Apparently it helps to have some actual drawing talent so I took up a different vocation, but the dream never really died but took a multi-decade hiatus. Recently I’ve been toying with a Mac animation app that does some of what I once wanted to do to fund my life. It’s so cool it should be the face of Siri.
That’s right. CrazyTalk, the facial animation app for the Mac, would make a great face for Siri.
As it is, CrazyTalk creates wonderfully advanced facial animation using your own photos or drawings, and lip syncs the result to an audio track. Voila! A talking head, right on your Mac. All the tools you need to transfer a drawing or photo into an animated and speaking digital puppet are built in to CrazyTalk.
You control the facial features– mouth gesture, emotional expressions, eyes, nose, facial movements, and much more– and they can be synchronized to an audio track– singing, talking, even joking.
CrazyTalk comes with seven default puppet profiles which define specific personality profiles– Wicked, Goofy, Youthful, Attractive, Grumpy, and more. Each can be match to six emotion styles which layer over the profiles– smiley, angry, sad, scared, happy.
There’s even muscle-based control mechanism for specific facial and head movements. And, all those facial expressions, movements, and mouth movements can be synchronized over a voice timeline. Think of it as digital, animated lip-sync. You’re not limited to the characters included with CrazyTalk, either. Take photos of friends, family members, even pets, and animate them to say what you want them to say.
Relative to creating your own digital animations from scratch, CrazyTalk is easy, but there’s a learning curve, so don’t expect instant results. What I would love to see is Apple incorporating this kind of talking head technology into the iPhone, iPad, and Mac, add in Siri, drop in a touch of artificial intelligence, and our Apple iDevices become personable characters.
If a photo is worth a thousand words, then a video of CrazyTalk in action is probably worth more.