according to these studies, that video generates triple the number of monthly visitors to a website as other content? Visitors also spend 88% more time on a website that includes video.
You can use any of the online video animation tools to leverage on the boom of social media, and create powerful, compelling marketing material quickly and effectively. Essentially, you’re trading spending in a relatively grey area (ad spend) to a format that is highly engaging and much more measurable. For ease of use, just check out our demo video above and see how quickly a simple video can be made.
Most tools have a free trial period, so sign up and get your hand in today!
Article by Timothy Shim
Timothy Shim is a writer, editor, and tech geek. Starting his career in the field of Information Technology, he rapidly found his way into print and has since worked with International, regional and domestic media titles including ComputerWorld, PC.com, Business Today, and The Asian Banker. His expertise lies in the field of technology from both consumer as well as enterprise points of view.