1. Technology
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Animation Software Review: CrazyTalk Animator

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

By

Animation Software Review: CrazyTalk Animator

The Bottom Line

As an animation program, CrazyTalk Animator doesn't quite fit the mold of typical frame-based animation software -- but it does make it extremely easy and extremely entertaining to apply animation principles to photographs and illustrated content. CrazyTalk Animator approaches animation from a different perspective, and is a great tool for hobbyists, beginners, or anyone looking to have fun. In the right hands it can offer sophisticated options for producing fully-featured animations.

Pros

  • Lets you easily import artwork and turn it into fully-featured animation.
  • Applies bone systems to "actors" to bring them to life.
  • Lets you create character libraries that can be mixed and matched.
  • Fairly inexpensive.
  • Simple GUI with clearly delineated tools.

Cons

  • Few options to create content from within the program.
  • Over-simplified tools can be confusing at first.

Description

  • Animation "puppet" program that moves animated actors on the program's stage. Good for importing artwork and applying motion.
  • Useful for websites, learning environments, and entertainment content, with a focus on character animation and interaction.
  • Features character library functions that allow parts, accessories, and styles to be mixed and matched in unique ways.
  • Comes with a great deal of downloadable content and easy learning tools, tutorials, and tips.

Guide Review - Animation Software Review: CrazyTalk Animator

It's not often that I'm truly impressed by all the hype surrounding an animation software product. CrazyTalk Animator, though, really delivered on the promise delivered by the demo reel.

First things first: CrazyTalk Animator is not a traditional 2D animation program, so if you go in looking for that you will be disappointed...though you shouldn't be, because what CrazyTalk offers is animation from a different perspective. Although it works on a frame-based timeline and can let you create animated characters and scenes with voices, it doesn't quite operate on the same principles as a program like Flash. Much of your content will be created externally, then imported into Animator to be manipulated and sequenced using sophisticated but easy-to-use tools. CrazyTalk refers to these imported characters as "actors," which can be posed and directed on-stage -- a fairly apt description.

With its entire focus on animation, CrazyTalk Animator functions similarly to many sprite or bone animation programs, but with a much higher level of customization and control. Characters and scenes can be controlled either as a whole or as individual parts to create complex interactivity and interconnectedness. The program comes with a variety of prepackaged effects, animations, and sprites, but also makes it extremely easy to assemble your own from photos and illustrations.

The best part is the character composer system, which lets you mix and match character body parts, clothing, and accessories rather like a paper doll. You can start off with the downloadable content to customize your characters, or even import your own styles to build an original library of mixable base parts.

In some ways the controls are almost too simplified, and until you get used to the style of the interface you may feel as if your options are extremely limited as far as to what you can do with your animated objects and environment. Once you explore, though, you'll find that digging deeper into libraries, character creators, and hierarchies gives you further control over the animation.

CrazyTalk Animator also gives you the option of adding voices to your animations, to create a complete animated cartoon. You could easily produce television-style animations by importing your sprites and recorded voiceovers into CrazyTalk.

I do wish that original content creation was a bit easier. While there are advantages to working across multiple programs, I would like to be able to edit sprite artwork a little more easily within the program. There are some options for changing color, contrast, shape, etc. but not to the level I'd like to see.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.