What are some suitable programs for making animated illustrations of technical diagrams, e.g., communication over a computer network, data flow through deep neural network architectures, image processing steps, information flow between geographical positions on a map, etc?

What I am looking to produce is something similar to this animated illustration:

Technical animation

(image credit Google AI Blog)

Preferably I would use an online tool, but the ones I have found seem more oriented towards marketing and social media (such as Visme, Crello, Adobe Spark, Animaker, Powtoon, etc). It would be a plus if the program came with various icons for typical tech-related objects (server, database, cloud, etc).

I know that if you're proficient enough in animation you can probably use any advanced animation software to produce the desired result. I am comfortable with drawing and illustration software like Photoshop and Inkscape, and have done some basic animation, but sadly lack any advanced animation skills. I would therefore prefer if the tooling was geared toward technical animations with some restrictions on artistic freedom. But if no tool that fit my description exists and I have to take on some general purpose animation software (like Adobe Animate?) then that is ok too. I just want to be sure that I am not missing some more convenient way of creating these kind of animated illustrations without having to create my own icons/objects.

I am sure there is someone from the tech industry with plenty of experience with producing these kind of animated illustrations that can help me find an answer to this. And, if possible, links to example animations created with any suggested software would be greatly appreciated.


1 Answer 1


I haven't tried neither of this personally, yet, but still:

Maybe check out manim the Software that 3Brown1Blue uses in their videos - "Manim is an engine for precise programmatic animations, designed for creating explanatory math videos."

There is a manim Community Edition, and there are lots of code samples available, e.g. as github gists. Maybe even the code for 3blue1Brown's neural network explainer-videos (backpropagation in a twinkling NN animation) is online on Github.

Perhaps also ask in one of their community forums.

Another alternative is using tldraw, combined with the tldraw VSCode extension and another (unreleased) extension that supports hot-reloading. I just saw a screencast of this yesterday Nov 28 2021 on Twitter.

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