How Can I Make My Own Animated Videos?

By Caryn AndersonLast Updated Sep 23, 2020 11:23:56 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: Zhifei Zhou/Unsplash

Whether it’s for marketing, entertainment or quite often both, video is more popular than ever. While live action certainly isn’t going away, animation in videos is also on the rise, and not just for content aimed at kids. From commercials to funny YouTube videos, there are more and more places where animation is used in videos.

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You may be interested in making animated videos but intimidated by the process of making them. If that’s the case, don’t worry — modern technology makes animation easier than ever to pull off, so whether you’re an experienced artist looking to explore a new medium or a complete creative newbie, there are ways for you to begin making your own animated videos.

Write Your Video Script

Before you commit to making the video, you should come up with a vision for what your video will look like and what purpose it will serve. Start by figuring out why you're making the video, what the message is and who you're making it for. Then, start crafting the storyline.

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Photo Courtesy: Brad Neathery/Unsplash

Begin with the hook — an opening image or idea that will win over viewers’ attention and keep them engaged and willing to watch the rest of the video. From there, create the main part of the video with all the action promised in your hook. Finally, if you're making the video for marketing or business purposes, include a call to action directing viewers to take the next step — whatever you feel that should be.

You might even find it useful to make a storyboard, or a scene-by scene representation of what to happen in the video. Doing so will help you smooth out the details of the video and identify any elements that aren’t contributing to your vision. You can sketch it out yourself or use a computer program to help you. Some animated video tools, like Animaker, even include storyboard tools to make the planning process quick and easy.

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Choose the Right Tools

Having an awesome animation program makes all the difference when you’re making animated videos. Like any other project, the quality of the job and ease of the task can be bolstered by having the right tools for the job. Fortunately, many animation programs are free or relatively cheap as well as fast and easy to use.

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Photo Courtesy: Vyond/Twitter

One program to consider is Vyond. While it’s geared toward professional use in marketing, training and internal business communications, its wide selection of premade templates and voiceover options as well as the intuitive interface could make it appealing to many would-be animators. It does require a monthly fee and offers only limited customization, however, so it may not meet all needs. Alternatively, Animatron offers several animation video programs that are also well-suited for commercial purposes.

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If you’re looking for maximum creative freedom and have the technical know-how to pull it off (or the willingness to learn), Adobe After Effects and AutoDesk’s Maya are two animation tools that see wide usage from true animation professionals. Of the two, After Effects is by far the cheaper program — without a license, Maya can cost more than $1,600 a year.

Pick Your Animated Video Style

There are tons of animation styles out there, each with their own pros and cons. It helps to brush up on what's available and be mindful of what is best suited to the purpose of your video. 2D animation is a common style that creates lifelike motion out of sequential images, although it may seem less impressive than 3D animation. The downside of 3D animation, however, is that it’s often more time-consuming and technical to produce.

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Photo Courtesy: KOBU Agency/Unsplash

And those aren’t your only options. Whiteboard animation is ideal for explainer videos and anything that does well with minimal visuals. Cartoon animation adds a lighthearted, fun look to your video, while motion graphics are ideal for more serious animated videos that are oriented toward professional purposes.

Once that’s decided, you’re ready to go. Making animated videos can be a challenge, so don’t expect to become an expert overnight. You can probably make something fun fairly quickly, however, and with enough practice, you can make some truly impressive content.

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