How to Add a Unique Paper Cut Out Effect to Your Doodly Video

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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Hey fellow Doodlers!

If you're looking to make your whiteboard animations and explainer videos truly stand out, you've come to the right place.

Adding a paper cutout sticker effect can give your characters a charming, unique look that captures attention and keeps your audience engaged.

Whiteboard animations and explainer videos are fantastic for storytelling and education.

They break down complex ideas and present them in a fun, digestible way.

But with so many videos out there, how do you make yours memorable? The paper cutout sticker effect is your answer.

This technique adds depth and dimension to your animations, making them visually appealing and enhancing the overall impact of your content.

In this article, we'll walk you through the process of creating this effect step by step.

We'll be using Pixelmator Pro as our example, but feel free to use any graphics editor you prefer, like Photoshop.

Ready to make your Doodly videos pop? Let's dive in!

Finding Characters

Choosing the right character for your Doodly video is crucial to creating an engaging and visually appealing whiteboard animation.

Here’s how to find the ideal images and where to get them:

What Makes an Ideal Image?

When creating whiteboard explainer videos, you’ll usually want to go for cartoon or vector-style images. These types of images fit well with the hand-drawn aesthetic of whiteboard animations and are great for storytelling. Here’s when to use different types of images:

  • Cartoon/Vector Images 

Best for educational videos, product demonstrations, and storytelling. They are versatile and can be easily animated to match the whiteboard style.

  • Real Images: 

Use sparingly, mainly for emphasizing specific points or showing real-life examples. They can break the flow if overused, so stick mostly to cartoon or vector images for consistency.

Where to Find Images

To find the perfect characters, you can browse the internet or visit specific websites that offer images. Some sites provide free images, while others offer royalty-free images for a fee. Here are some recommended sources:

1. Pixabay (Free):

  • Description: 

A vast library of free images, including vectors and illustrations. It’s a great resource for finding high-quality images without worrying about copyright issues.

2. Freepik (Free & Paid):

  • Description: 

Offers a mix of free and paid images. You can find a wide range of vectors, illustrations, and photos. The free version requires attribution, while the premium version does not.

3. Unsplash (Free):

  • Description: 

Known for its high-quality photos, Unsplash is a good source for real images if you need them. All images are free to use, even for commercial purposes.

4. Shutterstock (Paid):

  • Description:

A well-known stock photo site that offers high-quality images, vectors, and illustrations. It’s a paid service, but it provides a wide variety of professional images.​

5. Adobe Stock (Paid):

  • Description: 

Offers a vast collection of high-quality images, including vectors and illustrations. It’s integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud, making it convenient if you’re already using Adobe products.

6. Vecteezy (Free & Paid):

  • Description:

A large collection of vector art and illustrations. Offers both free and paid options, with a broad selection of styles to choose from.

Turning Images into Stickers Using Pixelmator Pro

Now that you’ve got your character, it’s time to give it that cool sticker effect. For our example walkthrough, we’ll be using Pixelmator Pro. Note that Pixelmator Pro is only available for Mac users. If you're using Windows, don’t worry—we've got some great alternatives mentioned at the end of this article.

1. Ensure Your Image is Transparent

  • ​Make sure your image has a transparent background before importing it. This is crucial for creating the sticker effect.

2. Import Your Image into Pixelmator Pro

  • ​Open Pixelmator Pro and import your transparent image. You can do this by dragging and dropping the image into the Pixelmator Pro window or by selecting File > Open and navigating to your image file.

3. Add a White Outline

  • Once your image is open, you’ll see several menus on the right side of the screen.
  • Select the paintbrush tool to open the Style menu. This menu allows you to make various stylistic adjustments to your image.
  • Look for the Stroke option. By default, the stroke color is black, but we want to change it to white to create that sticker effect.
  • Click on the color palette and select white.

4. Adjust the Stroke Size

  • ​Increase the stroke size to make the white outline more visible. This will give your character that distinct sticker look.

5. Add a Shadow

  • ​Increase the stroke size to make the white outline more visible. This will give your character that distinct sticker look.
  • Adjust the shadow’s distance and blur settings to your liking. You can make the shadow more prominent and fuzzier by increasing these values.
  • Use the rotating knob to change the direction of the shadow, giving your sticker the perfect amount of depth.

6. Check Your Image

  • Make sure nothing is touching the edges of your image. If it is, shrink the image a little and reposition it to keep everything centered and visible.

7. Export Your Image

  • Once you’re happy with the outline and shadow, export your image. Make sure to export it as a PNG file to retain the transparency.

Importing Stickers Back to Doodly

With your new sticker image, it's time to bring it back into Doodly and add it to your video.

Here's how:

1. Select the Appropriate Tab

  • ​If you're importing a prop, select the Props tab. If it's a character, select the Characters tab.
  • Make sure you select All to see all available options.

2. Import Your Image

  • Click on the blue plus icon, then locate and select your sticker image.
  • Hit Continue to complete the import process.

And that’s it! You’ve successfully imported your sticker image into Doodly.

Exporting Doodly Images

If you ever want to use images directly from Doodly and turn them into stickers, just export them and follow the same steps we went through.

Here’s how you can export them:

1. Create a New Video

  • Go to Doodly’s main page and click on CREATE NEW VIDEO.
  • Select Facebook and Instagram from the Resolution dropdown menu and hit Create.

2. Select and Position Your Image

  • Drag the image you want to use as a sticker to the blank white screen. Make sure it’s centered and fully visible.

3. Export the Image

  • In the timeline at the bottom of your screen, select the image or scene you want to export.
  • Right-click and choose Save As Image.
  • Select PNG to keep the transparency, and make sure to turn off the background if you only want the image.

4. Turn the Image into a Sticker

  • Follow the same steps we used with Pixelmator Pro to add a white outline and shadow to your exported Doodly image.

Alternatives to Pixelmator Pro

If you’re not using a Mac or if you prefer a different tool, there are plenty of alternatives to Pixelmator Pro that you can use to create the sticker effect. Here are a few options, including some free ones:

Photoshop (Paid)

Photoshop is a powerful tool available on both Mac and Windows. It’s a great choice for adding outlines and shadows to your images.

How to Use:

  • Use the selection tool to select the subject of the image. The video suggests using the quick selection tool and clicking on "Select Subject" to automatically select the main subject.
  • If the automatic selection isn't perfect, you can use the selection tool to add or remove bits and pieces to refine the selection.
  • Once you are happy with your selection, press Command/Ctrl + J to duplicate the selected layer.
  • Click on the "fx" button at the bottom of the layers panel and select "Stroke".
  • In the stroke menu, select the color you want your outline to be and adjust the size of the stroke.
  • Click "enter" to apply the stroke effect.
  • You can now hide the background layer if you don't want it in your final image.
  • Export the image as a PNG file.

GIMP (Free)

GIMP is a free, open-source graphics editor available for Mac, Windows, and Linux. It’s a versatile tool that can help you create the sticker effect.

How to Use:

  • Select the image you want to outline and make sure it has a transparent background. There is a separate tutorial by the creator on how to remove the background from an image if yours doesn't already have one.
  • Use the select by color tool and click on the empty space around the image. Then right-click and select invert to make sure your character is selected.
  • Right-click again and select grow. You can choose a size that suits your needs but for this tutorial, a value of 10 is used. This will increase the size of the selection around the image.
  • Create a new layer.
  • Select the bucket tool and make sure the color you want to use for the outline is selected. In the video, white is used. Click in the center of the image to fill the selection with the outline color.
  • Right-click and select none to remove the selection.
  • Drag the new layer back on top of the layer with the image. This will create the outline effect.
  • You can merge the two layers if you want.

Inkscape (Free)

Inkscape is another free, open-source graphics editor that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux. It’s especially good for vector graphics, but it can also be used for creating stickers.

How to Use:

  • Import the object you want to outline. In the video, Phil imports a PNG icon.
  • Go to Trace Bitmap and click Apply. This will convert the PNG image into a vector object.
  • Delete the original PNG image.
  • Click Path > Object to Path. This will convert the vector object into a path.
  • Go to Object > Fill and Stroke.
  • Under Stroke style, set the stroke and stroke paint to a desired color, for example green. You can also adjust the style of the stroke, such as making it thicker.

Photopea (Free)

Photopea is a free, web-based photo editor that works directly in your browser. It’s a convenient option if you don’t want to install any software.

Check out this video on how you can add an outline to your image using Photopea:


And there you have it, Doodlers! A simple and fun way to add a unique paper cutout sticker effect to your Doodly videos. This effect not only makes your characters pop but also adds an extra layer of creativity that can really captivate your audience.

By following these steps, you can turn any image into a charming sticker that enhances your whiteboard animations and explainer videos. Whether you're using Pixelmator Pro, Photoshop, or directly exporting from Doodly, this technique is sure to make your videos stand out. We've also mentioned some alternative tools for those who aren't using Mac or prefer different software. Remember, these are just suggestions—there are plenty of other tools out there that might suit your needs even better.

So go ahead, experiment with different characters and styles, and bring your Doodly videos to life with this awesome effect. Happy creating!

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