CrazyTalk Animator Pro – Edtech Review
|April 20, 2011||Posted by Mr Buzz under Blog, EdTech Reviews, Edtech stuff, Video Tutorials|
*Reallusion has not incentivized TheTeacherBuzz.com to review this product.
CrazyTalk Animator Pro is a Teacher’s dream come true (well for us anyway). Just imagine a piece of software that can make historical figures, world-renowned scientists, eloquent 18th century poets or geographical explorers talk, move and even dance. Engagement levels in your classroom would go through the roof due to such characters arguing about who had the biggest impact on the world, essentially hooking students into topic in question. Well here at TheTeacherBuzz.com we’ve no need to imagine because that software is real with CrazyTalk Animator Pro and we think it’s buzzing!
So what is CrazyTalk Animator Pro? Reallusion describes the product as:
“CrazyTalk Animator, the next level of 2D animation. Create actors using any photo or illustration. Bring actors to life with automatic facial animation & innovative puppeteering motion. Drag & drop to build sets with scenery and props. Film and direct all the action with the camera & timeline tracks for complete 2D Animation.“
However, to understand what they’re talking about you’ve got to see it in action:
It must be said that creating characters in CrazyTalk Animator Pro doesn’t seem like work. We laughed at several stages during the process of the character and environment production. When you get the hang of it, you are able to quickly manipulate photos to create singing and dancing versions of yourselves – or even the historical figure as mentioned in the beginning. You can make Hitler dance and Einstein sing. Once we find the time, we will be uploading our creations.
The finest aspect of CrazyTalk Animator Pro is making things as simple, or as complex as you like. Creating one and two dimensional characters on a stage will be a snitch for people who are reading this. You can bring your characters to life by adding facial animations at no particular extra effort beyond trial and error. For those who have more finer IT skills, then creating custom props, importing flash based videos into a TV and adding 3D like camera movements brings that xfactor feeling to your production.
The smart face animation feature is superb. The ability to auto lip sync and edit facial features brings CrazyTalk Animator Pro, when considering the price of £105, into a league of its own. You are left with the feeling of ‘did I really just create that?’ as it looks so professional. Creating a character’s face can be done from a single image. Advanced editing allows you to adjust the different facial features and although we found this quite tricky, we began to invest more effort into it just because you knew that the result would be so powerful. The excitement of being able to create what we were creating was motivation to figure the hard stuff out. This is what allowed us to get to grips with the facial orientation feature – positioning a head in the direction in which the eyes are looking. (Yes: we did that!!)
You can easily animate your character via the puppet mode. Animating your creation whilst recording can be done via the mouse and we were extremely impressed with the ability to do this whilst music played. Consequently, getting Hitler to dance to the YMCA is a real possibility! There are a wide range of full-bodied gestures and postures in which to choose from. This brings a great sense of expression to your computerized characters, and will provide students with memorable learning experiences.
After using this product for a couple of days we believe that its great value for money. Although we are waiting for the mac version with bated breath (PC only for now folks) we think that this should become a regular feature in any school’s ICT armoury. It allows students to innovate – truly thinking out of the box, as the CrazyTalk Animator Pro brings the imagination normally associated with multi-million pound organisations to the desktop of the person in the street (or in our case, the student in the classroom).
Check out the videos below. They demonstrate what we’re talking about!