Animated Video Production

Whiteboard Animation Software: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Shawn 07.16.2014

A lot of DIY whiteboard animation software has been popping up over the past few years. Some aren’t awful, some of it is terrible, and some are just confusing.

So, before you embark down the DIY whiteboard animation route, here’s a showdown of the three best whiteboard software examples I’ve found for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly whiteboard animation software available.

“The Good”
whiteboard animation software1

VideoScribe from Sparkol

Price: $25 / month

Best Use:

  • Educators
  • Simple, technical explanations (not sales oriented)
  • FAQs

Not for:

  • Brand Building
  • High-End Products
  • Convention Presentations
  • Lead-Generation
  • Sales

These videos aren’t terrible. No, really – I actually think a few of them are great. The problem isn’t their quality (or at least not entirely). The real problem with DIY software for whiteboards like VideoScribe, is in how people use the videos they create.

Companies need to stop using low quality animation to represent their brand.

Below is a featured user-created video from Healthy Habits Champions:

I like this video. The color palette is appealing and whimsical, and the art style is warm and friendly. It’s a great effort, and a lovely video. But that isn’t enough. This video doesn’t make me want to learn more about this brand.

Technical Problems of DIY

Long pauses, lingering intros and outros, poor sound editing, and lack of transitions make this video subtly uncomfortable to watch. If they’d simply added a no-frills soundtrack to the voiceover, the video would be 10x more engaging!

The art direction is cluttered. Castles, forests, rainbows, coloring, swing sets, ice cream, and a host of other random childhood icons overload the viewer. In the same vein, while there are tons of characters, we never see a protagonist. We don’t get someone to root for; someone to follow.

You don’t notice it till it’s missing, but even “nice looking” amateur whiteboard animation lacks the tiny details and professional precision that viewers expect from media. If you don’t meet viewers’ expectations, you’ll quickly lose their attention.

Final Take:

The whiteboard style animation available doesn’t break the mold, but if you just need to explain something in a very simple way, VideoScribe is a useful tool. Just don’t do too much with it.

The drag-and-drop features and library of characters are easy to use, and $25/month isn’t going to break your budget. I say give it a go, and if you don’t like it – no biggie – you’re out two tickets to a movie.

“The Bad”

whiteboard animation software2

Easy Sketch Pro

Price: $39

Best Use: Pyramid Scheme Presentations / Spam

Not For: Anything respectable

I hate giving negative reviews, but there is nothing redeeming about this product. The animation is choppy and tired. The library of images is tiny, cliche, and flat. Even the marketing attached to this product reads like a bad get-rich quick scheme from a trashy novel – which is super confusing, because the scheme to get rich is to … make cheap animations?

Everything about this product screams bad, from it’s yacht owning “creator,” to it’s long, pointless how-to video:

Don’t expect to use your own images. Formatting third-party .pngs is tedious, according to actual users. The animation is cookie-cutter at best, and simply creates more marketing white noise that people will not even notice. Your brand will suffer from using this product.

Final Take:

So. Bad.

“The Ugly”

whiteboard animation software3

wizScriber from Wizmotion

Price: Freemium

Best Use: Pop-ups / “Can I help you?” animations

Not For: Long messages, voiceover, or anything you’d actually use

whiteboard animation software4
This was a weird one. I was initially intrigued by the fact that a WordPress Plugin existed for whiteboard animations – that’s awesome, and the speed and ease of adding whiteboard animation to a blog post was exciting.

Then I visited the page. (Click the link, but be warned … it’s creepy).

The animation scared the crap out of me.

When you visit a page with the whitebaord animation plugin installed, a disembodied hand knocks on the “glass” of your screen – loudly – after about five seconds. It comes out of nowhere, and takes your mind completely off of whatever reason brought you to the page. Then the hand waves at you.

It gets worse. After this chilling interruption, the hand scribbles nonsense onto what looks like a torn cardboard sign. It’s surreal.

I cannot picture a use for this “tool.” I can’t. The only thing that comes to mind are those annoying “Can I help you?” customer service, pop-up chat windows, which are all the rage for marketers from 2009.

If someone can send me an example of a good use for this tool I’ll gladly feature it on our blog. I will also publicly apologize for misunderstanding this shivering horror of a marketing tactic.

Final Take:

I’m so scared right now.

The End Credits

Whiteboard animation is a great way to make your brand stand out. Whiteboards educate and communicate beautifully, but only when done right. Don’t sell yourself short with whiteboard video software that costs your company more in the long run.

If you’re convinced that the professional approach to whiteboard animation is the best way to represent your brand and looking for a high-quality whiteboard animation maker, contact us today. I promise we won’t knock on the inside of your computer screen.

Shawn

Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at ponieswillbiteyou.com

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