CrazyTalk has been gradually strengthening its reputation as an intuitive, useful application for hobbyists exploring the world of animation. While its place in a 2D artist's workflow might be hard to define, there's no arguing that CrazyTalk's 3D art (opens in new tab) animation tool works well.
The interface is clean and logical. While there are levels of drill-downs, pop-ups and menus, it never feels like you could get lost. Workflow, too, couldn't be better. Importing reference photo(s) is simple, as is editing, setting facial markers and cleaning up the background. The tools, while limited in number, are easy to grasp and do a fine job – though eyelid folds and beards can be problematic.
There are simple instructions, such as on angles and using even lighting and, although there are occasional errors, the results are pretty good. In the Pro version you can use a side-angle shot to help achieve the best results. This is particularly useful as CrazyTalk makes a rough head-shaped object and then applies your photo as textures. Any side references help to avoid obvious stretches.
The strength of CrazyTalk lies in its animation abilities, which are very good – up to a point. Adding audio can be done on the fly using your computer's built-in mic. Sound files are added to your timeline, where you can edit, trim or swap out phonemes (the smallest unit of spoken sound) – the program's best single feature.
You can drag from a palette of presets, replacing the animation for any syllables CrazyTalk has trouble with. It's quick, easy and gives better results than if the program had been left to its own devices.
CrazyTalk has excellent tools to fix geometry and animation, but the biggest benefit is the huge preset library. It comes with many faces, sounds, props and backgrounds, which are added to if you register the software. Getting your animations off the ground couldn't be easier, though some of the assets are a little cheesy.
If you have a need for this kind of tool and you aren't looking for Hollywood-quality results then CrazyTalk is ideal for web comics, pre-viz work, or even facial reference for artists and animators.