Crazy Talk 7 puts character animation power on your Mac

From TUAW - The Unofficial Apple Weblog
April 25, 2013 - 7:42pm

Putting words in other people's mouths: more of a hobby than a vocation for most people, I'd say. If your work or play involves facial animation, however, you know how much work goes into making fake speech look convincingly real. Although there are impressive pro animation tools for this task, they might run you hundreds or thousands of dollars per seat. That's why the Mac version of Reallusion's US$29.99 Crazy Talk 7 Standard is such an intriguing product. For a modest cost, this app delivers impressive character animation power -- with a learning curve that's not too steep for amateurs. Crazy Talk lets you work with libraries of preconfigured characters, where mouth movements and other motions are already pinned to specific features on the character's image. You can also pull in your own images for the face animation treatment; political or corporate portraits seem to work particularly well, as do pet snapshots. For the DIY images, the app walks you through preparing them with essential feature points -- corners of the eyes, point of the chin and so forth. The idea is to make a model of the character's face that will react appropriately to the audio using Crazy Talk's Auto Motion feature. Once the base character "puppet" is ready, Crazy Talk really gets to work. Import or record your dialogue audio (or use the built-in text to speech feature) and the Auto Motion animation tools will analyze sounds and phonemes, trying to match mouth and face motions to the sou...

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