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Unlike some companies, who tend to release new versions of their software on an annual or even a more regular basis, Reallusion takes a slight different approach. New versions of the company’s software only appear when additional features are available. It is for this reason that I have had to wait for over three years for the appearance of Reallusion’s CrazyTalk Animator 3 to arrive. This software is available in Pipeline, Pro and Standard versions.
For those unfamiliar with this particular product, it provides the user with a set of tools that have been designed to create cartoon quality animations. These productions can then be used to deliver spoke messages, aimed at specific audiences, as part of a presentation.
Recently I have been checking out the Pipeline version of CrazyTalk Animator 3 animation 2D software. As part of the product’s installation routine, various specific details will be required for setting up the software. In many cases, such as User Name, will be automatically added but you will need to enter the supplied serial number. There will also be an option to download various bonus content items for use with the product by signing in to an existing account or one created for the purpose. This will require the entry of an email address and password. By creating this account you will gain access to the latest updates and full technical support for the product.
Displaying familiar Windows style arrangement of menu and tool bars, the program’s interface features a main work area overlaid with a template divided into squared areas. Situated to the right of the work area is a Content Manager pane. This pane features tabs that allow its content to be switched between categories such as Project, Actors, Animations, Scenes and SFX. When selecting content from this store, you are given the usual Windows style methods. You can select items with a single right mouse click or a double left mouse click whichever suits your method of working. There is also an option to use drag & drop for selecting items you might need.
Of course you are not restricted to the items in the Content Manager. Tools are available for creating your own content either from scratch or by editing the bonus characters and scenes. When creating your own characters, there are options to target specific areas such as hair, body and facial elements. While the various elements, such as characters, props and scenes, making up a project are 2D, they can be viewed from different angles giving the impression that they do have some semblance of 3D. Enhancing this feeling is the ability of characters to move in different directions.
This latest version of CrazyTalk Animator comes with a number of new features to enhance the product’s functionality. Sprite-based characters can be created based on user-specified bone structures from which the software can produce flexible and bouncy cartoon-like actors. Both single and multiple bone selection can be applied to achieve smooth and wave-like movements to an object’s animation. You can also segment a character’s body parts and then apply different actions to each part to produce a complex action.
To save the user time and effort in the creation of motions, Reallusion provides a motion library for use with characters created with this software. This library features templates for Spine Bone, Human Bone and Animal Bone.
A new facial system has been introduced with this latest version of the Reallusion software. The new approach combines Free Form Deformation, transformation and sprite switch to produce continuous, smooth and realistic facial expressions. Other new features include Elastic Motions to help grab the attention of an audience and Infinite Prop that allows for the creating of props with multiple animations. Completed projects can be saved as WMV, AVI, MP4, WAV, Flash Video and popVideo formats.
CrazyTalk Animator 3 is an excellent animation program as long as you are prepared to put in the effort. It gives the user full control of the appearance and movements of its various elements. As mentioned earlier, I have been using the Pipeline version of the software which is aimed at the professional user and should be available price around £199. The product is also available in Pro (£99) and Standard (£47) versions. Recommended system requirements call for a dual core CPU with 4GB of RAM and 10GB of hard disk space with a display resolution of 1440 x 900 or higher. There is support for 32 and 64-bit systems running either Windows 7 or MacOS 10.11.5 and later.
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