If you are looking to make some animated characters but don’t have the skill set to animate them yourself, then you might want to check out Reallusion’s CrazyTalk 8 software, which was recently updated to provide users with the tools to great better-animated videos with 3D heads, pipeline options and a lot more animations.
That said, CrazyTalk isn’t going to replace more high-end solutions, but it isn’t meant to. CrazyTalk 8 is for the user who wants an easy to use application that they can just have fun with.
From the outset, this is shown, with a clean and easy to use GUI that makes it easy to work out how to use the software, without having to read various manuals, or work out what random jargon means.
Despite that, CrazyTalk 8 does provide a tonne of options, with the ability to layer animations from various toolsets that provide you with a lot of options to create what you aim to, but all of this is set out in a way that stops all of these animations from overwhelming your project. All of the tools are set out into collapsible menus, and tooltips over the tools to tell you what you are looking at when you hover over them.
There’s also a number of libraries that you can use to add extra items to your characters, from a new hairstyle all the way up to a new set of teeth. All of this comes alongside a number of backdrop options.
The task of actually creating an animation is also really simple, select whether you want a 2D or 3D animation, and then upload the image(s), for 2D you simply need to upload a single image, and for 3D you need two images, however, when creating a 3D image I did find that the app sometimes crashed, which may be due to my Mac not having enough power behind it, or it may be due to the software.
On top of that, your end results may vary depending on the source photos that you provide, but that said, if you select the points correctly then you can definitely get pretty good results, even from less ideal shots.
To create better animations, you will need to make sure that you currently set out the markers and shapes to your avatar, however, you can edit these after, so you don’t have to worry about getting it the first time.
Once you get into the actual animation side of the workflow, you can then proceed to select one of the many preset assets to animate the head too, or to an uploaded audio track, or to your own typed text/ recorded vocals.
Once you have selected your audio, you then drag it to the timeline and your avatar suddenly becomes animated, without any other work by you, and that is where CT8 really gets interesting.
You are also able to fine-tune these animations, including adjusting the smoothness of transitions, or how strong the motions are. That all said, CrazyTalk 8 does have some limitations, without many export options, aside from being able to export it to a video or image, there’s no way to get the 3D data to another application.
But if you are looking for a simple yet cheap way to create animated content, then CrazyTalk 8 is probably the best option currently.
CrazyTalk 8 can be purchased from their website now, it is priced at $49 for the standard edition, $149 for the pro version and $199 for the pipeline version.