Powtoon: Turn Your Browser Into an Animation Studio

Are you bored with long and boring meetings with very formal presentations in your office and do you want to turn it into a fun filled and entertaining session. Or do you wish to create an animated video but are terrified at the cost involved in it, or are you someone looking for a job and would like to create a video resume to stand out from the crowd?

Then dive in to Powtoon, a webapp that lets you do all this in a cheap and easy way.

Pricing

Powtoon is a fremium service. You get an array of paid monthly signup plans ranging from $9 to $247. There is also a free plan, but the videos and presentations that you create are restricted to 45 seconds and are watermarked.

pricing

Powtoon pricing plans

Powtoon also offers, what they call, a Pay per Use plan, a one time payment plan that is based on the number of videos that you export.

It doesn’t just stop there. There are also special plans for educational institutions planning to use “Powtoon Awesomeness” to wow their students.

Getting Started

After login you will be taken to the Powtoon dashboard. The dashboard contains a list of all your Powtoon files, Presentoons, as they call it.

dashboard

Your Playground

The Essentials

No matter how easy it is to create a powtoon presentoon or however well stocked it might be in terms of features, it all amounts to nothing if you do not have a proper storyline in place and a script in case of movies.
You need not have to be a master at drawing to create a storyline. Stick figures will do. As for the script, I follow a Narration – Action format as shown below.

narration action

Simple and Easy

Creating a presentoon

To create a presentoon, click the blue start button.

The first step is choosing a presentoon mode. Powtoon presentoons can be movies or presentations. Then choose the presentoon style. Powtoon has seven different background style presets. Once you’ve chosen the style you will get a list of presentoon templates for that style. Of course, you can create everything from scratch also.

Once you are done, Powtoon Editor opens in a pop up window.

Be sure to enable pop ups from Powtoon in your browser.

Powtoon Editor

Whether you choose the movie mode or presentation mode, you get the same Powtoon editor. The difference is that on the presentation mode you can add pauses at various points on the timeline.

editor

Powtoon Editor

Powtoon Editor has the same basic layout as MS Powerpoint.You can switch between presentoon modes from the editor itself and can also choose presentoon style presets.

The pane on the right lists all your presentoon elements. Text, props, characters, backgrounds, you name it. Powtoon characters come in all varieties ranging from a bodybuilder to a smiling business man to a penguin.

elements

Pandas are non-vegetarians (in my mind)

You can set basic entry and exit animation and sound effects for a presentoon element on its duration bar. You cannot customize the effects, though.

Powtoon also lets you import images from your computer or a specific url. A word of caution, Be careful of what image you upload when you use the Marker Style. In the Marker Style if you upload images to your presentoon, Powtoon automatically converts it into a clip art by removing the the white color in the image .There is no option to disable it.

marker

Marker Style

You can also give your presentoon a nice touch of background music and voice over if you need.

Once you are done, save your presentoon. You can now access it from your dashboard.

Sharing Your Presentoons

you can share your presentoons on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest or embed it where ever you wish. Powtoon also lets you to export your presentoons to your computer and to Youtube in High Definition if you have signed up for a Professional or Agency plan or if you use Powtoon on a “Pay per use” basis.

export

HD export for specific plans

Powtoon Marketplace

If you are looking to outsource an advert or any other video that you need, design individual elements, hire a voice over artist or create a background music for your ad, then, rather than going to other websites for that purpose, you can use the Powtoon marketplace itself to hire a professional.

marketplace

Find pros in the Powtoon Marketplace

The downside

The major disadvantage of Powtoon is its timeline window. There is no multi track timeline.You can only view the duration of the element currently selected on the timeline. So positioning an element is a hassle. Also you cannot zoom in to milli seconds to fine tune a movie. Half a second is the limit.

Another downside is that you cannot customize an animation effect.You have only seven different animation presets to choose from.

Conclusion

Powtoon is a cheap, but fun-filled and easy way of creating presentations and animated movies. This app is still in its beta stage with a promise of more features to be added to it (and I hope they refine the timeline window).

My verdict: This is a web app worth trying out. It’s not perfect, but it sure is promising!


Summary

Web app for creating presentations and animated videos

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