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CrazyTalk 6, can it replace MotionPortrait Technology for animating sprites for use in OELVN’s aka Visual Novels… Oh and, I’m not on crack…

November 1, 2012

As the title says… it’s been two days since I downloaded the demo of CrazyTalk. But what is CrazyTalk and how in the world is this software relevant to OELVN aka Visual Novels?… A LOT!!!

Anyway, Crazytalk in layman’s terms will enable me to animate a sprite at the quickest time possible with the delicious possibility of synchronising voice with sprite lip animation in conjunction with almost lifelike head movements and blinking dynamic eyes without doing them manually… isn’t it great!?…

Ehem… my obsession with finding an easy way to animate sprites goes way back. It all started with White Album for PS3… it’s a remake of the same old White Album VN we all love except this time, they utilized MotionPortrait Technology which made it possible to dynamically animate single layered spites. I was like “I SO BADLY WANTED THAT SOFTWARE!!!” I’m already salivating at the prospect of animating my self insert character (UNCLE MUGEN) for everyone to adore and worship but after several hours of Googling far and wide…

In case you are curious what MotionPortrait looks like in action, click here to see delicious Yuki…

I finally learned that MotionPortrait technology isn’t available for general public and is only offered as a soft of middleware… THE FUUUUUU@^#%$!! Why you F!^%@!! Make it hard for us mere mortals to have this delicious technology!?… You no like our money?… Here take my wallet!!!… of course the devs being Japanese and probably uber-xenophobic (apologies for every Japanese reading this… that comment was meant for the devs of MotionPortrait)

EHEM!!! (again) where was I?… Oh yeah…

Of course me being the tenacious me decided to find quick and cheap alternatives and ended up using Adobe Photoshop’s Puppet Tool which actually did the job but not at the pace I wanted since you have no choice but to do it manually… painstakingly manually… see below video

And then I recall someone from Lemmasoft mentioned CrazyTalk and a quick google lead me to CrazyTalk software which is basically “almost” everything MotionPortrait was and more (take note, I said “almost”… more on that later)

Like a kid eager to try his first doobie… I downloaded the demo, youtube’d some tutorials, loaded an image and in just a few minutes I already am seeing progress… EUREKA!!!! This is IT!!! THIS IS THE SOFTWARE I’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!!! So I tossed everything for a while and focused on learning the strengths and weaknesses of CrazyTalk and assess if this truly is the one software that I’ve been looking for so I can finally give that Japanese MotionPortrait Technology a middle finger…

It has voice/mouth sync, just load an audio voice and CrazyTalk pretty much does a very good job at animating the mouth. The preset idle moves are a sight to behold. The GUI of the program is pretty much no-brainer and very easy to comprehend and navigate even for a noob like me. Of course it does have some face mapping/fitting problems specifically having no further way of detailing things beyond the default three level detailing… So the question is…

Can CrazyTalk be used in OELVN (Visual Novels) as replacement for Motion Portrait?…

Yes and No…

Right now as far as I have seen from the demo… it can do most of the functions I seek from MotionPortrait but it does have some serious issues that will most likely prevent CrazyTalk from being fully utilized for OELVN’s… one of the main ones is that there is no layering in CrazyTalk. Normally this is not an issue but since most of the sprites used in Visual Novels have this bangs overlapping the eyebrow, the amount of distortion is very very noticeable. It would be really nice if you could add a separate layer for Eyebrow or inversely have a png of the bangs overlaid above. While the eye creation and options available is very comprehensive… it too inherits the very same problem of having only thee level of detail adjustment. CrazyTalk eyes look good on real and androgynous faces but not on Generic Moe-Moe anime girls…

Of course, those things in my wish list might already be available in CrazyTalk but there is no way for me to know if it is locked since I’m using a demo version especially after viewing the video below which obviously had the glasses overlaid above the eyes…

Long story short… CrazyTalk while not intended for use with Visual Novels can do the task at hand. Will I buy it?… Mmm… I am planning to and the price is not cheap but reasonable… I might hold-off a bit until I solve and figure out how to manually stop the eye from blinking or how to add overlay graphics above the face and other concerns…

But in case you wanted to try CrazyTalk and give it a spin go here…

http://www.reallusion.com/crazytalk/default.aspx

I still have a few days left in the demo… who knows what I’ll discover…

5 comments

  1. There’s another program similar to MotionPortrait called Live2D which is available to the public and has been used in a variety of commercial games/apps. Sadly it’s only available in Japanese right now.

    ;_;

    Maybe someday they’ll release it in English.


    • I googled Live 2D and…. I too now know your feel…

      ;_;


  2. Hi Uncle! Can you please soon talk about your font rendering? The fonts you like the most and so on? Some trick for us, your lovely wannabes? Thank you!


  3. I’m glad you ended up trying Crazytalk – I did suggest it to you quite some time ago, although I wouldn’t call myself “someone from Lemmasoft”.😛

    Another interesting piece of software, which will only be up for preorder for a reduced price until the 15th of December, is Spriter. It’s got layers and bones, so I’d say it’s another thing to look into. You can see a few videos demonstrating it on Youtube.

    (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VsXfGwOLcB0&feature=plcp is one of the latest ones.)

    They have skew and rotate effects for the elements of the sprites as well, but I don’t think they have affine transforms. All the same, I think it may even give better results than Crazytalk, in some ways.

    Regarding your experiment: it’s interesting, but the girl’s head looks like it’s drawn on a rubber surface and pulled here and there, rather than like she’s turning around. I’d say that spending more time to make her movement believable would be a good thing, as it is now I wouldn’t say you’re better off spending time animating a sprite like this rather than leaving it fairly static.


  4. Keep us updated with what you find. This is fascinating.



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