There's a new Whiteboard Video Creator on the market called “Doodly”. I was given review access to product so I could test it out before release, and here's what I think of it – not spiel off the official sales page, my actual honest opinion having tried it out for myself!
Very easy to understand interface (No steep learning curve = BIG time saver!)
Easy to adjust drawing to match your Voice Over (Timeline feature)
Fewer features than you might expect
“The more I use Doodly, the more I like it :)”
What Sets Doodly Apart From The Rest?
“We offer white board and blackboard (no one else offers this)”
This isn't strictly true, although it is definitely very easy to choose to make a Whiteboard video or a Blackboard video when you start creating, and you can even change your mind half way through and switch to the other instead. Quick and easy is a definite plus point (after all, time is money as they say).
I say it's not strictly true because you can actually do this in Explaindio V2. When the canvas is open there's a button in the bottom right hand corner called Paper, click on that and you can choose a different canvas background, including any you import youself, and then check the box to “Overwrite Sketch Line Color” and your sketch graphics will draw in whatever color you choose from the color picker box, including white, voila! a Blackboard video 🙂
Lots of Video Assets Built-In
Doodly does have lots of whiteboard assets included when you first purchase. The library includes 10 Characters (both male and female) with 20 poses each. There are also 20 complete Scenes, which you can customize by moving the individual props around, deleting them, or even adding extra ones (and Characters), plus 200 individual Props.
The Library is divided into Tabs called Scenes, Characters, Props, Text and Sounds. The Props are divided into Categories, 15 at the time I reviewed Doodly, plus you can import your own graphics into “My Library”.
There are about 25 Music Tracks included, which you can preview before adding to your video which is a nice feature. You can also easily import your own.
There are only 3 fonts included when you first login to Doodly, but it's easy to import your own Fonts in OTF or TTF formats.
(The first OTO is actually lots more whiteboard assets, namely 75 poses for each Character and 1,200 total assets instead of 200.)
No Special File Formats Required (SVGs Not Needed!)
The assets that you can import to Doodly need to be in PNG or JPG format, which is different to the other 3 popular Whiteboard Video Creators which generally require SVGs for best performance.
Is this a good thing? Yes and no – you can't import any of the SVGs you have, but generally SVGs do come paired with PNGs anyway, so you can just go ahead and import the PNGs.
Word of warning though, don't expect the PNGs to “draw” as outlines – you'll find that the hand will start form the top left hand corner, and “draw” in a diagonal motion downwards until it reaches the bottom right hand corner. This is akin to a child drawing block strokes over a picture, or a kind of “reveal” effect rather than the way a cartoonist would draw a picture.
UPDATE: You can now import SVGs into Doodly, but you'll need to re-map them (a really unique feature of Doodly!) if you want them to draw as outlines.
NB: think the drawing hand is a bit blurry? This is the official reply: “So the hand's are actual models we used/filmed, which creates that realistic feel. If you notice, our hand moves super realistic, tilting, left right, like a real hand would.” Good point!
NB: Be aware of pixelation of your image if it's not high res to start with and you want to increase the size.
To be fair Doodly does feature a “re-draw” facility, which basically lets you dictate how your imported assets draws out by plotting the drawing lines in your order of preference – but this is going to take some time especially if you're working with complex drawings like Characters for example.
Having said that – lots of SVGs you might have actually draw pretty badly in other programs because they're not fully compatible or well made in the first place. Doodly actually lets you change all that easily, which is a VERY unique feature. So the upshot is, with a bit of time and patience you can get ANY existing SVG to draw perfectly in Doodly.
What About Background Music & Voice Overs?
There is a built in library of audio tracks as mentioned above, and of course you can import your own, including Voice Overs.
The really good thing about Doodly is that the Timeline is very easily adjusted by just clicking and dragging so it's pretty simple to match up the length of each Scene to match the Voice Over you have. This is something that hasn't been easy to achieve with other Video Creators, meaning you would normally need a third party compositing tool such as Screenflow for Mac or Camtasia for Windows.
Can I Sell My Doodly Videos?
If you want to use Doodly for client work ie. sell your videos, you're going to need OTO2 which is the $97 Enterprise package.
Starting price for Doodly is $67 which gets you the Personal Use Licence, and the assets mentioned above.
Upgrade 1 is the extra assets also mentioned above, but it's not clear if you would need to purchase everything in the funnel to be able to sell your Doodly created videos, I suspect not, so that would be $164 for Commercial rights and fairly limited assets, which is a bit steeper than you might like, but if you're selling videos to Offline Business Owners then one sale should recoup your purchase.
Getting OTO1 (the extra assets) would be a good idea if you are selling videos because it's going to give you a whole lot of extra compatible assets at your fingertips, which means you can create more videos, more quickly in more niches.
But at $313 for everything, it's a fairly hefty cost right off the bat.
SUMMARY: Is Doodly Worth It?
If you're looking for an extremely easy to use Whiteboard Video Creator, with some very nice assets and ready made scenes already included, and no steep learning curve, then Doodly is definitely worth considering.
It's not cheap, but it's a trade-off for your time, and we all know that time is money.
If you're happy to use the provided assets (you get lots with the Pro version), everything draws beautifully. If you'd want to use your own assets, then be prepared to either have them not “draw” as the native assets do, prepare to spend time “re-drawing” them using the built in tool, or simply embrace the different effect you get with imported assets (might actually make a nice “pattern interrupt” and keep your videos more engaging).
I did ask the product creators if there were any plans for expanding the available assets beyond what is being offered during the launch period, and I was told that they are planning to create a monthly offering in the near future, only for customers who purchase now.
My opinion – yes if you don't mind the price tag and are happy with the provided assets, and I do believe the product creators are planning more for Doodly in the near future
(UPDATE 9th Aug): There have been 2 updates to the software since I got my copy, including more handsets and less blurring on the drawing hand upon export – nice!)
(UPDATE 14th Aug): You can now import SVGs – see above for more info.
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