CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio generates an animated 3D face from a two-dimensional picture. It's a simple tool but it provides exceptional results.

We were impressed by CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio's ability to give realistic results in minutes. We imported a head-and-shoulders portrait – you can import an image directly from a scanner.

CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio processed the image and sorted out the background and foreground.

To animate an image you bond a wireframe to its contours, which isn't nearly as complicated as it sounds. CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio's auto-fitting technique involves placing four dots at the extremities of the subject's eyes and mouth and, while you can add more complicated paths, we found the results here surprisingly good. Our subject was soon blinking and moving her head naturally.

You can record your voice to make the subject speak your own words. CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio makes a sound job of automatically synchronising lip movement with speech.

CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio also offers solid text-to-speech recognition and you can choose from a library of voices. These voices' pitch, volume and speed can be adjusted.

Advanced face-editing is catered for, so you can add moving eyes, lips and teeth. Results here were slightly cartoonish, but CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio comes into its own through its timeline. This allows you to direct facial animation, so your subject can move in time with their words.

Reallusion's iClone (review here) can import CrazyTalk's talking head and audio scripts. You can export files in a variety of ways – including greetings cards or to an AVI movie.

CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio: Specs

  • 500MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/NT/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 300MB disk space
  • 500MHz Intel Pentium or AMD Athlon
  • Windows 98/Me/2000/NT/XP
  • 128MB RAM
  • 300MB disk space

OUR VERDICT

CrazyTalk 4.5 Media Studio produces great results with little effort. Used in tandem with iClone you can produce realistic 3D effects at a fraction of the cost of high-end animation tools. This is one of the cleverest one-trick ponies we've seen.

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