capsule review

CrazyTalk Pro

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder CrazyTalk Pro

CrazyTalk succeeds at making what is actually a rather complex process appear pretty darn easy--at least if you use the defaults. It took me only a couple of minutes to get a favorite photo up and talking to me. All that was required was marking the outside corners of the eyes and lips, accept the program's suggestions, providing a few words, and voila--a far more realistic experience than I'd anticipated. As easy as it can be, there are also lots of options that govern the behavior of the various facial elements, as well as prefab emotional overlays to apply and play with.

While you can produce talking photos, that's a tad on the creepy side for anything other than humorous projects. A more practical application is to use one of the animated characters to create a friendly face for your Web site, or as a low-priced (excuse the pun) talking head for instructional videos and the like.

If I have any complaint at all concerning CrazyTalk, it's that all the help is on the company's Web site. I suppose this allows the company to update it freely. However, having a browser pop up every time you want a tidbit of info is a bit of a pain. That said, the help (which includes video tutorials) is very well done and will get you up and puppeteering in no time.

I looked at the Pro version, but if you're willing to forego a couple of FX and many of the precision tweaking features, the price for the Standard version drops dramatically. Even if you don't have a use for CrazyTalk, I highly recommend downloading the trial. It's a fascinating demonstration of just how far real-time facial animation technology has progressed.

--Jon L. Jacobi

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder CrazyTalk Pro

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