Best Explainer Video Software | Free, Paid & Alternative Options

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say:

Animation can come with a steep learning curve. 

But what if I told you you could create a basic, low-cost explainer video in a short amount of time? 

Better yet, you could do so with no prior animation experience? 

As it turns out, there’s quite a range of beginner-focused animation software that allows you to create a basic explainer video in just a few minutes. 

Although the results won’t be the same as as hiring an animator, it’ll provide you with a great starting point to get the ball rolling on your business. 

Let’s dive in:

Free Explainer Video Software

Adobe Spark

explainer video software 1

Adobe Spark is a browser-based platform for creating explainer videos, landing pages and social media graphics.

The platform assumes no prior knowledge of video editing, making it perfect for business owners who are looking to make a simple promotional video.

Although the standard plan is free, it’s worth noting that it comes with limited features as well as an Adobe watermark.

Features Include:

  • Large library of pre-designed layouts
  • Built-in narration 
  • Built-in music library
  • Video length of up to 30 seconds
Pros Cons
Very easy to use  No ability to enlarge text
Large library of templates & colour schemes Resolution limited to 720px
Added landing page & graphic design suite Social sharing limited to Facebook & Twitter


Premium Options:

Package Price
Full version $9.99/month


Platforms:
Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

RenderForest 

explainer video software

RenderForest is a cloud-based platform that specializes in animated video. It’s specifically-designed for business owners who are looking to create dynamic video content. 

The platform comes jam-packed with templates for explainer videos, including an Explainer Video Toolkit as well as a 3D Explainer Video Toolkit.

The extensive library of pre-designed toolkits are extremely handy as they save you from having to start the animation process completely from scratch. 

The free version allows for unlimited projects and video exports. However, the quality is capped at 360p and will feature a watermark. 

Features Include:

  • Customer support 
  • Pre-designed video templates
  • Short render time 
Pros Cons
Huge library of explainer video toolkits Resolution capped at 360p on free version 
Large music library  Limited customization 
Create videos up to 3 minutes Slow render speed 


Premium Options:

Package Price
Amateur $59/month
Pro $89/month
Business $119/month
Enterprise $299/month


Platforms:
Windows, Mac

Animatron 

animatron

Animatron is another web-based animation platform.

It’s specifically designed for explainer videos, boasting over 200 pre-animated sets and over 500,000 videos, photos and music clips. 

Animatron focuses on whiteboard animation (which gives the appearance of content being hand-drawn on a whiteboard).

This is great for adding a human element to your video and is particularly-suited to creative industries. 

The free version allows you to create up to 5 public projects, although it’s worth noting that the video length is capped to 10 seconds. 

Features Include:

  • 2GB storage 
  • Library of ready-made content 
  • Drag & drop interface
  • Ability to import media (video & audio)
Pros Cons
Easy-to-use drag & drop interface Very short export time
Ability to import custom media & vectors Slow upload/download time for media
Large library of animated characters Limited variety of animation styles


Premium Options:

Package Price
Pro $30/month
Business $60/month


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Powtoon 

Powtoon is designed for both interactive presentations and explainer videos. Being a web-based application, it’s packed with templates in a wide range of animation styles. 

Powtoon also allows you to choose templates in different aspect ratios, allowing you to create explainer videos for a range of different web and social media platforms. 

The free version allows you to create and export up to 3 minutes of animated video, although the final version will feature a Powtoon watermark

Features Include:

  • Ability to import custom media 
  • Industry-specific vector packs
  • Voiceover/narration
  • Timeline-based interface
Pros Cons
Highly-customizable  Free version extremely limited
Ability to import custom media High loading time on presentations
Supports rich text editing Slightly buggy interface


Premium Options:

Package Price
Pro $19/month
Pro Plus $59/month
Agency $99/month

Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Open Toonz 

explainer video software

If you’re looking for a full-feature open source platform to create a 2D explainer video, look no further than Open Toonz.

It’s completely free of charge and does not offer a premium version. 

Open Toonz is designed for users with previous animation experience, meaning it has a much steeper learning curve than much of the other software we’ve mentioned.

That said, it’s far more feature-rich and flexible than many of the freemium animation programs out there. 

Features Include:

  • Motion tracking (used to match animation to a piece of live action footage)
  • Indexed color palettes 
  • Frame-by-frame animation
  • Compositing
Pros Cons
Completely free of charge Previous animation experience required
Extremely rich in features Slightly buggy
Open source  Requires significant RAM


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Premium Explainer Video Software

Adobe Character Animator

explainer video software

Adobe Character Animator is an incredibly powerful program that’s based around motion capture technology. 

Using just a webcam and microphone, Character Animator tracks your movements and expressions to animate a character in real time. This is perfect for adding a human element to your explainer video. 

Although the motion capture process is quick and easy, it comes with a slight learning curve and can take time to set things up how you’d like them.

It’s important to note that this software is only available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud. Therefore, you’ll have to purchase a full cloud subscription in order to use this program. 

Features Include:

  • Full-body motion capture
  • Custom character creation
  • Scene + timeline panel
  • Ability to import custom media
  • Tutorial mode
Pros Cons
Tutorials provided Slight learning curve
Highly-customizable Not available for mobile
Ability to import custom media Not available for individual purchase


Pricing:

Package Price
Full version $52.99/month


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Wideo Animation

explainer video software

Wideo is a browser-based animation platform geared towards business owners. With over 80 customizable templates available, it’s quick and easy to get to grips with. 

Wideo works off a drag-and-drop interface, eliminating the learning curve and saving you a significant amount of time.

Another notable feature is the ability to create videos in a variety of aspect ratios, meaning you’ll be able to create explainer videos for a range of different platforms. 

Features Include:

  • Intro/outro animation effects
  • Scene transitions
  • Template library
  • Variety of aspect ratios
  • Custom-branded color template
Pros Cons
Very easy to use Limited ability to edit audio
Ability to import custom media Template library not updated regularly
Wide selection of pre-designed explainer video templates Slightly sensitive user interface


Pricing:

Package Price
Basic $19/month
Pro $39/month
Pro + $79/month


Platforms: Windows, Mac, Android, iOS

Vyond

explainer video software

Vyond is another browser-based animation platform geared towards business owners.

It features templates for marketing, training and eLearning, making it a great option if you’re looking at creating a variety of different explainer videos. 

A standout feature is the ability to create your own templates from scratch, meaning you can remain consistent with any existing branding material you’re using. 

Features Include:

  • Drag-and-drop interface
  • Huge library of pre-designed templates
  • Built-in tutorials
  • Ability to make templates from scratch
Pros Cons
Very easy to use Limited character selection
Drag-and-drop interface Good internet connection required
Smooth-running platform Subscription-based


Pricing:

Package Price
Essential $299/year
Premium $649/year
Professional $999/year


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Moho Debut

explainer video software

Moho Debut is a downloadable 2D animation platform designed for beginners.

Aside from its sizeable library of pre-designed content and characters, it also features a library of detailed video tutorials for using the platform. 

A notable aspect of Mojo Debut is that it’s a fixed-price download, costing just $59.99

Features Include:

  • Beginner’s mode
  • Content library
  • Video & motion tracking
  • Automatic lip syncing
Pros Cons
Beginner-friendly Lip syncing must be done manually
Large library of content to animate with  Limited to 2D animation
Not subscription-based Not available on mobile


Pricing:

Package Price
Full version $59.99


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Doodly

doodly

Doodly is a downloadable animation program taking influence from hand-drawn animation.

It’s custom-designed for business owners looking to produce sketch-like videos and comes with a huge library of pre-designed templates. 

Upon purchasing Doodly, you’ll also gain access to their official Facebook group, which contains over 50,000 members.

The community aspect of Doodly is extremely useful to have on-hand for support while navigating the platform. 

Although Doodly is a downloadable application, you’ll also require an internet connection in order to access Doodly’s content library. 

Features Include:

  • Large template library
  • Facebook group
  • 30-day money back guarantee
Pros Cons
Affordable Limited to sketch-like animation
Designed for business owners Internet connection required
Drag & drop interface No free trial available


Pricing:

Package Price
Standard $39.99/month
Enterprise $69.99/month


Platforms: Windows, Mac

Other Tools 

Here’s the thing:

If you’re looking to produce an explainer video totally from scratch…

…there are two really important parts of the process that your animation software likely won’t cover:

    • Scripting
    • Promotion 

Here are our two recommended tools for these:

Fade In 

explainer video software

Fade In is a free screenwriting application that simplifies the process of writing your explainer video script.

Although they offer a paid version, the free version is more-than-sufficient for crafting your script. 

Features:

  • Extensive formatting capabilities
  • Real-time collaboration
  • Dialog Tuner (for re-writing your script)

If you’re serious about crafting a killer explainer video script, you might also consider hiring a screenplay writer

Instapage

explainer video software

After investing a significant amount of time and money into an explainer video…

you’ll need to make sure it gets seen. 

More importantly, you’ll need to make sure it converts. 

Instapage is a top-quality platform for creating high-conversion landing pages to host your finished explainer video. 

It comes as a package of separate applications for each stage of the process, from page creation to analytics tracking. This makes the platform particularly useful if you’re looking to promote the video with Google Ads

Features:

  • Ad-to-page personalization
  • Landing page experimentation
  • AdMap
  • Real-time visual on-page collaboration
  • AMP & Thor Render Engine

Hiring A Freelancer To Create Your Explainer Video

Look:

Your explainer video is a really important aspect of your marketing campaign. 

It’s likely the first thing potential leads will see after landing on your website…

…and will definitely be the thing they remember most about your business. 

Before investing a significant amount of time and money into the project, it’s well-worth comparing & contrasting the pricing & quality of a DIY effort with that of hiring a freelancer. 

Using the data from our extensive network of animators, here are the ranges you can expect for a day’s work from a freelancer (7-8 hours): 

Level Junior Mid-Level Expert
Day Rate $150-250 $250-500 $500-1000


Here are the price ranges in GBP:

Level Junior Mid-Level Expert
Day Rate £100-200 £200-400 £400-800


When you post up a job on
Twine, you can set your preferred budget and freelance animators will pitch on your job. 

We vet all pitches & match clients to freelancers using over 10 different criteria; This allows both parties to achieve the best possible results at the fairest price possible. 

We’re here to help each step of the way to make sure you have an awesome experience.

To find a top quality animator for your project, click here

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George Shuter

George Shuter