Updated · Jun 06, 2022
Best for: Whiteboard sketch animation
What Is Doodly
Doodly is a whiteboard animation software that truly makes things easy. It’s Mac and PC compatible and it requires an internet connection.
As a hybrid web + desktop app, it enables you to:
- Express your ideas with a vast library of professional, custom-made images and royalty-free music
- Dub your videos with your own recorded lines or imported audio
- Edit your animated cartoon videos
- Export and share them with your audience.
And that is only the tip of the iceberg!
Doodly claims to save you the time, money, and effort it takes to make sketch videos otherwise. So, for our Doodly review, we put all its features to the test.
Let’s see how it went:
We all know the saying: a picture is worth a thousand words. So, what about a video?
Doodly strives to make your ideas come to life. It's built around a set of features for all your marketing, teaching, and overall creative needs.
These features are the staple point of all Doodly reviews, and ours is no different.
We, however, pride ourselves on being a bit more thorough in our observations. We should let our Doodly review speak for itself though.
Now, off we go.
Once you click on Create New Video, you will be prompted to choose between background styles. Don’t worry — if you change your mind, you can always pick another one later!
Here’s the selection:
- Whiteboard — the classic whiteboard video creator option
- Glassboard — the hand writes on the other side of the glass
- Blackboard — a dark chalkboard
- Greenboard — a green chalkboard
- Custom — either a solid color or a custom background image.
It’s cool that you can position and resize custom backgrounds. This is the ideal option for using branded or watermarked backgrounds. Still, keep in mind that the maximum allowed image size is 1920 x 1080.
If you want to have fun with greenscreen effects, this whiteboard video maker is usable, but it isn’t optimized for anything advanced.
Yup, you can change the hand styles too.
There are 62 hand styles of different sizes and ethnicities to choose from. If you’re looking for something stylized, there are also cartoon options (in 2D and 3D animation). Doodly allows you to switch between left- and right-handed styles as well.
Doodly boasts an extensive custom-made image library, and rightfully so. All of the images are drawn by a professional graphic artist team and they cover a wide array of themes. So, chances are that there is an appropriate doodle even for your niche.
Even with the Standard plan, you have almost 3K (2868, to be precise) of scenes, characters, and props at your disposal. With the Enterprise plan, you get even more images (7384) and regular updates that add more content to your library.
That is a staggering amount of doodles!
On top of it all, you can also import your images (PNG, JPG, and SVG files only) and animated GIF files, and Doodly will sketch them for you as usual.
But enough beating around the bush — let’s check out those Doodly images.
First, it’s worth noting that there are 84 scene templates for both pricing plans. Equality — we like that!
Since Doodly is a drag-and-drop animation software, all you have to do is adjust your content. You can edit the extra time at the end of scenes, and even add subtitles.
When doing transitions, you can adjust them on a scene-to-scene basis or set the type you want across the entire video.
Here are the transition modes this sketch video maker offers:
- Swipe left, right, up, or down — the scenes slide to the designated side of the screen
- Mixed — a random mix of the above-mentioned transition modes
- Video panning — the camera moves to a blank section on the board, where the next scene will take place
- Erase — an eraser deletes everything on the scene
- None — no transition between scenes.
Now, the limited transition options are disheartening, especially when compared to how abundant the Doodly images and assets are. The company promised to rectify that in one of the future updates, which we will eagerly await.
Characters and Props
It’s true that scenes, well, set the scene for your animation. But it’s the characters and props that bring it to life.
Doodly understands that, which is why it enables you to:
- Resize your characters/props
- Position them however you want
- Rotate them
- Flip them
- Overlap them
- Change the color and opacity of their outline
And all of that is easy to do in this whiteboard drawing software, with a simple click and a drag.
You can also edit the style and duration of their enter/exit animations.
Turns out there isn’t a lot to edit there. The enter character animation can be the default draw animation — or none. The exit one can be an erase animation — or none. We can all agree that that isn’t really a choice.
Custom Draw Paths
Now, this is where things get interesting.
You may have noticed the way the hand closely follows the image’s outlines when it’s “animating”. That is because of its very precise, predetermined draw paths. They dictate the way the hand moves in this hand-drawn video maker.
What does this mean for you?
Let’s say you import a picture in Doodly, and you don’t set any draw paths. In this case, the hand will just kind of vaguely brush over the image, while not taking into account its shape and outline. The result will look amateurish, and you don’t want that, do you?
That’s where custom draw paths come into play!
By following the outlines of your imported drawings, you can create custom paths. That way, the hand motions look more natural.
In short, this will help you achieve a polished final look that’s worthy of a professional drawing video maker.
With black and white images, you may “freestyle” your draw paths since you don’t have to be that precise.
Colored images, however, are a whole other story. You need to set a path for every color in the image. Above all else, you need to be painstakingly careful and precise. Otherwise, your final animation is going to look messy and unprofessional.
That process can really take a while.
On the upside, once the draw paths are saved in the image, they are there for good. You can reuse that image in another whiteboard video maker project.
Doodly Rainbow is a half-solution that deals with the aforementioned coloring and draw path problem. It’s an add-on that inserts color to all of the native Doodly assets. Oh, and it also costs $67.
You might wonder why we called Doodly Rainbow a “half-solution.”
It only affects the scenes, characters, and props that already came with Doodly. That means you’re still stuck with the hard manual labor of coloring your imported pictures. Honestly, we find this practice of paying for an add-on for sketch animation software a bit disagreeable.
Doodly had a bit of a rocky start with audio editing, but the recent updates made it much more functional. It supports multiple audio tracks. By default, you have two tracks down in your timeline: the music track and the voice-over track.
Let’s see what that’s all about.
There is a library of 150 or 250 royalty-free songs at your fingertips. In typical drag-and-drop animation software fashion, you can simply pick up your song and drag it into the music track. You can upload your own tunes as well — but they have to be MP3 files.
On the downside, your hands are a bit tied when it comes to editing animation music.
- Turn the music volume up or down
- Adjust the duration of the track
- Make the track fade in or out
- Rename and delete tracks.
With a bit of tinkering, you can create a crossfade effect and make a neat little segue between songs. But that’s it, pretty much.
It’s not much different with voiceovers. Doodly software lets you import multiple files at once, but once again, they have to be MP3 files.
Other than importing audio, you can also record it directly in Doodly. Neat!
Again, you can only do basic audio editing with Doodly, and even that can be a bit tricky. A good example is audio trimming. Technically, it’s possible to cut out unwanted audio with the sliders. It’s so time-consuming and impractical to do those edits in Doodly, however. So, it’s easier to just go and do it in another software.
We aren’t too happy about the compatibility issues that bind you to MP3 files, either.
Still, we understand that Doodly is a whiteboard drawing software, not an audio editing software. It simply can’t be everything at once.
Likewise, the video editing is also a bit on the basic side. Sadly, there isn’t a whole lot you can do.
This video drawing software enables you to:
- Duplicate videos
- Determine whether the video ends when the animation ends or when both the audio and the animation ends
- Reorder, duplicate, and delete scenes.
What if you’re all done with doodling and you want to finally share your work with others?
The Doodly software lets you choose:
- The export destination
- The file format (MP4, MKV, OGG, or WEBM)
- The resolution (360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p, or custom)
- FPS (24-60)
- The video quality (low (62%), medium (76%), high (86%), or maximum (100%)).
When you’ve made your decisions, all you need to do is click the “Share” button. And that’s it!
Ease of Use and Interface
To use Doodly, you don’t need to be a tech whizz or a computer animation whizz. According to Doodly, you don’t need to be a whizz of any kind since even seven-year-olds can use it.
We might be slightly older, but we still found this sketch animation software extremely easy to navigate.
The interface looks clean and orderly, with everything clearly marked and easily accessible.
Starting with the dashboard, you can keep track of all your projects and available resources in the Doodler Toolbox.
Now, let’s move on to the place where all the whiteboard video maker magic is happening — the workspace.
There are three areas of interest - on the left side, the right side, and the bottom of your workspace.
On the left there’s the asset panel, where you can look at:
- The Marketplace.
There is also the Doodly Rainbow icon if you’ve bought the add-on.
The actions panel is on the right, where you can save, preview or export your video. You can keep track of your scene settings and the individual items there.
Of course, you can’t have a drawing video maker without an animation timeline. You can find the timeline track at the bottom of the screen. Your video, voice-over, and music tracks are all there. You can find the panning and zooming tool and the video settings there as well.
In any case, you can always rely on the helpful articles from the knowledge base and the free tutorial videos.
But honestly, even without taking a look at any of the video tutorials or articles, you can find your way around Doodly. It’s incredibly intuitive.
Since we’re not the type to leave a single stone unturned in our Doodly review, we’ve also tested the support team!
Here’s what we’ve found:
First, let’s talk a bit about the Doodly knowledge base and video tutorials.
The guides are neatly organized, and easily reachable thanks to the search bar. They cover a variety of topics, from general information to more specific tasks, like adding color to images. 44 articles cover all you need to know about whiteboard video creator mechanics in the “Working with Doodly” section.
If articles can’t help, videos can! A collection of video tutorials is available for free on YouTube. We have to commend Doodly for these efforts. The tutorials are to the point, and very helpful.
There is also the Doodly Elite Masterclass, which is, lo and behold, a paid course. Our playful sarcasm aside, it covers pro features, like advanced drawing paths. It offers you 25 videos divided into seven modules that get progressively more advanced. It costs $97.
We’re not through yet:
This sketch video maker also listens to its user suggestions and implements them in updates. In the Doodly Feature Requests Center, you can even vote for your favorite requests.
Now, let’s move on to contact options.
You can contact the Doodly support team via live chat or email. According to the Customer Experience Team note, they’re available Monday-Friday, 7 am-4 pm Eastern Standard Time.
Keeping that in mind, we’ve reached out to them, and we weren’t disappointed. Live chat customer support was fast — they answered our question after three minutes. We waited for the reply to our email inquiry for about 2 hours — not bad at all. In both cases, they were wonderfully helpful.
Toonly vs Doodly
Now, for the battle of the ages, we have Toonly going against Doodly… just kidding. In all honesty, it can hardly be a fair “battle.”
Toonly is an animated explainer video software. By contrast, Doodly is a whiteboard drawing software.
It’s difficult to make a valid comparison in this case since each animation software has a distinct function. We’re just going to have a quick look over their deployment, pricing, and core features.
Let’s dive in!
Both Doodly and Toonly are made by the same company — Bryxen. So, technically, they are siblings with many family similarities!
Like Doodly software, Toonly:
- Is available for Windows and Mac only
- Works online only
- Doesn’t have a free trial
- Has a money-back guarantee
- Has identical pricing plans — the Standard plan ($39/month) and Enterprise plan ($69/month).
Now, Doodly has the upper hand when it comes to sheer image library size. But, Toonly, being more focused on animation, has a couple of tricks up its sleeve.
It has unique character animations and way more scene transitions compared to Doodly (21 in the Standard plan, and 101 in the Enterprise plan). It also has the Lip Sync feature.
Toonly has a slight advantage in export quality as well — you can export videos in 4K resolution.
The bottom line is:
Doodly vs Toonly is a draw (pun fully intended). It all depends on what kind of videos you will be making. Toonly is more suited for a cartoon-style storytelling approach, while Doodly gives your videos that special hand-animated flourish.
VideoScribe vs Doodly
Videoscribe and Doodly are both instant whiteboard animation software, so we expect it will be a head-to-head fight.
Let’s make another deployment, pricing, and feature comparison.
Unlike Doodly, Videoscribe:
- Is available on Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android devices
- Works offline
- Has a free trial
- Offers a single pricing plan — the Pro plan (around $34/month or €29/month), which is cheaper than Doodly’s $39 or $69 per month options.
The image library sizes are similar. On the other hand, VideoScribe has colored pictures as part of its Pro plan. They don’t sell that feature as an add-on, unlike Doodly.
So far, it seems that VideoScribe is in the lead in our Doodly vs VideoScribe match.
Videoscribe, however, doesn’t support custom draw paths. That means that the animation of imported pictures looks generic and a bit awkward.
Doodly also lets you import your fonts, which isn’t possible with Videoscribe.
Overall, Doodly’s export video options are more diverse and useful. Videoscribe doesn’t let you use custom resolutions and the maximum FPS is a bit lower (50 FPS).
In the end, it’s a matter of personal preference, since VideoScribe and Doodly are pretty evenly matched video drawing software. VideoScribe has a slight edge in the pricing and deployment, but the individual features are around the same level as Doodly’s.
Right from the get-go, we will have to disappoint all those looking for a free whiteboard video software.
There is no Doodly free trial or version. Still, there is a 30-day money-back guarantee, so if you change your mind at any time, you can ask for a full refund.
Now, let's take a peek at the pricing plans.
$20/month (annual subscription)
Other offers and features include: $39/month billed monthly, 1164 character images, 1620 prop images, 150 royalty-free music tracks, 20 video templates, 35 fonts, standard customer support.
The premium customer support isn't described, so we don’t know what it is. Who knows, maybe they give you premium massages and feed you grapes.
Both Doodly pricing plans offer 84 scene templates, use on multiple computers, and an invite to the Doodly Facebook group.
All in all:
It's a great deal when you consider how much money it would take for you to hire professionals for only one animated video. This way, you alone can make infinite videos.
Still, we're a bit sour that Doodly Rainbow is an add-on that you have to pay for.
Doodly Review - Verdict
Most users agree in their Doodly reviews that this solution makes whiteboard animation easy.
Here are some of its highlights.
We really can't praise the clean design of the user interface enough. Even in the unlikely case that you get a bit lost, there are free video tutorials.
At Doodly, they really put the „support“ in customer support. Their proactive updates policy is also very admirable, and they listen to user requests!
Finally, the image library is awesome as it is, and regular updates keep making it even bigger and better.
Of course, you can't have the good without the bad. Our Doodly review wouldn't be honest if we pretended otherwise.
Here's what we've noticed.
The custom draw paths mechanic, although exciting, can be very finicky. It can be downright painful to use when it comes to coloring images. As we've said before, the Doodly Rainbow add-on doesn't deal with this problem in a meaningful way.
The lack of creative scene transitions is also something that annoyed us. You can only do so much with simple slide transitions in a sketch video maker.
And last, but not least, the bare-bones audio and video editing. Of course, we are willing to cut Doodly some slack, since there is specialized software just for those tasks. Still, it would elevate Doodly to the next level to have just a bit more editing options.
Doodly has been a pleasant surprise on many fronts. It successfully tackles the problem of making whiteboard doodle animations accessible and yet professional.
Is Doodly any good?
In our humble opinion, it’s pretty good! Other Doodly reviews confirm it, too. It isn’t perfect (nothing is), but with Doodly, you’ll be making cool whiteboard animations in no time. It’s a completely novice-friendly hand-drawn video maker that has all you need in one place.
How much does Doodly really cost?
It depends on the pricing plan, of course. The monthly Standard plan costs $39 per month, or you can opt for the Enterprise plan which costs $69 per month. You can also save 49% with the yearly plan — $20 per month for the Standard plan, or $40 per month for the Enterprise plan.
Which is better - Toonly vs Doodly?
We’ve dealt with this dilemma at length earlier in our Doodly review. TL;DR: it depends on what you want to focus on in your video. If it’s more of an explainer video, with a focus on lip-sync animation -Toonly. If you need that classic doodly whiteboard feel - Doodly.
Can I use Doodly for free?
It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that nope, you can’t use Doodly for free. There is no way to try out Doodly as part of a free trial or plan. It’s a downside often mentioned in Doodly reviews. At least, there’s the 30-day money-back guarantee.
Selma is a content writer with a love for all things nerdy by day and an internet archaeologist that likes to dig up obscurities by night. Mostly she's trying to balance between many obsessions. Right now, it's bass playing and reading hard sci-fi about vampires in outer space - next week, who knows.
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