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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!
Remember:
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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