Review: CrazyTalk 7 Pro

aNewDomain.net—CrazyTalk is a facial animation tool that lets you choose a photo of any face and make it speak. The possibilities are endless. You can animate any face from paintings to celebrities to stuffed animals. With CrazyTalk7 Pro you can even make your character smile, frown, shiver, yawn, sneeze or roll his or her eyes.

The CrazyTalk main screen makes it easy to work with any image.Crazytalk Opening

To start a new project, just get a photo from your hard drive, web cam, or the CrazyTalk library. Then you fit four anchor points on the face.

 

CrazyTalk Anchor Points

 

Once that is complete, align a facial wire frame on the face by dragging the wire points to match the subject’s facial features. Then adjust the orientation with a similar, but much simpler facial frame.

CrazyTalk WireFrame

Want your character to make some noise? Adding audio is easy. You simply record your voice and the program will show your actor moving his or her lips and performing corresponding facial animations and lip flaps synced to your voice.

 

It’s that simple. In less than 10 minutes you have a talking head. You can use that animation as is, or you can tweak the settings with a wide variety of options and customizations. You can alter your actor’s eyes and teeth with the built-in library. If you want to make your character talk, choose a talking style from the program’s library and you can adjust the facial motions until you are satisfied. There is also a timeline and a pupeteering tool to fine tune the animation.

To change your voice, morph it with simple slider-type tools that let you add an echo or perform other audio modifications. If you are feeling creative, type your script and let the program add the audio. You can even add background music. One great new feature is the ability to quickly mask out the background and add a new one. A built-in green screen at its easiest.

The videos are created as QuickTime HD videos with a nice variety of codecs. Upload your masterpieces to YouTube for the world to see. The video below shows some of the many things you can do with CrazyTalk.

Over the years, CrazyTalk has streamlined its interface making it cleaner and easier to use. You can create animations quickly and easily. If, however, you want to fine tune your actor, you will have to invest some time into learning the advanced tools.

CrazyTalk7 Pro works on both PC and Mac. I cannot, however, say that my experience was seamless. I didn’t have any problem with the Mac version, however on both my Windows 7 and Windows 8 test machines, I had a few glitches. These were all related to video issues as this is a video-intensive program.

If you want to make sure that you don’t have any video issues, I would suggest that you download the free 15-day trial. Although there is a watermark on the output, it is a fully functioning demo that you can use to test the program on your system.

The $29.99 standard version gives you all the tools you need to animate a character, but the more expensive pro version adds a ton of customization controls that you can use to refine the character’s movement.

Manufacturer: Reallusion

CrazyTalk7 $29.99

CrazyTalk7 Pro $149.95

Based in Pinehurst, North Carolina, Sandy Berger is a veteran tech journalist and senior editor at aNewDomain.net covering tech tips and tricks, apps, gadgets, and consumer electronics. Email her at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sandyberger, +SandyBerger on Google+, and www.facebook.com/sandyberger on Facebook.

Jeremy Lesniak
Based in Vermont, Jeremy Lesniak is managing editor at aNewDomain.net and founder of Vermont Computing, Inc. and whistlekick.com. Email him [email protected]
Jeremy Lesniak
Jeremy Lesniak
Tags: Tech Culture