Doodly has been making a few rounds in online ads lately, promoting its capability to make easy-peasy explainer videos. It is geared towards that segment of the population who create videos and presentations using animated doodles. In this Doodly review, let’s take a look at its features, how it works, its benefits and limitations, and whether or not it’s worth your money.
What is Doodly, Exactly?
Doodly is a program designed for the creation of whiteboard-style doodle videos using drag-and-drop interface. It is the first program of its kind and by far the only program available. Doodly is the brainchild of Jimmy Kim (founder of Snaptactix) and Brad Callen (founder of Bryxen).
It is likely you’ve seen videos and presentations that were done using Doodly. A finished product will look like a whiteboard background over which text and images appear to be drawn by hand at high speed. Done well, a video using Doodly can be entertaining and interesting, especially if texts and images match the voiceover narration.
How does Doodly Work?
Doodly is mainly for creating “explainer” videos by people who have little or no technical skills. It does not matter whether you have never doodled basic shapes in your life because it is simple enough to allow you to create a professional-looking video presentation without training.
The not-so-secret behind this capability is its drag-and-drop interface, wherein you can choose from the built-in library of objects and images included in the program, and place them into your video. The creators have even thrown in royalty-free music you can use.
Doodly is an intuitive program, one that will work with your level of skill and even help you improve it. To use, simply open a new canvas (it’s usually just a white background and an image of an arm with a pen or pencil gripped by the hand), then drag and drop elements to create your first scene. It has such a simple user interface that even kids can create their own videos in no time. Functions and icons are displayed on the top of the screen and you can access them to change the presentation as you wish. You can then add characters and texts, then change scenes, and integrate sound. Simply drag and drop the elements into the canvas and make the proper adjustments in terms of size and placement.
Once the elements have been dropped into the canvas, Doodly converts these images into animations resembling high-speed sketches. And yes, you can animate texts as well. Just set the draw path so that the animation appears as if an image was hand-drawn.
Doodly allows you to export the finished video to your desired page or website. Video quality is quite good and you can set it to HD quality with a maximum of 1080MP. You could also tweak the frame rate to go as slow or as fast as you want.
Working With Scenes and Characters
Doodly allows scene changes and you can add or delete scenes as you wish. Done-for-you images make scenes easy to integrate into the canvas. To add interest to a scene, you could animate certain characters and have them change into different poses. This helps if you are working on a storyline or want to emphasize a point.
Another great feature of Doodly is that it offers an unlimited number of installations. That means, you can install it on every computer you have, then save your files to a cloud. That way, you can work on, edit, and export your videos anywhere. The program works on both Mac and PC.
Doodly also offers a virtually risk-free 30-day money-back guarantee. If you bought it and decide that it’s not what you want, you can obtain a full refund of the product. The creators of Doodly says that they have a very low refund rate of 2%, which is an assurance that a vast majority of Doodly users are satisfied with the product.
Syncing Sound With Animation
When you use Doodly, you can choose any music you want (as long as you are mindful of any copyright issues). There are pre-loaded music files available for your use that come with the program and you simply add this element to the video.
However, there is a tiny bit of syncing issue that may hopefully be addressed in future updates or upgrades to the program. In some video presentations, you’d want to sync a specific sound bite to play to a specific animation. For example, let’s say your animation consists of an exploding firework. Obviously, you want a sound file of an explosion to play at the exact moment the firework appears. With Doodly, you will have to estimate the time placement of the sound with the animation it is supposed to sync with. Once you place the sound file, you will have to tweak it along the timeline to find its exact placement. Of course, a little patience gets this done but wouldn’t it be better if the program can work this out so it’s a lot easier and faster to complete?
Doodly saves your work as an MP4 file and you can change its quality from web-ready 480p to a full high-def 1080p. If you are having problems with the size, you can change the rate from 24 fps to 60 fps. Doodly promotes their done-for-you images as realistic but don’t get your hopes too high. This is a doodling software, after all. What you do get is a pretty neat drawing of a scene, character, or prop similar to what you would find in most coloring books. If the creators meant that you would get a realistic white/black/green/glass board doodle drawing, then that is what you will get but not a realistic rendition of the image. And yes, you can tweak the drawings to add color to the images so you can flex your creative muscle more.
Doodly is offered in two payment plans – the Standard Pack and the Enterprise Pack. With the Standard Pack, you can create an unlimited number of videos, use the product on multiple computers, and enjoy Premium Support. You also get 200 characters with 10 characters that can perform 20 unique poses, 200 props and images, and 20 tracks of royalty-free music. You also get an invitation to join the Doodly Design group on Facebook.
With the Enterprise Pack, you get all the aforementioned goodies but with a few (better) features. For example, you will have access to 750 characters instead of 200, with 30 characters that can perform 25 unique poses. You also get over 1,100 props and images and 100 tracks of royalty-free music. You also get access to the Doodly Club where you can acquire new characters and images every month. You receive commercial rights for both packs.
PROs & CONs Listing
-Does not require a high level of expertise to use
-Makes creating explainer videos fast and easy
-Creates videos using whiteboard, blackboard, greenboard, and glass board-style backgrounds
-Provides thousands of custom images (not stock images)
-Since you choose your own combination of images, text, music, and narration, you get to customize your videos
-Allows voiceover recording straight into the video
-Allows you to export saved videos to online sites including Youtube, Instagram, and Facebook
-Allows export of objects, images, and music
-Multiple use on different devices using a single license
-Very useful for individuals who create explainer videos but want to avoid the cost of professional fees
-Comes with a 30-day full money-back guarantee
-Very limited file format available; can only save files as MP4, although future upgrades may allow more formats
-Software requires manual updating
-Does not allow sound to be synced with a chosen animation
-There is no free trial offered. If you want to use Doodly, you have to buy it
-It isn’t that cheap; the Standard Pack costs $468 annually or $39 monthly, while the Enterprise Pack costs $828 annually or $69 monthly. Some deals can be had, with just $20 charged monthly for the Standard Pack and $40 monthly for the Enterprise Pack
Conclusion Buy or Pass?
Doodly works very well as a marketing tool. Given that it was created by two marketers, it is no surprise that the program is designed to be used to promote and sell products. Videos are the preferred medium of many marketers because they are fast, attractive, and interesting. If you want to up your video marketing game a notch (or several), Doodly can offer you a good option.
Doodly is not just for marketers, however. If you like the look and feel of doodle videos you have seen and want to create your own, Doodly is the tool for you. With Doodly, you can make explainer videos on virtually any topic you want – from history to language to music to religion. You could sell them as a course or simply monetize them on a video-uploading website like Youtube or through a paid membership-only site. Doodly is not perfect (not yet) but it is the closest to a quick and easy tool to create customized doodle videos that you can find.
Joe Vays received a Masters Degree in computer science from Cambridge University. Joe has been working as a full-time web developer for the past 7 years. In his spare time, Joe enjoys traveling and playing competitive tennis.