CrazyTalk 8 Pro

loco mo tion Real­lu­sion up­dates its fa­cial an­i­ma­tion and 3D avatar ap­pli­ca­tion with strong fea­tures and links to third-party apps

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Reviews -

Think you have no need for a fa­cial an­i­ma­tion pro­gram? Think again – there are a host of 2D uses for Real­lu­sion’s fea­ture-packed prod­uct.

CrazyTalk has been grad­u­ally strength­en­ing its rep­u­ta­tion as an in­tu­itive, use­ful ap­pli­ca­tion for hob­by­ists ex­plor­ing the world of an­i­ma­tion. While its place in a 2D artist’s work­flow might be hard to de­fine, there’s no ar­gu­ing that CrazyTalk works well.

The in­ter­face is clean and log­i­cal. While there are lev­els of drill-downs, pop-ups and menus, it never feels like you could get lost. Work­flow, too, couldn’t be bet­ter. Im­port­ing ref­er­ence photo(s) is sim­ple, as is edit­ing, set­ting fa­cial mark­ers and clean­ing up the back­ground. The tools, while lim­ited in num­ber, are easy to grasp and do a fine job – though eye­lid folds and beards can be prob­lem­atic.

There are sim­ple in­struc­tions, such as on an­gles and us­ing even light­ing and, al­though there are oc­ca­sional er­rors, the re­sults are pretty good. In the Pro ver­sion you can use a sidean­gle shot to help achieve the best re­sults. This is par­tic­u­larly use­ful as CrazyTalk makes a rough head-shaped ob­ject and then ap­plies your photo as tex­tures. Any side ref­er­ences help to avoid ob­vi­ous stretches.

The strength of CrazyTalk lies in its an­i­ma­tion abil­i­ties, which are very good – up to a point. Adding au­dio can be done on the fly us­ing your com­puter’s built-in mic. Sound files are added to your time­line, where you can edit, trim or swap out pho­nemes (the small­est unit of spo­ken sound) – the pro­gram’s best sin­gle fea­ture. You can drag from a pal­ette of pre­sets, re­plac­ing the an­i­ma­tion for any syl­la­bles CrazyTalk has trou­ble with. It’s quick, easy and gives bet­ter re­sults than if the pro­gram had been left to its own devices.

CrazyTalk has ex­cel­lent tools to fix ge­om­e­try and an­i­ma­tion, but the big­gest ben­e­fit is the huge pre­set li­brary. It comes with many faces, sounds, props and back­grounds, which are added to if you reg­is­ter the soft­ware. Get­ting your an­i­ma­tions off the ground couldn’t be eas­ier, though some of the as­sets are a lit­tle cheesy.

If you have a need for this kind of tool and you aren’t look­ing for Hol­ly­wood-qual­ity re­sults then CrazyTalk is ideal for web comics, pre-viz work, or even fa­cial ref­er­ence for artists and an­i­ma­tors.

Swap­ping out pho­nemes on the fly is a pow­er­ful fea­ture that can save a pro­ject.

The clean in­ter­face en­ables you to con­cen­trate on the

an­i­ma­tion task at hand.

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