Animation: CrazyTalk Animator PRO

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Previously we reviewed Reallusion's facial animation software, CrazyTalk (click here for our review of Reallusion CrazyTalk 6)- a great little piece of software for budding animators or cartoonists, creating animated actors for use in video projects or websites. Reallusion has now released their latest animation software -CrazyTalk Animator PRO- that allows animation of not only the facial features of your subject, but also provides puppeteering functions to allow realistic animation of your subject's body as well, certainly a step forward for the CrazyTalk series.

Animation can be thought of as a somewhat complex process requiring wireframe modeling etc., but if you want a 2d animation pacakge,Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator does a good job of providing a simple to use and intuitive package to address your requirements.

As with older versions of CrazyTalk the process of building your animation is covered by a comprehensive manual and a "Quick Reference Guide" which run through every aspect of the software in detail. Alongside these, further tutorials and guides are available through the Reallusion website, and also through a great number of videos that have been uploaded to YouTube. With all this information there every chance of producing a great little animation with the right amount of effort.

Projects can be started with preinstalled characters, or actors (aka avatars) can be built (faces, body parts etc.) from your existing photos. Alongside the puppeteering, the backgrounds to the animation can be enhanced with with props from the existing library or manufactured from any image of our choice.

Defining your own props and actors from your own photos can be slightly time consuming, as each individual aspect of a character needs to be accurately defined for the puppeteering and facial animations. For the facial animation the editing process is much as that for CrazyTalk with features defined by a series of focal points. However, once the character has been defined, the process of animation can be undertaken using either a series of templates that easily animate the character(s). Editing of any animation is done on a timeline, allowing frames of animation to be extended, looped etc . If you want a little more control over the animation, Reallusion CrazyTalk Animator allows you to use real-time puppeteering to fully customise your animation on the fly (during the use of a template or on its own). Herein lies the main difference between the standard and PRO versions of the software, the PRO version offers much better features with respect to the puppeteering allowing a much greater range of movements of customisation to any actors.

Every aspect of the animation process is customisable and the end of product given enough work can be very satisfying and importing of your own sprites, vocie overs etc can give a very personalised end product. Certainly there aren't many animation packages that offer such a simple and fun way of producing your own animations. The cost for the PRO version is ~£140, compared with £40 for the standard version (at the time of writing) making them both excellent valuse for their relative features.

Our Rating: 4.5 / 5