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Voice All Your Own Animated Characters with Voice Changer

Voice Changer by AVSoft is real time voice manipulation software that can be used for a wide range of purposes including (according to their website); Voice-over and voice dubbing for audio/video clips, presentations, narrations, voice messages, voice mails, E-greeting cards, broadcasting, etc.; mimic the voice of any person, create animal sounds, change/replace/remove voices in songs, videos,etc.

I bought it for the specific purpose of changing my own voice, to extend my vocal range, for voicing characters in my own animations.

I was fortunate enough to get this software at a significant discount that made it difficult to refuse, given that I'd never tried it, or even heard of it before. I'm not sure if I would have bought it at the full price given that much of what it can do (for my needs) can also be done with the freeware audio program, Audacity.

AV Voice Changer Interface.
Voice Changer is relatively easy to install and set up. Once installed simply change you default microphone to the installed AVnex Virtual Audio Device and any software you have that uses a microphone will take the output from Voice Changer.

The program manipulates your voice by first adjusting the pitch and timbre of the input voice, to which you can also apply a number of optional effects such as Equalization, Sound effects and Background effects.

What sets this software apart from using Audacity is that you can adjust your voice in real time, speaking directly into the microphone and hearing your voice echoed back with whatever adjustments you have applied.

Once you get your voice just how you want it, you can save the settings out for future use.

The program also comes with a number of preset voices, called 'NicKvoices' in two categories; Male input and Female input. These are specifically for situations when you want your voice to sound like a voice of the opposite gender.

The results I got from this program were varied. I've found that no matter what software you use to manipulate a voice it nearly always comes out sounding a little more computer generated than natural. Voice Changer didn't really change my findings.

It's claimed that you can use Voice Changer to mimic other people's voices. Having only used the software for a few hours I haven't really explored this aspect thoroughly. Essentially it works by taking a sample of the person's voice, then recording your own voice saying the same phrase. You then adjust the settings until your voice recording is a close match to the original person's voice.

Voice Changer is certainly fun to play around with and, for my purposes, it's a quick way to solve the problem of not having enough people to voice all my characters. I'm not sure I'd want to use it for finished work but certainly for work in progress and rough renderings of animations, it will do the job.

The biggest let down I've had is with the online documentation and tutorials. Not so much the content but the presentation which is set out in a forum style layout and seems to require many clicks just to get to the tutorial I need. Seriously AVSoft? Gather all that content together and organize it into a logically set out PDF Manual that I can read without being online.

One tip I will suggest is, if you don't have a great quality microphone, then running this program through Audacity is a great way to get better results.  Audacity can remove things like microphone hiss and generally clean up your input - as well as giving a whole bunch of additional effects you can apply after you've recorded your voice.

What I like most about Voice Changer is the ease at which you can experiment with getting just the right voice you need. You could play around with it all day finding different voices and saving them - just in case.

As I said, I'm not sure if I would have bought this software at full price (because Audacity was working just fine for me) but certainly worth the money I did pay. If you're not sure, Voice Changer is available as a trial download.

I did a test run with Voice Changer to voice my character Cool Froyd in the animation below. It's not brilliant by any means. In fact you have to really listen to understand him (probably should have subtitles) but you can see the potential.



Incidentally this is my first completed animated short of entirely my own artwork with Crazy Talk Animator Pro. You can see how the components were created in my original post, Cool Froyd the Cat and Crazy Talk Animator Pro, written back when I started work on the animation.

With all that preliminary work done it only took me an afternoon to create the animation above. Learning CrazyTalk Animator 2 has been a real eye opener at just how easy the original Crazy Talk Animator Pro actually is by comparison. I shouldn't have relegated it to the 'too hard' basket for quite so long!

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