Animation software recommendations for scenario / explainer-video style animations?

I created several short videos for inclusion in my Storyline course that show various characters interacting in different locations: a store, a home living room, etc. I used Vyond, because I needed to change the skin and hair colors to unnatural colors like green and blue, and I needed to select specific clothing styles for each character. The problem is, the Vyond characters (contemporary style - other Vyond styles don't allow customization) are all very tall and thin, and my client wants the characters to have varying heights and weights. The height of these characters can't be changed without changing the scale, and changing the weight appearance isn't an option. 

I've looked at Toonly, which has characters with different weight appearances but it doesn't seem to be possible to change the clothing, skin and hair color, etc in Toonly.

Does anyone know of any other simple explainer video creation software, like Vyond and Toonly, with which you can customize height, weight, skin and hair color and clothing of  characters? 

My other option is to use something like Adobe Animate,  Blender, or Maya, but that would take a lot of development time (particularly because I'd have to learn one of these complex apps), and I'd like to spare the client that expense.

Thanks to anyone who has some information about this topic.


2 Replies
Jennifer Grant

Since there weren't any responses to this post, I'm going to post the results of my research, in case anyone else is looking for information on this topic.

Here are all the animation products I found that might be of use for elearning developers:

Template-Based Animation Software:

  • Vyond - $649 per year. Use templates and semi-customizable characters to make elearning scenes & explainer videos quickly (formerly GoAnimate)
  • Toonly - $480 per year. Use templates and characters (not customizable) to make elearning scenes & explainer videos quickly

3-D & 2-D Animation Software:

  • Adobe Edge Animate - Free with subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud. Advanced 3-D application
  • Blender - Free, open source 3-D animation suite. Advanced 3-D application
  • CelAction2D - $1350 per year. Advanced 2D animation software
  • Maya - $195 per month. Advanced 3-D application
  • Moho (Anime Studio) Pro - $399 per year. Advanced 2D animation software
  • ToonBoom Harmony - $60 per month. Advanced 2D animation software that is also good for beginners
  • TupiTube - $50 per year – 2-D simple software designed for animation beginners

Photorealistic (feature film quality) 3-D Software:

  • 3ds Max Design - $1,545 annual – very advanced, real world verisimilitude. Film/video game quality
  • Cinema 4D - 3-D animation targeted to feature film makers
  • KeyShot - 3-D animation images, exploded view, etc., intended for marketing
  • Unity - Free for those who make less than $100k per year.  $125 per month for teams and freelancers. For film-quality animation

Free Animation Software:

  • Powtoon -  Simple video editing and effects; a bit like PowerPoint for video. Free for Microsoft Windows
  • Synfig - Free, open source 2-D application. Interface is simple, and potentially limiting.
  • Opentoonz - Free, open source 2-D application – anime focused. Instructions are mostly translated from Japanese
  • Pencil2D Animation - Free, open source 2-D application – for hand-drawn animations only
Jenda George

I worked in a microphysiology simulations lab for many years. I found that Blender worked best for me at rendering large-scale animation, but it helped a LOT that I also know Python and could write custom plug-ins for the tool. Even if you don't know Python, the Blender community is incredibly helpful and if you can dream it up, someone probably developed a plug-in for it by now.

In my current company and a past one, we use(d) Adobe After Effects to develop animations, but we create our characters in Illustrator for use in our "expert minute" videos.