Discover the best alternatives to HeyGen for AI video creation & custom avatars in this side-by-side comparison guide.
There is an ever-spiraling demand for content. Whether text, video, images, or audio, content consumption has never been higher, and with it, the need for content creation. And, as anyone paying attention knows, AI is already a crucial tool in the content generation arsenal. It’s hard to keep track of all the players in this emerging technology. At this moment, in the area of AI video, HeyGen gets a lot of buzz. By combining machine learning and natural language processing, HeyGen enables you to produce narrated videos using custom avatars, AI-generated avatars, and avatars from a photo. No need for sophisticated video editing - just enter some text and your avatar delivers your message. But other players have come on the scene, and this article will focus on market up-and-comer Akool.
First, let’s take a look at what HeyGen offers.
There are three avatar options: photo, instant, or studio.
The instant avatar is generated from a quick webcam recording of yourself, which saves your features and gestures, as well as your voice.
Studio avatars can be selected from HeyGen’s large library, and you can upload a photo to produce a talking video. There is a nice selection of voices (including your own), as well as accents.
You can write out your own video script, upload an audio file for speech-to-text, or use the ChatGPT script option. Translation for many languages is available, and you can have any language delivered in any accent (for example, an English script read in a French accent).
Akool is a leading alternative to HeyGen, offering very similar features, and very inviting for beginners.
With a simpler and more intuitive UI, Akool’s features are almost identical to those of HeyGen, though so far do not include instant avatar.
Avatar and talking photo lip-synching and facial movements are quite natural, comparable to what you get from HeyGen’s. Though at this time, only the avatar face moves, not any part of the body.
One of the most appreciated UI features in Akool: everything you generate goes into the Results section, in its appropriate section. This makes it super easy to find everything you’ve done.
Here’s a feature-by-feature comparison of HeyGen and Akool.
Akool’s comprehensive selection of diverse avatars are ready for use in explainer or marketing videos. All avatars are available at no extra cost, and each has multiple versions.
HeyGen’s avatar library is large with many options - for a beginner it may take some scrolling to find the one you want. Premium (extra cost) avatars are also available. Once chosen, customizing your library avatar takes a few more steps.
HeyGen also offers the Instant Avatar option - the video and voice taken from your self-recording. The analysis of your speech patterns, voice, and movement, makes for a pretty accurate-looking talking result. You can also use your own voice for any videos.
Both platforms make it easy to make changes to an avatar, for realistic-looking video presentation.
Akool’s simple UI makes it easy to customize the avatar, as well as any other selected element. The face-swap option is available when the avatar is selected, as are other options like opacity and alignment. Other customization options are available when other types of elements are selected.
HeyGen’s customization options are abundant, though they may be overwhelming for someone just getting their AI feet wet.
A similar face-swap feature is available here, though with a somewhat more confusing process.
HeyGen offers a nice library of video templates with slick backgrounds, onto which you can add any avatar from any library. But it’s not immediately obvious how to change template backgrounds.
Akool has an intuitive background changer, presenting numerous background options. Or you can upload your own.
Text to Video
Both platforms produce accurate-sounding video from text, with avatar lip-synching and facial features to match. HeyGen offers fine, granular control which can be a bit complex for a beginner. Akool’s focus is on basic, natural-sounding delivery, ideal for marketing or explainer videos.
Akool’s talking photo feature is quite fun, with great results. Upload any photo - yourself, a stock image, even a drawing or painting.
With the face-swap feature, you can get the exact look you want, with an easy download for use in talking videos.
The UI is simple: avatar on the left, script on the right, and go.
HeyGen also offers a talking photo feature. You can upload an image, or produce an AI avatar with a simple prompt.
The talking photo results were a bit less realistic than what came from Akool.
HeyGen has a long list of languages for translation.
Akool’s language list (for now) is not quite as long, but is growing. Akools offers most languages used for corporate communication and training.
Generate a video according to the entered script, then upload it back in and get a different version in a different language.
Akool’s Realistic Avatar option opens a default template, onto which you can place an avatar from the library and adjust placement and size of all elements. You can overlay text, stickers, emojis, and images, with layering capability to “stack” elements in front of, or behind, other elements.
Akool also offers an AI Image Generator feature that produces sophisticated results. Here’s an example of results from a simple furniture showroom prompt.
Background replacement is very easily done with Akool. You can use your own imagery, an Akool-produced image, or any asset you upload.
HeyGen also has a well-developed templates library, with elements and text you can add and edit. Background replacement can be done, but isn’t intuitively easy.
Akool is pay-per-use, with flexible credit packages, making it ideal for occasional needs. You can actually get pretty far on the free plan.
HeyGen is subscription-based, which can work for high-volume corporate users. Subscription pricing is less ideal for students, or weekend-warrior AI users.
Both HeyGen and Akool are into-the-future image and video AI platforms. Here’s are some pros and cons of both:ol.
HeyGen’s versatility supports a wide range of industry use cases.
In addition to library avatars and talking photos, HeyGen’s AI-generated instant avatars and voice cloning let you bring “you” into your videos, for a unique and personal touch.
HeyGen provides many avatars and templates, and sophisticated editing tools.
Vast translation options enable you to reach audiences anywhere.
You can generate talking photos from actual photos as well as AI-generated images.
HeyGen offers Zapier integration, for easy integration into existing workflows.
Akool’s simple UI makes it easy for beginners to pick up quickly.
The pay-as-you go pricing model is attractive for occasional or student users.
Background replacement is easy and intuitive.
AI image generation is superb.
The innovative talking photo feature produces realistic and engaging results.
Text to video produces attractive video presentations.
The Results section is a handy place to find all generated content. And there is no extra fee to view your content.
HeyGen’s subscription model, and add-ons for premium features, are limiting for non-corporate users.
The trial plan runs out quickly.
The HeyGen UI is crowded, and can be confusing for users new to AI.
Avatar customization is not intuitive.
The learning curve is relatively steep.
Talking photos don’t always turn out as realistically as hoped.
Depth of voice and range of human emotion are not quite there yet.
Extra fees are sometimes required to view the final video.
Translation options are limited, though more languages are in the works.
Full-body animations are not included yet.