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Free Animation Tools

Animation is Easy With These Free Web Apps

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Don't have a video camera or editing software? Not to worry. With an Internet connection and a little bit of time, you can be on your way to making professional looking animated videos.

There are just about as many reasons to makes animated videos as there are web sites for making them. Animated video is a great way to let someone know you care, to share a laugh, or to improve the look and feel of a web site. Animation can also be used to enhance a business's advertising strategy, to attract buyers to product listings, and to attract students' attention in the classroom. Here's a list of online video animation tools to get your started.

Dvolver

Young male designer wearing headphones, using laptop, hands clasped
John Howard/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Dvolver is a fun and simple way to get acquainted with the world of online animation. Dvolver is completely free, and lets you send your completed animations to friends and family via email.

Set the scene for your animation by choosing from pre-programmed backgrounds and skies, and then select a plot. Next, choose characters, add dialogue and music, and voila! Your animated movie is complete. The style of Dvolver Moviemaker's characters, music and backgrounds often generates quirky and hilarious animations.

Xtranormal

Xtranormal is a fast and easy way to generate online animations. You can sign up and make a video for free, but you'll need to pay if you want to share your video via email or social media.

There are three steps to making an Xtranormal video: choosing your actors, typing or recording your dialogue, and choosing a background. Compared to other more automated animation websites, Xtranormal gives you a lot of control over the structural elements of your film. You can choose the camera angles and zooms, and character motions to customize your film to your needs.

Xtranormal also markets itself for business and education. You can purchase a business plan to use Xtranormal videos for advertising and branding, and also create a custom plan by contacting Xtranormal. By purchasing an educational plan, you'll get access to additional video options that facilitate teaching, from lesson plans to language learning.

GoAnimate

GoAnimate is a web service that lets you create an animated story using pre-programmed characters, themes and settings. You can then customize the video by adding the text of your choice. It's free to make and share videos with a GoAnimate account, but by upgrading to GoAnimate plus you'll have access to more features.

With GoAnimate, you can place you customized "Littlepeepz" characters anywhere on the screen, adjust their size, and animate their movement. In addition, you can adjust the camera angles and zooms in your scene. You can also use text-to-speech or record your voice to give your characters dialogue.

In addition to GoAnimate Plus, GoAnimate offers cost-effective plans for commercial and educational use.

Animoto

Rather than using pre-programmed characters and settings, Animoto allows you to use your own photos, video clips and music to generate unique animated slideshows. You can create unlimited 30-second videos for free, but you'll have more video options by upgrading to a paid account.

Getting your content into an Animoto video is easy. You can upload video clips, photos and music that are saved to your computer, or you can upload content from sites like Flickr, Photobucket, and Facebook. You can then share the video through email, publish it using the embed code provided by Animoto, or download the video to your computer for a small fee.

Upgrading to Animoto Pro will allow you to use your videos for commercial and professional use. The Pro upgrade also removes any Animoto logos from your video, making it a great tool for creating business videos and art portfolios.

JibJab

JibJab first gained popularity for its animated political satires, and has since become a booming e-card website. JibJab creates its own original content, and allows you to add and animate the faces of your choice to its photos and videos. There are a limited amount of free, customizable videos on JibJab, but for a dollar a month, you can send unlimited photo and videos.

There are JibJab cards and videos for birthdays, special occasions, and for fun. Once you choose a photo or video, you can feature the faces of your family and friends by uploading photos from your computer or Facebook. You can share your JibJab animations and cards using Facebook, Twitter, email, or a blog.

JibJab also has an exciting iPad app for children called JibJab Jr. This app lets you feature the name and face of your child in exciting digital picture books, increasing the attention and interactivity of the reading experience.

Voki

Voki specializes in the creation of speaking avatars that allow you to give personalized expression to a digital context. Although Voki is a great addition to any web page, it's advertised as an educational tool for students and teachers alike. Voki is free to use, but there is a yearly subscription fee to access the full selection of educational features.

Whether creating a talking animal or an avatar of yourself, Voki characters are highly-customizable. After you create your character, Voki gives you four different options for adding personalized voice using the telephone, text-to-speech software, your computer's built-in microphone, or uploading an audio file.

Voki Classroom allows teachers to manage assignments and lesson plans involving Voki characters, and gives each student a Voki login to complete assignments. In addition, the Voki website provides teachers with free access to hundreds of lesson plans that use Voki software as a tool for teaching and learning.

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