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CrazyTalk7 arrives on the Mac with advanced, easy-to-use interface and features

Jeff Foster | May 2, 2013
Reallusion's CrazyTalk7 Pro is a powerful image morphing and character animation application with an easy-to-use interface that is fun and rewarding for hobbyists and professionals alike. Select any photo or illustration as your subject, and with just a few clicks, you can bring it to life by making it move and talk.

You can further create a mask around your character and place it on a different background or a solid color, if you plan to use it in another video editing application.

You are now ready to add your voice, script, and motion to your character, or continue to add other features such as animated eyes and teeth, if you wish. To test your new character, I suggest using one of the practice audio templates to be sure all of your subject's edit points are positioned and functioning correctly and to get familiar with editing on the timeline.

Recording your voice directly in the app will automatically generate voice-recognition characteristics and apply them to your model. The individual audio clips can be trimmed and edited on the timeline with simple controls. However, as a Mac-based professional video editor and animator, I found some of the controls to be somewhat counterintuitive to a standard non-linear editing environment. For example, shortcut keys are based on the original Windows version, which makes it necessary to manually click on tools or menu items, right-click on a mouse to access pop-up menus, or use an extended keyboard for keys such as the Forward-Delete key, or use Fn+Delete on a standard keyboard or MacBook Pro or Air.

Customizing your character

You can replace your character's eyes, mouth, and teeth with animated options from the built-in library. Details such as iris color, size, and eyelashes and tooth shape and color can all be adjusted. This can give a more realistic appearance to your animation or just push it over the edge into downright comical.

In the Pro version of CrazyTalk7, there are more advanced Auto Motion controls where you can enhance facial expressions with selectable feature regions and movements of the head and body.

I've created some examples in a short video that show the range of motion and animation controls on a couple of test subjects, with various input methods of the audio tracks and scripts.

I was however, disappointed there weren't more options for recording audio quality and line levels. I used a $1000 professional tube mic with a submixer that I record voiceover with regularly as my line-in input, but the resulting sound was flat and somewhat distorted, regardless of my input levels. I've discovered there is a QuickTime framework limitation in the application that reduces the sample rate to 8000mhz, as a result of referencing the previous product family. Reallusion suggests recording your voice tracks with a pro audio application and then importing the recorded track into CrazyTalk7 Pro to apply to your character animations for best results.

Video export capabilities include the option to adjust scale and quality, depending on the QuickTime codec you chose--For OS X 10.6.8 you can choose H.264, MPEG4, and Lossless. With OS X 10.7.5 and above choices include Photo-JPEG, Apple ProRes 4444, and Apple ProRes 422.


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