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Complete Guide to Getting Started with Animoto

Megan O'Neill

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Welcome to the complete guide to Animoto. We’ve included a getting started video series, a look at our features, and a quick intro to our iOS app. Plus we've included links to a whole bunch of video ideas for when you’re feeling stuck.

Click below to jump to any section of the guide:

Getting started

Animoto is built to be easy to use. Drag and drop your way to videos to share on social media, videos for your website, for friends and family, or just for fun. If you’re brand new here, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to start making videos. Head to our beginner’s guide for a quick rundown of how it all works, or check out the intro video below.

But the easiest way to learn is to just jump in and start making videos—especially since Animoto is free to use. Click the button below to test out all our features for yourself.

Animoto Features

Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’ll take a look at all of the features available in Animoto. Note that some features are only available on our Professional and Team plans. You can learn more about our plans right over here.

We’re going to cover a lot in this section, so if you’re interested in learning about a specific feature, click to jump right to it from the following list:

Blocks

Animoto videos are created by mixing and matching blocks. You can easily add, remove, or drag and drop to reposition blocks within any video project, whether you’re using one of our video templates or starting from scratch.

To add a block, simply click on the Add a Block button. It’s shaped like a plus sign, and you can find it at the bottom of your screen next to the blue play button. Once you’ve opened the Add a Block screen, click on the type of block you’d like to add.

Add a new layout to your project

We currently offer 5 block types, including Media Only blocks, Text Only blocks, Media + Text blocks, Logo blocks, and Burst blocks—more on those last two special blocks below.

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Layouts

Animoto features a variety of different layouts, which allow you to combine text, images and video clips in a single dynamic frame. If you’d like to change a block’s layout, click on the top icon on the left-hand side of the block. You’ll see all the available layouts for your block with a preview of your images to help you picture what it’ll look like.

Change a layout in your video

You can customize layouts as well. Add text to a Media Only block or remove text from a Media + Text block to create the look you want.

Pro Tip: Layouts can change depending on the aspect ratio or video style you choose. Experiment to find the layout that works best for your project.

Layouts change in different video styles

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Burst block

With a burst block, you can add a quick sequence of photos to your video, like the ones shown in the Seasonal Sale template shown below.

You can find Burst blocks by clicking on the plus icon on the bottom of your screen. You’ll see the Add a Block screen appear. Choose Burst under the header Special, and you’ll be given several options for animations. If you change your mind about which animation you’d prefer, you can always change it later.

Create your Burst by dragging and dropping images right into the block. You can change the scale of images or adjust their positioning, just as you would any image. You can also delete any part of the burst you like, or move parts of the burst around to get the effect you want.

Adding images to a Burst block

If you’d like, you can change the burst speed by clicking on the stopwatch icon on the lower-right side of the block.

For more details on the Burst block and ideas for how to use it, check out our complete Burst guide.

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Logo

Animoto videos offer a few different ways to integrate your logo and get brand recognition with every view. You can add your logo in two ways:

  • Add a Logo block. Upload your logo and choose from a variety of animation options. Place your logo at the end of your video, the beginning of your video, or anywhere between. If you’d like, you can also add text to a Logo block or include images or video in the background. Add a logo block by clicking on the plus icon at the bottom of your workspace.
  • Add a corner watermark. If you have a Professional or Team plan, you can add a corner watermark to your videos. A watermark will display persistently throughout your entire video, with the exception of Logo blocks at the start or end of your video. Upload a watermark under the Design tools, which we’ll discuss a little later on.

Add a watermark

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Editing your blocks

There are several options for editing your blocks in Animoto. Here’s what each editing tool does and where to find it.

Editing a block in Animoto

  • Change a layout: You can find the Change Layout icon on the top-left corner of the block you want to change. Click to see a list of possible layouts for the block you’re editing.
  • Change your background: Right under the icon for changing your layout is the Change Color icon. Click on that to choose the color you’d like for your block.
  • Add text: If a block in your video doesn’t have text and you’d like to add it, click the Add Text icon. A title and subtitle line will appear in a regular block. In special blocks, a title will appear. You can edit the text that appears or drag it around to fit your needs.
  • Preview a block: Click on the black play button in the bottom-left-hand corner of a block to preview just that part of your project.
  • Trim video clips: If you use a video clip, the scissors icon on the bottom right takes you to the Trim Video screen. To trim your video, drag the blue bumpers to where you’d like the clip to start and stop, then click Apply.

Video trim in Animoto

  • Set how long a block appears: For blocks featuring photos or just text, use the Block Duration Controls on the bottom-right side of your block to adjust how it appears. Click the plus icon to keep the block on screen longer; click the minus icon to reduce the length of time it’s on screen.
  • Adjust scale: Click on an image or video clip you’d like to adjust and you’ll see a new set of controls, including one for scale. Click on the Scale button and a Scale slider will appear. This tool lets you zoom in on your selected media in your block.
  • Rotate your media: Click on the Rotate icon, and your image or video clip will shift 90 degrees clockwise.
  • Delete media: Click on the Trash icon remove an image or video clip from your block.

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Templates

Templates are pre-made videos designed to take the work out of your video marketing. They’re designed with best practices in mind and can be updated with your own photos, video clips, text, logo, and brand colors. Choose any video from our template collection and update it to fit your needs. For instance, the Birthday Card template below can be customized with your own images and details about the person whose birthday you’re celebrating.

Here are a few of the ways you can edit a template:

  • Change the video or text style in the Design settings. You can also choose a Theme instead—curated video designs with pre-chosen colors, filters, video and text styles .
  • Edit the text to match your message. Just click the text box and replace the text with your own words.
  • Customize with your preferred colors by updating the Design settings. You can change the overall background color in Video Settings or text colors in Text Settings to match your brand.
  • Add a logo or watermark, if you have a business, for extra brand recognition.
  • Upload photos and video clips to add to your video, or use our Getty Images library to find imagery that fits whatever kind of video you’re creating.
  • Choose the right aspect ratio for your project. Just click the Ratio button at the top of your screen to create horizontal videos for YouTube, square videos for Facebook and Instagram feeds, and vertical videos for Stories on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat.

Pro Tip: Love a video clip or image in a template? Keep it! The media in each template is licensed for your use, and you can utilize anything you like for your project.

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Design Settings

To access the design tools, click on the Design button at the top of your workspace. Here’s what you’ll find:

Themes

Themes are sets of colors, fonts, style combos, and filters, curated by our team. Choosing a theme doesn’t lock you into those design choices. You can still adjust the individual settings however you’d like.

Animoto Video Themes

Text Settings

Below the Themes, you’ll find a number of other design options, starting with Text Settings Whenever you change a design element in your video, you’ll see an instant preview, so you can see your choice in action.

  • Fonts: Choose a font for your video. Professional and Team customers have more than 40 fonts to choose from.
  • Colors and size: Select the text color and size throughout your entire video. You can also make these selections on an individual block-level.Take color suggestions from our video templates and themes, use color selection tools, or add a color using a hex code (i.e. #FFFFFF).
  • Text Styles: Text Styles are preset animations and visual treatments for your text that appear throughout your video.

Text styles in Animoto

Video Settings

In the Video Settings you’ll find:

  • Colors: Click on the Background button to select your background color. Depending on the video style you’ve chosen, you may also see an option for an accent color. These settings will change the colors throughout your whole project. If you want to change just one block, click on that block and use the block controls to select the colors you want. You can use the color suggestions from our video templates and themes, use color selection tools, or add a color using a hex code (e.g. #FFFFFF).
  • Video styles: A video style is a set of preset transitions and visual treatments for your images and video clips. Click on any video style to see a preview of what it’ll look like in your video.

Video styles

  • Filters: Filters are applied to all of the assets in your video. Filters can help give all of your photos and video clips a unified look, or help your text stand out. See them in action in the video below.

Pro Tip: Worried your images don’t look the way you expected after adding a new theme or template? Check your Filter settings. The theme or template may include a filter. Turn it off and you’re good to go.

Watermark

As we mentioned in the Logo section above, you can add your logo in the corner of your video for greater brand recognition. We recommend using a PNG file because it allows you to create a transparent background for your logo. For best results, we recommend using an image that’s at least 800 pixels on its longest edge.

Once you upload your watermark, you can choose the corner where it’ll appear, whether it’ll be slightly transparent or solid, and how large it will be.

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Music Library

A subscription to Animoto comes with a commercially licensed song library, filled with music you can use in your Animoto videos. Our Professional and Team plans include over 3,000 tracks, while free users have access to 50 licensed songs.

Finding a song

To access our music library, click on the Music button at the top of your workspace. Once the music library pops up, there are several ways to find a song for your video.

  • Search: If you know the name of a song or artist you’d like to use in your video, enter it into the search bar at the top of the Music Library. You’ll see a list of the songs that match your search term. You can organize these by artist name, song name, or song length to narrow down your search.

Music Library

  • Mood: Search based on the feel you’d like to create in your video. You’ll see a few of the most popular moods listed when you open the Music Library, but you can click the View All Moods link to see a complete list of filters. You can narrow your search by selecting a genre, tempo, or whether the song is an instrumental or has vocals.
  • Genre: The Music Library lists a view of our top music genres right up front. If those don’t fit your project, click View All Genres to see a list of all our genres. You can also add filters for mood, tempo, and whether there are vocals or not.
  • Your Music: Click on this tab to find music you’ve already chosen as a Favorite or to upload your own music tracks.

Favoriting songs

If you discover a song you love, you can save it for later in your Favorites. Just click on the little heart icon next to the song you like, and we’ll add it to your Favorites list. Then, the next time you need a song for a video, head to the Your Music tab and find the songs you’ve saved.

Save favorite songs

Uploading songs

If you want to upload your own music track, you can do that too! Click on Your Music. At the top of that tab, you’ll see an Upload button. Click that, and you’ll be able to upload your own music into Animoto.

Pro tip: Make sure you have a license to use the music you plan to upload, or it may be taken down by social media sites.

Trimming songs

You can change the start and end time of your song selection using the music trim tool that appears in your workspace. The song trim tool shows you a visual waveform of your song to help you decide on the best start and stop points. Once you’ve trimmed a song, click the blue play button to preview the new start time. In addition, you can add a fade-out effect to the end of your background song by trimming the end point of your selected track.

Volume control

Adjust the volume of a song by clicking on the volume control. If your video has a lot of speaking or other important audio, it might make sense to lower the volume. It’ll make the audio easier to hear, but still allow your audience to appreciate the soundtrack you’ve chosen.

Adjust volume in Animoto

Looping songs

You can loop your song choice by clicking the repeat icon to the left of the volume control. This tool is especially useful if you have a longer video and want to keep the music running.

Making a video with no music

If you’d prefer to have a video with no music, click the Trash icon to the right of the volume. It’ll delete your song, so your video will play without any background music.

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Aspect Ratio Switching

Click on the Ratio button to switch between vertical, square and landscape. If you want to use the same video more than once across different platforms, make a copy of your first video, then change the aspect ratio on the copy. Take a look at a tutorial from our Chief Video Officer, Sally Sargood, to see aspect ratio switching in action.

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Undo and Redo

Edit with confidence with our undo and redo options. You can find both buttons at the top of your workspace. If you change your mind about an edit you’ve made to your video, just click Undo to remove it. If you remove something you wish you’d kept, click Redo to bring it back.

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Media Library

Your Media Library is where you find and store the images and video clips for your project. Let’s take a tour.

Uploading your media

You can upload any images or video clips under the Project tab. The Project tab is where all media you add to your project will show up. This includes stock images you find in our Getty Images library as well.

Upload photos and video clips to the Project tab

Adding stock images and video clips

Under the Stock tab, you can access our selection of over 1 million high-quality stock photos and video clips from Getty Images. Search for stock using the search tool at the top of the tab. You can also narrow down your search by selecting an aspect ratio or type of media to search for.

Search our Getty Images stock library

Each Animoto template also comes with a pre-selected set of stock images that you can use in your own videos. If you’d like to use the stock that comes with a template, just leave it in place.

To learn more, check out our article on 6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Our Stock Library.

Saving favorite images and video clips

If you have certain media you use again and again, try saving them as Favorites. Just as you can favorite songs in our Music Library, click the heart icon to choose favorite images or video clips when you’re in the Media Library. You can favorite your own images or favorite stock images you’d like to keep track of. If you decide you want to remove a favorite, just click the heart icon again to unfavorite it.

Save a favorite image

Additional buttons within the Media Library

  • Enlarge button: In the upper-right-hand corner of an image in the Media Library, you’ll see a small magnifying glass. Click it to enlarge your image and see more detail.
  • Play button Instead of a magnifying glass, video clips have a play button. Click it to preview a video clip before you add it to your project.
  • Delete button: If you’d like to remove an item from your Project tab, click the Trash icon on the lower-left corner to delete it.

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Timeline and Grid View

Animoto makes it easy to edit different parts of your video by offering two different ways to view your whole project. In either case, you can use these views to delete, copy, or move blocks around within your video.

  • Video Timeline: This is the area at the bottom of your workspace, to the right of the Preview and Add a Block icons. If your project has too many blocks to see all at once, you can use the bar along the bottom to view any off-screen blocks.
  • Grid View: If you have a longer project that you’d like to view all at once, click on the Grid View button directly above the Video Timeline. It’ll let you view your entire project at once, making it easier to make changes in longer videos.

Grid view

Video hosting and downloads

Your Animoto videos will be saved and hosted on your account forever so you can always log in to access them. Access your videos on any computer or browser, simply by logging in.

Personal customers can download videos in standard quality (720p) and Professional and Team customers can download videos in HD (1080p).

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Video copying and re-editing

You can always go back in to re-edit an old project. But you can also make a copy to save the original version, while making changes to a new version. This functionality can work well for creating your own template. Easily swap out photos or video clips, or change text to make multiple versions of a similar video. You can even repurpose one video for different platforms, making a horizontal video for YouTube, a square one for your Facebook and Instagram feeds, and a vertical one for Stories.

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Resell Licenses

Last but not least, we wanted to share a quick note on reselling videos. Customers on our Professional plan are licensed to resell the videos they create to customers. An example of this would be a photographer selling slideshow videos to clients.

Customers on our Team plan can resell their videos to other businesses. An example of this would be a marketing consultant creating marketing videos for one of their business clients.

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Animoto Social Video Editor iOS App

In addition to our web product, Animoto also has an iOS app for Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat Stories. In this section, we’ll dive into the app. We’ll share a quick rundown to help you get started, plus links to more resources to help you get the most out of the app.

Instagram Stories tips and strategies

Our app is designed for creating Stories. So to help you find success, we’ve put together a series of quick guides to help you get started.

To learn more about Instagram Stories, click through to read the following posts:

Mobile video creation tips

Once you’ve downloaded the app, it’s time to start making videos. Creating videos for the vertical Story format is a bit different than creating landscape or square videos. That’s why we recommend you check out our post on 6 Tips for Shooting Vertical Videos.

We’ve also put together some resources to help you get the most out of specific features in our app:

instagram-story-poll

IG Story Ideas

Sharing Stories on a regular basis is a great way to connect with your followers and stay top of mind. But what if you’re out of ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Check out our 15 Easy Instagram Story Ideas for Brands. We’ve included templates too, to make it easy to create your own videos quickly. Enjoy!

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Creating your videos is just the first step. Once it’s ready, it’s time to share! In this section we’ll dive into how to share your Animoto videos.

Sharing Animoto videos

We’ve got a whole guide for Sharing Your Animoto Video. But in this section we’ll show you the basics for any platform you might want to use.

You can share directly to a variety of platforms using the Share icons on the video’s player page. You can also download a video to upload it to another platform directly.

Here are some resources related to sharing your videos on specific platforms:

PRO TIP: Different types of videos perform better on different platforms. Check out our Cheat Sheet: The Videos Your Customers Want on Social to see what types of videos you should create for different social platforms.

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Video Creation Tips

Want to learn to create better videos? You’ve come to the right place. In this section we’ll share links to articles with video creation tips.

Learn to create attention-grabbing videos

To help our customers find out the best practices for creating videos for social, we ran a 3-day Brand Camp. The educational event covered everything from how to shoot better footage for your videos to how to create videos that demand attention. All the videos from that event are still online and available to you for free.

Click through the links below to check out all of the Brand Camp content.

  • Day 1: Pro photographer Vanessa Joy shares tips for shooting for social. She’ll teach you how to shoot better footage with any camera, including your mobile phone. Watch now.
  • Day 2: Marta Mateu Vilalta, a Creative Strategist at Instagram and Facebook, shares tips for mobile creative that drives results. Watch now.
  • Day 3: Sally Sargood from the Animoto team shows how to create videos that demand attention, using the Photo Burst block. Watch now.

Video Shooting Tips

Vanessa Joy shares some great tips for shooting videos during Brand Camp. But if you’re interested in learning more, check out our Video Creation Basics: Shooting Video guide.

Looking to create a video shot? We’ve put together a guide on How to DIY an Overhead Shot with What You Have.

PRO TIP: You can create videos without shooting any new photos or video clips. Check out our Guide to Gathering Assets on a Budget, which includes tips for finding assets you already have. You can also check out our tips for Getting the Most out of Our Stock Library.

Lighting Tips

Looking for more tips for improving the lighting in your videos? Look no further than our Video Creation Basics: Lighting guide.

Audio Tips

To learn more about audio, check out our Video Creation Basics: Audio guide.

More Tips

Want to learn even more? Here are a few more articles to check out:

Video Ideas

Not sure what video to make next? We've got you covered. We've compiled so many lists of video ideas, the inspiration will never run out!

Get started with our list of 20+ Video Ideas for Business, Life, and Beyond. That article has ideas for videos for your business, your community, your side hustle, celebrations, social media, and more.

When you're done with that, if you're hungry for more ideas, click through the list below:

If there's anything else you're interested in learning more about, please let us know! Drop a note in the comments below.

You can also always check out our Help Center to find answers to your questions and join our community on Facebook for more ideas and inspiration. Happy video making!

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