Week 9 – 11: CrazyTalk

February 28, 2010 Leave a comment

For the next few weeks we’ll complete a short CrazyTalk project. CrazyTalk is an animation tool for creating talking characters. Students can use an imported image (one of your own) or one of the samples from the CrazyTalk models and make them “speak”. Take a look at these videos to see what you can do. (You should watch these at home) They are of an animated dog and cat. A full list of tutorials, both in online video and illustrative documents are available from Reallusion. These are useful if we don’t want to access YouTube. (TIP: Start from the bottom of the list.)

We will be using CrazyTalk 5 which is a slightly older version of the current one. A big plus is that students can download a free trial of the latest application, or an older version from Reallusion to use at home if they wish. This should enable you to experiment on your own. Of course students should always be wary of downloading software, but CNET has a good reputation. Always ensure that your computer system is compatible with the requirements of the product.
 Lesson One
1. Open up the CrazyTalk application once you’ve logged on.
2. Navigate to the internet and search for a full face image. Save this. (It would be better if this had a closed mouth.)
3. Follow the instructions from ” Basic Face Fitting” from Step 1 to 9.
4. Then add “Natural Eyes and Teeth“.
5. Finally complete the “Face profile and Stand-By Motion” tutorial.
6. Experiment!
a) That video help is available from the Reallusion website on EACH of the tutorials.
b) That you should add your original imported image to the “Custom” window for models.
c) Save your work as a “Project”. You can overwrite this each time you add something new.
Extension: Why not animate a hamburger? Follow these instructions.
Lesson Two
1. Follow the steps from “Handling the Background Image” in order to learn how to customise a background. You might wish to search for an image to use as a background first. N.B. This tutorial is not as easy as it looks!
2. To add speech to your animation you need to click on the SCRIPT option in CrazyTalk. It is quite fun to have your model talk like some of the different suggested options in the template window. The tutorial for speech is rather in depth. We only need to worry about Step 6 from the “Timeline and Emotion Library” at this stage. Students can add custom sound to their models at a later stage.
3. Finally, for this lesson, students should have a look at “Editing and Creating a Custom Script“. This will definitely take some time to get on top of, but it will allow you to create a model whose facial movements are edited to fit a particular character or a specific speech.  During class we will watch this video which demonstrates the facial expressions created by using this tool.



Extension: Why not create two models which “talk” in one project? See this tutorial on “Making Avatars Interact



Lesson Three
1. Spend some time during this lesson on finalising the project. Make sure that it has all the elements you want.
2. Follow the instructions to “Export and Embed into Webpage“. You might find this tricky, but let’s see if we can manage it. Unfortunately we won’t be able to add these to our WordPress blogs as the Flash will be stripped out. Perhaps take a screen shot of your model, save as a jpeg and write up the process with a link to your animation on YouTube?

Acknowledgements to Claire Barnes and her notes from Willow Dene School. 


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Week 8: More Image Manipulation

February 21, 2010 Leave a comment

We’ll be continuing with work on Adobe Photoshop Elements this week. Students should try and create a light saber following the instructions in the video. Click on the image below.

Image sourced from premierglow.com

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Week 5: More on Image Manipulation

January 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Following on from our lesson on logos, we’ll be experimenting with Adobe Premier Elements and creating many different types of images. I’m sure students will find this activity fun! I thought it would be an idea to have a “guest” teacher for this section, so we’ll be following tutorials from Mr Clarkson, who teaches ICT in the North East of England.

Mr Clarkson’s students usually work with several graphic applications and not all of the tutorials for Photoshop are covered. However, GIMP is a very similar graphic application, so students shoud look at these instead. Students do not have to follow the order of the tutorials, although this is advisable because of the level of difficulty. Students MUST complete all of the tutorials in the coming weeks.

Please remember to always us Creative Commons if you’re sourcing images from the Internet. Also remember that if you’re stuck and wanting to move on with a task, you can also use the “HELP” files within Adobe Premier Elements to get ahead.

Click on the image below in order to navigate to Mr Clarkson’s tutorials on Image Manipulation.  

(Image from Flickr Creative Commons: TobyC69)

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Week 4: Logos

January 24, 2010 3 comments

This week, before we move on to image editing and manipulating, we’ll be spending some time on creating logos. Logos can be modern or show traditional heraldic design.

Modern Logos Traditional Heraldry
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Week 2 & 3: Widgets and html

January 17, 2010 Leave a comment

Several students will still be working from the previous blog entry and will be setting up blog widgets during this lesson.

For those of you who have completed the extension tasks from the previous lesson, you might want to move ahead with some work on basic html from w3schools.com.

Don’t be put off by the fussy interface of the tutorials – concentrate on the text in the centre of the pages, interact with the tutorials and click on the “Next Chapter” link when you’ve completed the task on each page. Select the green button for the option to “Try it yourself”.

 Use the html tab in a new blog post to write up the html described in the tutorials, then use the Visual tab to see the results. Explore and experiment!                                                                                                                  

 Image sourced from racineimage.com

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Week 2: Adding Links and basic html

January 13, 2010 Leave a comment

Students should complete two different activities this week, adding links to the BLOGROLL widget and creating a TEXT widget to input an image with a HYPERLINK to a popular site.

1. Adding links to the blogroll is an easy process. On the dashboard, there is a blogroll Links faq section. This shows you how to add new links to the widget. Perhaps ask your friends for their blog url’s? Or, add any websites which you read regularly.  

2. Create a text widget in the the sidebar, add an image and then create a hyperlink from this to an external website. The steps to completing this are: a) create new blog post. (This does not need a title as we’re only using the image and the html wich will be associated with it. b) Insert an image.  c) Create a hyperlink to an external website. d) Select the html tab. (There are two editing tabs in posts; Visual and HTML.) e) Select the text (using Ctrl C) f) Navigate back to your text widget you created earlier. g) Paste the text into the widget. (You will have noted that the text is in html.) h) Save the work in the widget, close and visit the site to see the results.

Please remember that help for wordpress blogs is available on the support page.

Extension: Add another blog post, comment on a friend’s blog, investigate other widgets.

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Spring Term: Week 1- WordPress Widgets

January 5, 2010 1 comment

We’re going to continue with blogging and we will spend a little more time adding to the design appearance of the blog. This week we’ll begin work on adding widgets to the sidebars of the blogs. The following widgets will be added:

Archives (a list of all blog posts by month)

Calendar (shows current month and highlights the date when a blog post is published)

Links (web links to websites which interest you)

Word Cloud (words which appear in a cloud form, based on ‘tagging’)

Gravatar (based on the creation of an Avatar)

In order to create a Gravatar, we first need to create an Avatar. Follow the instructions for creating an Avatar  from the Mangatar website. Once your Avatar is complete and it has been emailed to your school email account, right click on the image and SAVE it to your MY PICTURES folder. From there, it can be uploaded as your Gravatar on your wordpress blog.

WordPress has a link to help those who forget how they constructed a widget. Find this here. To the right of the help text on this webpage there is a  list further explaining how to go about inserting and working with supported wordpress widgets. Go ahead and try out others if you wish. However, take care not to clutter your sidebars and always SAVE and PUBLISH your work.

If you enjoy the idea of creating Avatars, you might wish to visit this website which lists 12 sites to create cartoon characters of yourself. Similalry 18 Sites might have something which appeals to you. Not all of these might be accessible from the school network, so perhaps try them from home.