CrazyTalk is one of the easiest programs to learn and create with that instantly produces advanced effects.
When it comes to creating talking heads or animating a painting, avatar or just a scribbled out stick face, CrazyTalk can make you look like you've been doing this for years. Most new users can become immediately productive with this fun but serious animation tool.
First thing I did was ignore the manual, nothing new there, find an interesting public domain picture on the web and import that into CrazyTalk with the Create New Actor top menu choice.
From here I was thrown into the conversion interface with most of the work already done for me. All I had to do was follow along and make a few changes and finish the process to create the talking postcard character. That was it. From here on out I was having so much fun with all the options that I lost track of time and this review.
It was mind blowing how easy it was to create the talking postcard.
From flat digital image to talking and moving in a manner of a few minutes... if that long. No special skills needed to get this far. I was really taken by the -- dare I say it -- FUN of it! This was not like pulling teeth or hand feeding piranhas. It was even something a child could and probably should do at least once in her life.
There it was, a freaky postcard of a wild man, hair and beard flowing out of control -- mean look and all -- talking to me. It wasn't just plastered to the screen... this character had some motion to it as well!
After a little more looking around, I found stock motions and moods that would wipe the sneer off his face by creating one of several "Happy Faces" down the timeline. The sneer was still there of course but CrazyTalk had convoluted the character's facial expression with a huge smile and big, bright eyes that completely changed its tone. I laughed aloud before I could stop myself when I viewed the results of just a minute or two or tinkering.
The interface is clean, modern, and appealing with no clutter.
If you are tired of always drilling down through layers of folders to import content CrazyTalk will let you drag and drop it into the workspace from an open Explorer window. It's can't get much easier or convenient unless we are talking about Auto Motion/voice-driven animation. CrazyTalk really shines here by doing the tedious work for us... all driven by simple drag and drop motions and expressions including talk, sing, listen, fun, dance and functional.
Importing and prepping an image is not that difficult.
It starts out with cropping out the head of the character in the image (or no crop if you want the entire image animated) then selecting the edges of the eyes and the corners of the mouth.
CrazyTalk did a good job of this on its own requiring very little interaction from me at this point.
Next involves a more precise positioning of widgets that outline the prominent features of the face like the eyes, nose, mouth, and general outline of the head. When you are satisfied with this step the face is oriented next by a simple rotational gizmo that only takes a few seconds. By now you have a fully functioning character with mouth, eyes, and facial expressions.
All you need is some audio.
This is where the Auto Fun begins using CrazyTalk's new Auto Motion feature.
Using drag and drop, or if that's too much, double-click on the desired motion, Auto Motion, audio or voice to instantly animate your talking head. CrazyTalk does the rest.
You can tweak the results by double-clicking on the Auto Motion in the timeline which pops up a menu with sliders, checkboxes, and input fields for individual parts or globally. There is also powerful facial expression puppeteering.
Like iClone, this part of CrazyTalk can be as simple or as complicated as you need. Just loading in the audio does a lot of work or you can continue to tweak things until you get the desired result.
CrazyTalk 8.1 is also a 3D head creator for 3D characters for Reallusion's iClone or iClone's Character Creator. Select 3D instead of 2D to prep your image for 3D head mapping. This will allow you to use the head for a complete 3D character while staying within the Reallusion ecosphere.
If you are an experienced animator you will find that there is little to no learning curve with CrazyTalk.
If you are a lover of animation and have never tried it but have always wanted to, CrazyTalk 8.1 provides a method of testing the waters of animation without diving into the deep end. The tools, motions and layout are top quality and are the results of many years of honing animation products that are affordable and easy to learn.
With tools like CrazyTalk, animation is not only affordable but fun.
Renderosity Quick Postcard Demo
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord is an international award winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. M.D. is currently working on VR projects and characters. You can learn more about MD at his website.