Doodle videos are on the rise and there are doodle makers which offer to help you create such videos. Doodly is one among such tools, and it falls in the top tier of the category. It brings a vast content library and load of features to help you create the kind of video you want.
- Provides multiple board options.
- Has a vast collection of characters and props.
- You can choose one from many of the hand animation options.
- Separate sections for soundtracks and voiceovers.
- Import images and set custom drawing hand animations for them.
- Easy to manage settings for individual assets and scenes.
- Poor navigation options for the content library.
So, you want to create a video. There can be a lot of ways to go about this process. The first thing you need to decide is the kind of video you want to create.
Are you going to record real stuff for the video, or is it going to be an animated one? If it is an animated video, then will the subjects be moving in it or you are going to use images to convey your message in the video?
All these methods come with their own set of problems and solutions. Recording a video may involve high costs of all the equipment, actors, locations, etc. Creating a moving animated video may need you to have great skills or a considerable amount of money to get the project done.
If you want to create a video with images but don’t have the necessary skills, then you will have to either use services of someone who knows how to create such videos or get one of the video making software which can help you create such a video.
There are plenty of video making tools which can help you in the process, and this article is about one of them, Doodly, and how can it be of help to you. But let us first understand why you should go with a video maker instead of hiring someone to do the job for you.
Well, the advantages of using a tool like Doodly are apparent. It doesn’t require you to have any technical expertise, which means you don’t have to worry if you can use it or not.
Hiring someone else for the job brings in the risk of miscommunication, which can result in an end product that you may not like. While using Doodly, everything will be under your control, and there are going to be significantly fewer chances of things going wrong.
Time can be of essence a lot of times, and it will take some time for the job to get completed if you delegate it to someone else. As we will see in later parts of this review, creating a new video on Doodly is a reasonably quick process.
This introduction may seem tilted a bit in favor of Doodly, but that is only because we are comparing it against the option of letting someone other make the video for you.
The review will tell you all there is to know about this video maker. You will get to know all that is good, and also the potential turn-offs for some users.
We will get into the details of features which make Doodly stand out from the rest of video makers in the category, and we will also cite examples of other tools to state out what could have been done better on this platform.
By the end of this review, you will have a much better idea of what’s been done right on Doodly, and if it can be an answer to your video making woes.
Work offline and online
Doodly is a desktop application and not a web-based product like a lot of video making tools you come across these days. It depends on the user if they prefer online applications or desktop ones.
However, with Doodly, you can expect to have the benefits of both forms. The apparent advantage of desktop applications is that one gets the freedom to work offline.
Doodly allows the user to install the application on as many devices as she likes, so, there is the benefit of working on any device as it happens in case of online applications.
Even though it is a desktop application, it stays connected to the internet to make sure you have access to the vast content library of Doodly.
A lot of online applications suffer from buffering and other forms of issues. Doodly’s desktop application provides a snappier and much faster way to create videos. Once you get used to the platform, you can create excellent videos in a matter of a few minutes.
No matter how good a tool is, there is always some room for improvement. Makers of Doodly claim to come up with updates and new features at regular intervals. You will not have to worry much about the application getting outdated this way.
The fact that they take user suggestions into account while rolling out these new updates sweetens the deal even more. So, if there is a feature you would like to have on the platforms, you can let the makers know about it, and you may end up getting the feature.
It’s not just whiteboard animations anymore
Whiteboard animations have become one of the most preferred categories for people creating explainer videos. Viewers like them a lot, and it seems these videos are the best way to create interactive and engaging content.
But since it is one of the more preferred ways of creating videos, the internet is getting crowded with videos of this sort. Whiteboard animations used to be a fresh form of content, and the drawing hand animations used to be the surprise factor.
Everyone is used to these kinds of videos now, and there is no surprise left in them at all. But the animation is still liked a lot by viewers, which is enough for content creators from around the world to come up with whiteboard animations.
With a sea of similar kind of videos out on the internet, it might be a great idea to find a way to stand out from the rest. Doodly offers you ways to create board animation videos such that they have a striking difference when compared to whiteboard animation.
Apart from the usual choice of whiteboard, you get blackboard, greenboard, and a glassboard option on Doodly. The black and green board have animations such that they appear to be drawn with chalk, while the glassboard animation shows bottom of the hand instead of its top.
These different board options work almost the same ways as whiteboard animations, but they have unique traits to make them stand out from of the rest.
Doodly is not limited to only these styles. It allows the user to create custom backgrounds, as well. You can choose the color of background and then decide if you want a marker animation or a chalk animation.
The blackboard animation works exceptionally well for creating teaching videos. The boards come with some sort of texture, which makes them look very real, and the chalk animation takes things to a whole new level.
The glassboard option brings something new to the table, as well. It might be something that your viewers have never seen and may find it fun to see a new way of animation.
We liked how Doodly provides the user to with various options right from the beginning. It allows the user to choose the kind of style for the video.
One can change the style in the later stages of the video or choose to have different board styles for various scenes in the video.
Once you decide the kind of style you want for the editor, you will reach the editor. It is where you will create the video from scratch, take care of audio, and put the finishing touches.
The editor is inarguably the most vital part of any video creation software. It is where the user gets to give shape and structure to his thoughts. The editor is where you get to use all the features available on the tool.
Since the editor has got such an important role to play in the success of any video maker, we like to pay some extra attention to this section.
We believe there are three parameters to judge any editor. The better ones perform well in all three sections. Let us see how Doodly does against these three parameters.
The first step to the ladder of success for editors is flexibility. There will be various kinds of users who would want to implement their ideas. Different ideas will have different types of needs.
Some will be easier to execute using the tools available on the editor, while some will find it difficult to see through the completion stage.
An ideal editor should be capable of taking care of needs of most of the users. The only way for an editor to take care of needs of everyone is to have all the possible features that one can expect to have on the kind of editor.
Doodly already made a perfect start in this regard by providing the user with various board style options right in the beginning. Once you start using the tool, you will find the theme to continue along other sections of the tool as well.
There are tons of options at every step of the way. You don’t need to stick to only one design animation, you get to choose the color for animations, there are multiple options for the images you can have in the video, etc.
However, options for designs, colors, fonts, etc. are quite common in video creation tools. We appreciate Doodly for the fact that it did not disappoint us when it came to such trivial functions.
For instance, the change of scene on Doodly occurs with the previous scene swiping away from the screen. The editor allows you to decide if you want the last scene to swipe up, down, left, or right.
Similarly, there are other features such as the one which allows you to decide the kind of animation you want when the two images overlap.
The choices include erasing the part of the image at bottom with either an eraser or the tip of a finger, letting one image draw over another without any erasing, or allowing the tool to decide what to do.
Different choices create different kinds of effects, and you get to decide what’s right for your video.
There is no doubt that Doodly comes with a good enough editor. But there are still a few things that it cannot do.
One doesn’t get to have a lot of control over what’s happening with the camera movements. Some users would like to have the ability to zoom in and out on the images. It can be helpful if someone wants to showcase relationship between different scenes, create a bigger flowchart with its elements distributed across different scenes, etc.
Some video makers allow users to have control over these aspects, and there is no reason for Doodly not to have such a feature.
Doodly made us work very hard to find a flaw when it comes to the flexibility of the editor. We know it was a bit harsh of us to point out such an unusual weakness, but it will only make the tool better.
A well-organized editor with easy to navigate menus and panels will always help the user to create better videos.
Even if the editor is loaded with features, the features must be easily accessible. Having all the elements present right on the interface does not always translate to easy accessibility, and it doesn’t translate to a neat editor for sure.
The editors with tools either hidden deep inside menus or all of them present at one place can end up annoying users and turn out to be a roadblock when the user is trying to create better videos.
Doodly comes with a lot of customization and editing tools. Therefore, it is necessary that they are smart when placing buttons for all those tools on the interface.
Let us quickly go through the arrangement of various panels and tools on this editor.
The left side of the interface is dedicated to the content library. The panel is collapsible and showcases various categories of items in the gallery. You can look for scenes, characters, props, and sounds.
Each tab in this panel will present to you a variety of options. If you have something specific in mind, you can simply search for it using the search bar.
Depending on the subscription plan you have got, there are going to be a mind-boggling number of choices, and we feel that the makers could have done a bit more to make it easier for users to find what they look for.
For instance, the characters and props sections can have some categories for further sorting down the long list of images. Users only starting with the tool will not have much idea of what character to begin with. It takes a reasonable amount of time to go through the entire list of characters just to have a look at them.
Instead of this, if Doodly would have provided only one image for each character in the beginning, such that the user can select that character to find the other images of the character, then things could’ve much easier to manage.
On the right side of the editor, you get a collapsible ‘actions’ panel. This one showcases all the elements you have on the scene. One can go through managing settings for individual items on the screen or take care of settings for the entirety of the scene. For instance, you can use this panel to pick the kind of board style you want.
You can use the actions panel to control the delay and animation time for individual images involved in the scene. If you want to make some more modifications in the images and assets, you can select them from the canvas and open the settings menu.
Depending on the kind of asset it is, you will get the respective choices.
At the bottom of the editor, you will find timelines for scenes, background audio, and narrations. It is one of the conventional ways of editors to showcase what’s happening with audio and video.
The two audio timelines help the user manage soundtracks more efficiently. Doodly allows the user to drag and drop audio files on the timeline anywhere as they please. One can trim the audio files right on the timeline, which makes it so much easier to synchronize audio and video.
Even though it may sound like a trivial thing, somehow a lot of video making tools miss out on this section. You can add multiple soundtracks in the audio section and have all the sound effects just the way you want.
The only limitation is that you can work with only two layers of audio. However, the situation is still a lot better than what you would get on a lot of doodle makers.
The ‘settings’ button between the timeline and assets panel allows you to control stuff such as hand style, board style, erase animation, scene transition, etc.
The layout of all the panels and tools on Doodly seem to be perfect in so many ways. The tools which one may need to access frequently are readily available right on the editor, and the ones which are not used so often and nicely tucked away in menus and tabs.
One of the end goals of using a doodle maker is to get so efficient at creating videos that once you get used to the tool, you can churn out videos in no time.
Getting used to the software is no big deal. Once you spend ample time on the editor, you are going to get used to the product anyway.
The main concern should be that once you get used to the product, it should be robust enough to facilitate the faster work speed.
On Doodly, it will not take you much longer to get used to the editor and all the different features. And when you try to increase the pace, the editor will not disappoint you.
As we mentioned earlier, this is a desktop application, which allows assets and effects to load much faster. If you have a fast-enough internet connection, it will not take you long to browse the different items in its content library.
Once you move an asset from the content library to the canvas, you don’t need to rely much on the speed of your internet connection or efficiency of servers at the other end.
The editor is responsive and doesn’t make you wait long to incorporate the changes you make on the canvas.
We found no flaws in this section at all.
Doodly’s editor is capable of handling pretty much everything you throw at it. There are one or two things that we would like to see improved on the editor, but overall, this is one of the best editors we have come across on a doodle maker.
Images, texts, and audios are the three things which you use in an animation video to convey the message. Among these three components, images and texts have a more significant role to play when compared to audio.
If the images and text do not have an engaging appearance, there is nothing much you can do with the audio alone.
Other than the appeal, the images should also be relevant to the message you want to convey through the video. And since each video will be about something different, you need to have a lot of variety when it comes to images.
We have already mentioned that Doodly is rich in terms of the content it has to offer. They have got offerings for different scenes, situations, needs, etc.
Let us have a brief look at all the things you will find their content gallery.
The class of items we would like to discuss first are the characters. Depending on the kind of videos users create, some would require the same character in various poses while there will be a few who would not care about the character but just the poses.
Doodly takes care of the needs of both these classes by providing a long list of characters. Each character comes in a variety of poses and with a lot of expressions, allowing the user to even create a whole story using a single character.
Those who are interested in the poses get more than what they asked for. They will have more than one option at their disposal majority of times.
The characters have been laid out in alphabetical order in the panel, and since there are multiple poses for most of the characters, the list has become way too long.
The disadvantage of this long list is that if you are not familiar with the different characters present in the gallery, you will have to spend a lot of time to know about them.
If someone decides to scroll through the list to find the suitable characters and poses, then it is highly likely that the video will contain only the characters with their names starting with the first four alphabets.
Doodly could have been smarter with the layout. They should’ve provided a list of just the characters, as well. A list which would include only one image for each character, giving the user some idea of what to expect from various characters.
If you are patient enough, you will be able to go through the entire list, but the task is a lot more complicated then what it is supposed to be.
If we move into the props section, the situation is virtually the same. There are a lot of items in the list, but once again there is no sorting, and all of them have been displayed in alphabetical order. You will have to sacrifice a lot of your time to have a look at all the elements showcased in the list.
A user can look for items using the search bar, but the search has to be way too accurate, and it makes the user do most of the legwork. If they had props under categories such as school, office, hospital, etc., then one can easily have a group of items at her disposal, which consists of what she wants.
You will find a tab called ‘scenes’ in the asset library. It puts together various props and characters to create backdrops for a lot of situations.
If you are lucky enough, you will find a backdrop which suits your needs and requirements. The ‘scenes’ tab offers a vast collection of detailed and beautiful images.
All the images, characters, and text you get on Doodly will be without any color. If you would like your video to have colored images and text, then you can pay a one-time fee and get a colorful version of everything in the gallery.
The colors add a lot of flare and personality to all the assets and make the video a lot more appealing.
The next most important tool you can use to relay emotion and messages on a doodle video is text. They can be used to put out some information or used in a way to enhance the emotion of characters or let the user know about the situation.
Doodly comes with only three font options, to begin with. All three formats are well suited to the kind of video one creates on this platform. But only three options for fonts can never be enough. They should have been a lot more generous in this section.
Thankfully you can add fonts on the platform yourself. It allows users to make sure they don’t miss out on popular and preferred font options.
The final ingredient for a video is the soundtrack. Most of the whiteboard animation videos have some kind of narration. It requires the user to record audio, and Doodly allows one to record audio on the microphone as the video plays.
But it is not just narration, that you may have on these videos. Sometimes there are background tracks, sounds for special effects, songs, etc. You can add all of these in your videos on Doodly.
The video maker offers a collection of soundtracks that you can use in the video. The tempo and moods vary across these songs, and you can pick the ones appropriate for the video.
The duration of tracks is displayed next to them, which makes it easier for you to pick the ones which have duration closer to the length of your video.
You will discover the issue of not being able to navigate through the options properly in this section, as well.
Doodly has clearly made a lot of effort to make sure the users get a vast gallery of content and media for the videos. But of what use is this large volume of content if it is difficult for one to browse the elements.
The service providers need to come with a better solution such that the user can quickly go through all the options presented to him.
According to us, they need to create broader categories for all the sections which contain a lot of options and allow the user to browse the elements in more than one way.
Video makers such as Vyond apply a similar strategy to ensure the user can have a look at most of them.
There are doodle makers with their galleries comparable to Doodly’s, yet they have employed various ways to make the elements easily accessible, and Doodly needs to apply some of those methods too.
The hand animations
One of the standout features of doodle videos are the hand animations. Most of us were left in its awe when we saw it for the first time. And if the animation were applied perfectly, it would have left you wondering how a person can be such good at doodling.
Even though we are now aware of how the whole thing works, it is a satisfying feeling to see perfect application of hand animation on a doodle video.
Doodly seems to realize how important this section of the tool is, and therefore, they provide the user with a lot of customization options for the hand.
The first choice you get to make for hand animations is that you can state if you want it to be a left-handed animation or right-handed animation.
After that, you can pick the kind of hand you want. The options include hands of various sizes and gender. You can decide if you want a masculine hand or a feminine hand, if it should be full-sleeved or not, etc.
There is also an option to go for a cartoon hand if that’s what you are into.
We already mentioned that Doodly comes with the option for glassboard. The striking difference between glassboard and other boards is that you get to have the bottom view of the drawing hand animation.
The images appear above the hand animation instead of what happens in case of other boards. This reverse overlapping has also got a role to play in the glassboard effect.
You get multiple options in this case too, but they are not as many as there were in case of other boards. The cartoon hand animation is also present among other options.
Doodly hasn’t got the highest number of options when it comes to hand animations, but there are enough hands to take care of needs of most users.
When it comes to erasing the images, you get the option to decide if you want the hand to erase the image using a fingertip or the duster. One can use the fingertip option when there is only a smudge to erase and duster when there is a lot.
Subtleties like these make a tool better than its competition, and Doodly seems to be on the right path.
Draw your own images
Just like any other doodle maker, Doodly allows you to import images on your own. There is nothing new to a video making software allowing the user to import content. However, the feature we are about to discuss in this section is probably the best thing a doodle maker can have.
Once you import image to your Doodle library, you will not have to rely on the sketching animation when it comes the hand drawing the image on the video.
Doodly allows you to dictate how the hand will move across the image, what lines it will trace, and what parts will it draw first. You can precisely mark the point which the hand will have to trace and divide the whole process into steps to give it a bit more of realism.
You can trace multiple sets of paths over the image, name them differently, and decide which one will be traced first. As you define various paths, the hand animation will remove the marker from the image while moving from one trace path to another. It appears as if the hand is leaving the board to draw another curve.
Doodly have paid a lot of attention on how to ensure that animations appear real on images inserted by the user. The possibility of having the usual drawing hand animation on any image you want opens up the door to so many possibilities.
We enjoyed using this feature a lot and were impressed by what it brings to the table.
There is no doubt that Doodly is an above-average product when it comes to doodle makers. They not only provide all the usual tools and features that you expect to see on a video maker, but there were some fresh introductions, as well.
The inclusion of various kinds of boards along with the usual ones gives it an edge over other products right from the beginning. The glassboard was among the noticeable inclusions in this case.
The platform comes with a lot of advanced customization and editing options, and yet it manages to keep things simple and manageable for new users.
The options to manage settings for individual scenes or to take care of them collectively give a lot of freedom to users. The product got detailed in a lot of areas such as when you get to decide if you want the fingertip or the eraser to rub off the images.
The content library part was the only curveball we got thrown at us by Doodly. While the library had so much to offer to users, the poor navigation options made it difficult for users to even have a look at all the content within the gallery.
It was good to find out that there were separate sections for background audio and voiceovers. The options to trim the audio clips made it much easier to synchronize tracks and live voiceover always makes things simpler when creating such videos.
The option to set drawing animation your way for the images you add was the highlight of the product for us. They not only provided the feature but paid attention to the details as well.
Learning to use Doodly is a simple enough task. The seven short videos on their website are enough to set anyone on the right path. The editor is intuitive, and you can start creating great videos from day one.
We have no hesitation whatsoever in recommending this product to our readers. It is worth a try for sure.