Focusing a Viewer’s Attention

This document talks about different tools and techniques used to focus a viewers attention within a doodle.

Note: When designing a doodle, we tend to use the entire canvas without any area of focus. You see this through my entire Common
Beginner Mistakes
video tutorial. I did not use focus in that video, along with the other common beginner mistakes.

A video production is about getting your message to your audience and using tools and techniques to focus on key points of that message. There are a lot of tools and methods we have available to us natively in Doodly that we can use in order to focus our viewer’s attention to a specific area.

Anything that keeps your viewer’s attention is worth using. The entire goal for a doodle is to keep viewer’s attention while allowing them to absorb your message.

Focus Tools and Techniques

The list of tools and techniques available to us is too extensive for this article so here are a few of them, in alphabetical order, that can be used to focus your viewer’s attention. The object is to focus your viewer’s attention to a specific area on the canvas to get your message to them. There are items in the list that compliment each other but it is not suggested to do anymore than 3 at a time and typically stick with only 2 in a combination. Overdoing a focus tool will make it become monotonous so keep it different for your viewers.


Doodly is not an animation software but that doesn’t mean we cannot make animation in Doodly. Animation is a brilliant method of keeping your viewer’s attention. The viewer’s eye focuses directly on the animating item. Animating 1 item at a time on the canvas will keep your viewer’s attention focused exactly where you want it.

Watch my Scene Transitions video to learn how to animate in Doodly using key framing techniques. We also have Advanced Skill Level Doodly Tutorial #7: Key Framing Animation in Doodly
Doodly Beginner Video Tutorial: Scene Transitions
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Opacity, Masking, Sound Effects
Having an opaque, masked or darkened background while something animates is an excellent method of drawing focus to that one item.

Background Color

The correct background color choice can make an asset pop right off the canvas at your viewer. This will grab the viewer’s attention and keep it wondering what that asset is doing. Black on White is often hard on the eyes and gets tiring very quickly.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Animation, Revealing, Fading, Font Color
Having a darker background color than the asset that is either being revealed, faded or animated is a wonderful way to draw focus onto that asset. Using a brighter and contrasting color than the background color is a great method to focus a viewer’s attention.


This is an awesome method for a quick focus. Viewer’s love animation. They love anything that looks nice and smooth. Fading an asset into or out of the canvas fits this requirement.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color
The correct background color can make a faded asset pop and stand out to the viewer which will contribute to keeping a viewer’s attention.

Font Color

The correct font color will draw your viewer’s attention directly to it. A brick red font on a black chalkboard background does an amazing job of bring your viewer’s eye directly to that red font. Don’t overdo the different font colors. Too many font colors will have the opposite effect and drive your viewer’s attention away from your message and potentially away from your doodle.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Revealing, Font Size, Font Style
When using the correct font color with either a background color, revealing method or even the font size and style, we will draw our viewer’s focus directly to where we want them.

Font Size

Drawing a users focus to a SPECIFIC AREA WITH LARGER FONT SIZE is an excellent method to focus your viewer’s attention to something without being so obvious. Just like you’ve looked at the specific area with larger font size above at least 2 or more times and continue to do so just because I’ve said something. It works the same way with your doodle. They don’t have to be capitalized like I have it in this paragraph. There you go, just looked again, didn’t you? Now, what will really bake your noodle is would you have looked at it again if I didn’t write something about it earlier?
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Font Style
Using a contrasting background color or different font style will make the font size pop off the screen. Don’t over use this as it will detract from its purpose.

Font Style

A different font style is a good method for a quick focus to a specific area. This method is usually reserved for titles and not body or caption font.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Font Color, Font Size
To make that font style pop, a contrasting background color, different color font or even a larger font size can make all the difference in the world to quickly bring your viewer’s attention to that area.


The art of masking something out. A mask is an asset that is exactly the same as the background behind the asset, whether this is a whiteboard, a colored board, an image background or a chalkboard. Masking is very powerful when mastered and can be used to create effects like fading, covering or removal of assets, blurred effects and allows for focus to be drawn to whatever is not being masked at the time.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Opacity, Fading
Using a solid background color masks it much easier to mask something in Doodly because of how the assets use a constrained proportion resizing method. Using the opacity and fading techniques along with masking is a very powerful combination to draw focus to something else.


This is a specialized focus effect because the effect is instant without a tween or easement effect so it really only applies to specific situations. This involves duplicating a second scene and then setting all the asset’s delays and durations to 0/0 and setting all the assets to be 60% opacity or whatever the percentage of opaqueness is desired. For an easement effect, see the masking technique below. When opacity is used with masking, this has a very powerful nullify effect for anything that you don’t want in focus on the canvas.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Animation, Reveal, Masking
When the rest of the canvas is opaque, the viewer’s focus will be on whatever is not opaque and an animated asset or something being revealed fits the bill perfectly.


The reason we all purchased Doodly. The reveal method is catchy but remember, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. We don’t need to and shouldn’t reveal everything with the reveal arm otherwise monotony enters stage right an the viewer’s attention is gone.
Complimenting Focus Effects: Background Color, Font Style, Font Size, Opacity
By darkening or creating a more opaque background prior to revealing an asset or even using a noticeably different font style or size will draw your viewer’s attention directly to that area.

Sound Effects

Audible effects are very beneficial when used correctly. Watch any of the introductions on the Doodly walkthrough tutorials I have showing you the spaceship floating through space and listen to the sound effects. Where is your focus? Is it off in a corner, on how much work you have left on your plate or is it exactly where I want you to look on that canvas? Sound effects used incorrectly can be very detrimental to a doodle or video production.

Doodly Beginner Video Tutorial: Doodly Walkthrough Chapter 01 – Opening Doodly

Complimenting Focus Effects: Animation, Zoom
Using sound effects while animating something or zooming in on something tends to have the greatest gain of focus for the viewer.


This is the easiest method to provide focus for a viewer. Zoom in on it. When an asset fills the canvas, there is nothing else to distract the viewer. Too many zooms can get really annoying so be careful of overusing this technique.
Complimenting Focus Effects: None
Zoom, by itself, is a very powerful focus. It doesn’t need nor work really well with other focus effects. We can experiment with masking and opacity, blurred effects, background color, etcetera, but why go through all that work when the viewers attention is already focused on the asset or object where we want them.