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Pros / It has a large library of appealing premade character templates.

Cons / There are no drawing tools.

 Verdict / The simple tools, motion capture abilities and large library of templates, make this program fun and easy to use whether or not you are an artist.

CrazyTalk Animator by Reallusion is great 2D animation software for both artists and those who don’t have drawing skills. This software provides professional and pleasant-looking premade characters, effects and animated movements for you to use. It also offers motion capture and auto-lip syncing so the animation process is much easier than other programs. For artists, the "Pipeline" version is great for anyone familiar with Photoshop or Illustrator as it provides templates for character bone rigging and allows you to import vector graphics. You can record dialogue in the program, but audio editing abilities are limited.

Pricing

Reallusion sells this software for $179.00, which isn’t cheap, but isn’t the worst pricing of the programs we tested. We were also able to find it selling cheaper on Amazon. You’ll be paying for stylish and attractive looking art styles including backgrounds, characters and special effects. If you aren’t sure about the software, give the 15-day trial a go and see how you like it.

Animation Tools

This is a very simple and easy-to-learn software. We were able to mix and match premade body parts from the character library to create unique actors. Like Toon Boom Harmony, this software uses puppeteering to control the movement of your character's limbs and facial expressions. We were able to bring our characters to life very quickly by selecting predetermined actions and expressions from the puppeteering panels.

There are no drawing tools included as CrazyTalk comes with its own character library. The "Pipeline" version, a step up from "Pro", was meant to be used alongside Photoshop and Illustrator. It imports and helps you animate your own character creations. This heftier version of the software also provides sprite templates for humans, faces, cats, dogs, horses, wings, and spines that you can attach to your Photoshop or Illustrator characters. This makes it so your own creations are quickly turned into puppets and will respond to the premade animations found in the library. Just be aware that vector graphics creations will need to be converted to SWF files since CrazyTalk cannot open AI files.

If your computer has a camera, CrazyTalk Animator Pro's motion capture feature - often referred to as mocap - can mimic your head movements and facial expressions going so far as to apply automatic lip syncing when audio is imported or recorded. Sometimes the program didn’t respond correctly to our noises or head movements in our testing, but it still allowed us to create animations much faster than most of the other programs we tested. If your character doesn’t seem to be responding properly you can realign your head with the sensors and start again. Make sure you are in a well-lit area as this also influences the motion capture accuracy. Motion capture can save you valuable time, especially if you are an animation beginner.

One of this 2D animation software’s best features is that you can import pictures of yourself, friends, family members or pets and turn them into animated characters. Using the intuitive masking function, we were able to select the head of our character and place it on a premade vector-image body. The mask removes the unwanted area around the head, making it easy to focus on animating the expressions and facial features. CrazyTalk Animator uses premade mouths with the anchor points you designate on your photo to make it look like your subject is speaking.

This cartoon maker software toes the line between 2D and 3D animation by animating characters from 10 different angles. This method gives the illusion that your 2D characters are moving around in a 3D space. By using different perspectives, you can effectively turn your characters around without revealing their 2D designs. This opens up a whole new world for animators who want to experiment with different camera angles and give their shows a dynamic feel.

Features

CrazyTalk Animator let us record audio through a microphone attached to our PC as well as import sound and dialogue files. Adjusting the volume and fading in or fading out are the only audio-editing options included with this animation software. You need another program to alter sound and dialogue if you want to edit beyond that.

There are many premade lip-sync animations you can choose from. The text-to-speech function is another great feature. When you type in your dialogue, the program picks out the major intonations and applies the correct mouth animations for you. You can also adjust the camera positioning to make your scenes more dynamic. This program did work with our drawing tablet, but since there weren’t any drawing tools, it isn’t exactly necessary. While testing the software, we found a couple of premade animation effects including weather elements and explosions to provide additional detail for your scenes.

Import & Export

You can import PSD files, most images files and a number of video and sound files like AVI, WMV, SMF, MOV, WAV and MP3. When exporting, you can create AVI, WMV, MP4, popVideo3 files with the ability to also create transparent MOV PRoRes 4444 files for Mac. Unfortunately, you cannot post your work directly on YouTube or Facebook from within the program.

Help & Support

Reallusion offers plenty of helpful features like a knowledgebase, active user forum, and FAQs page. You can find official tutorial videos on the website as well as dozens of user-created tutorials on YouTube. If you need one on one assistance, you can contact a representative through phone or email. This program works on both PC and Mac computers so you won’t have to worry about compatibility.

You don't need drawing skills to use this 2D animation software since there are backgrounds, characters and preprogrammed animations for you to use. You can also pull image files in and manipulate them by adding bones and pins. This program is easy to learn since there are no drawing tools and the interface is simple. If you are an artist, you can create your own characters in a drawing program and then import them into this one for animation. Since this program has motion capture software, lip syncing is automatic and allows you to create animations quickly.

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