Animated Lesson Introductions

Photo Credit: “Marceline – Adventure Time” via Tofu Verde –

Let’s face it, cartoons are fun to watch and if we are really honest with ourselves we have learned a lot from them.

I am interested in improving my skill-set around creating video shorts that explain a complicated idea in a short, light and easy to consume cartoon. I have seen similar content done on Prezi but really, although I do like digital zooms I really feel like that sort of presentation is really just a PowerPoint with extra bells and whistles to distract participants from the content. Especially now that PowerPoint has introduced the “Morph” Transition. I know it is a popular platform but I have heard a wide range of mixed responses to the platform. Some have even said that it makes them feel sick. Besides, a formal presentation is what I am trying to move away from. As I said, I want to make a narrative cartoon.

I had done some work with Animoto and it is a wonderful online app that is fast and very easy to use. I had not seen many ways to do much more than an animated slideshow with the Animoto platform so it really does not speak to my need.

I found an app called Wevideo that looked at face value like a simple online video editor that you might compare to a souped-up version of the legacy Windows moviemaker that came standard on Pre-Windows 7 Operating Systems. When I have some raw video that I would like to edit I look forward to leveraging that platform, but again I want to make some cartoons.

So then I narrowed it down to two platforms that I felt might be able to create something that I am looking to do. Powtoon, Vyond and GoAnimate stood out as industry standards which aim to do exactly what I want. Start with some audio and quickly build out some cartoons around the story. I researched both and at face value, GoAnimate seemed like the higher-shelf product. It had very modularized backgrounds or sets I would even call them, gobs of props, and characters complete with emotions and animations. The item the sealed the deal was they have the voice to lip sync technology (which I later found is not part of the free trial) that makes the characters actually move their mouths in sync with the vocal audio (but you know, like cartoons do.)

Powtoon was attractive simply because it also looked very good. The animations looked very colorful and compelling. The backgrounds looked great if not as adjustable as the sets on GoAnimate or Vyond. The attribute that made me really long and hard at Powtoon was they have a permanent free option whereas the lowest level on GoAnimate (after a 15-day trial) was $50 a month. Not bad if you make cartoons for a living but too much if it is just something you do once in awhile.

So I have decided to try out both Powton, Vyond and GoAnimate. So far I have only created a short 1 min. video in GoAnimate and I absolutely love working with the platform. I had a beer and knew my way around before the beer was finished. Not bad… Not bad at all. An hour later I have a link to my final product. What did I learn? With the free trial, GoAnimate will place a watermark on the whole video, whereas friends at work have shared that PowToon just pops in a little icon on the bottom corner of the screen. The same is true with Vyond. Powtoon is the lowest pricepoint, and higher than that would be GoAnimate. In my opinion the most expensive platform, Vyond, is worth every penny. There are just so many more characters, set peices and automated animations. In addition set peices themselves are moveable.

Here is an example of a cartoon I created on Vyond:

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