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Beyond GoAnimate: Comparing CrazyTalk Animator 2

Introduction

If you're like me and have been using GoAnimate to create low cost explainer videos or other animated cartoons then you'll certainly have discovered many of GoAnimate's limitations. You may even be looking for an alternative? CrazyTalk Animator 2 by Reallusion is a professional animation studio that, like GoAnimate, requires no drawing skills at all but can give you more flexibility to animate your ideas exactly as you visualise them. It may be the animation solution you've really be looking for.



GoAnimate, a cloud based and easy to learn animation studio, gives you access to an extensive library of predefined and pre-animated content. It's pretty great and highly optimised for the business market. However new users run into the limitations very quickly. Usually by discovering a character can't perform some action they need, often having to find some kind of compromise or work around.

Custom Characters created
with Reallusion's Avatar
creation pack.
CrazyTalk Animator 2 is a software application, available for PC or MAC, that brings advanced character animation within the reach of almost anyone. Its relatively easy to learn animation studio includes several ready made, customisable avatars that can be animated with predefined 2D and 3D motions (or you can create your own motions entirely from scratch). Also included is a selection of backgrounds and props to get you started.

Production time between GoAnimate and CrazyTalk Animator 2 is comparable but largely dictated by the needs of each project. I've found that projects of similar lengths can be completed in CrazyTalk Animator 2 in about the same amount of time if sticking to predefined content and motions.

Unlike GoAnimate, CrazyTalk Animator 2 is a one time purchase. There are no ongoing monthly fees and all purchased content is royalty free - meaning you can use it in both commercial and non-commercial productions.

Similarities

GoAnimate and CrazyTalk Animator 2's studio layout is not that different. Like GoAnimate's studio CrazyTalk Animator 2 has a stage (or scene) editor window, content palette/manager and timeline. You will notice quite a few new tool bars and buttons that are less familiar. Fortunately CrazyTalk Animator 2 has a fairly comprehensive selection of video tutorials that will get you animating quite quickly.

CrazyTalk Animator 2's Studio with undocked Timeline.

The studio is drag'n'drop. Characters and props can be made to move around the stage by following transition paths (known as the 'slide' or 'movement' property in GoAnimate).

One important similarity is that CrazyTalk Animator 2 includes automatic lip syncing. Just like GoAnimate you can use Text To Speech voices, record your voice directly or upload a voice file. If you'd rather use speech balloons and other comic effects found in GoAnimate you'll find CrazyTalk Animator 2 has a good selection.

GoAnimate has a number of character creators so you'll be pleased to know CrazyTalk Animator 2 also has it's own Avatar Composer. The main program comes with a few Avatars that you can mix and match to create new characters. You can extend this functionality by purchasing the G2 Head Composer Kit Vol 1 which will give you enough additional content to create likenesses of you, your friends, work colleagues (great for business branding) and even celebrities.

Differences

Both GoAnimate and CrazyTalk Animator revolve heavily around the timeline. The difference is that GoAnimate's timeline uses scenes, in a way that's more akin to creating a Power Point or Keynote Presentation. CrazyTalk Animator 2 uses key frames, which is closer to traditional animation. It can take some getting used to but ultimately gives you greater control over everything.

Key Frames are marked with a dot in CrazyTalk Animator 2's Timeline.

Another key difference is that CrazyTalk Animator 2 is primarily a single scene editor. Although it is possible to create entire 1 to 2 minute animations within a single project a better work flow is to export scenes and assemble them using video editing software. This will give better results and you will gain access to scene transitions, titling and other features of your video editing software.

Which Version of CrazyTalk Animator 2

If you have no drawing skills at all and are completely happy to use predefined but customisable characters then CrazyTalk Animator 2 Standard is the most affordable and the easiest to learn.

There are 3 Versions of
CrazyTalk Animator 2.
Those with a more creative/artistic streak, who would like to create original characters and have more options to fine tune animations, should consider either the Pro or Pipeline versions. The Pipeline version is fully featured but if your budget doesn't stretch that far you can certainly work around not having features only available in the Pipeline edition.

Follow the link for a full edition comparison.

What you can do with CrazyTalk Animator 2 that you can't with GoAnimate

One of the most common complaints I've heard from GoAnimate users is not being able to show characters facing away from the camera. CrazyTalk Animator 2's Multi-dimensional Avatars (characters) consist of ten different views working together so the Avatar can be viewed from almost any angle. The program automatically calculates which view of every body part needs to be displayed in order to achieve your pose or animated sequence. You'll never be frustrated by only one or two viewing angles again.

CrazyTalk Animator 2' Multi-Dimensional Avatars mean
you can view your characters from any angle.

The avatars are not truly three dimensional but the software treats them as if they are. As such you can even import 3D motions created in iClone (Reallusion's 3D movie studio) and use them with your CrazyTalk Animator 2 Avatars (note this is a Pipeline feature only).

Morph base head on
an Avatar body.
CrazyTalk Animator 2 has the ability to create animated characters from photos with it's morphed based heads. Surprisingly easy to create, you can add these heads to any character body for a very unique look to your animation. If you run a business imagine putting yourself right into your animation for a more personal message.

Avatars and props can also be rendered in up to 9 different preset styles in just a few clicks. Choose from line art, neon, pop art and more. You can even control the thickness of your Avatars outlines on individual body parts if you want to emphasise things closer to the camera – or remove the lines altogether.

Just a few of CrazyTalk Animator 2's preset styles.

With a lot of effort, you can simulate perspective in GoAnimate. CrazyTalk Animator 2, by default, creates perspective automatically using a perspective based camera. Move characters and props closer or further away from the camera and their size will be modified accordingly. Pan across a scene and things closer to the camera will move faster than those further away. It's all done automatically – you don't have to think about it all.

The perspective camera includes a number of different lens simulations for added effect or, if you want your entire scene to have a more flat look switch to the orthographic camera.

For business users who rely on Power Point, Keynote or other similar programs, CrazyTalk Animator 2 can be used to create unique character based clip art or custom made animated GIFs to really get your presentations moving. Export single images as transparent PNG files or export animated sequences as GIF animations.

You could also use your PNG Clip art to personalize your products and other illustration based advertising with your CrazyTalk Animator 2 Avatar.

Right now if you take up a trial offer of Crazytalk Animator 2 you can get a whole library of free GIF's for use in your own presentations.

Content Store and Market Place

If you're not one to create your own characters and props, or you just would like a wider variety of content to choose from, you can expand your CrazyTalk Animator 2 content library through the Reallusion Content Store and Market Place. Here you'll find content packs, characters, props and other items created both by Reallusion and members of the CrazyTalk Animator Community.

As a first Content Store purchase I recommend G2 Power Tools Packs Volume 1 and Volume 2 which are optimised for business animations and presentations but will also give you plenty of content for a wide variety of productions.

Everything available for purchase can be used, royalty free, in any kind of project, commercial or otherwise.

G2 Power Tools Volume 2.

Conclusion

CrazyTalk Animator 2 is worth considering if you're finding GoAnimate too limiting. It's relatively easy to learn, includes plenty of content to get you started and its multi-dimensional avatars present almost unlimited possibilities in realising your animated vision.

No monthly fees and royalty free content makes it a great solution for creating business explainer or training videos. If that sounds like something you're interested in then visit Reallusion's business product page to learn more.

If you see yourself as someone who has a wider, more general interest in animation with a vision for creating animated web shorts - or even animation for TV - then visit Reallusion's Product page for Animation Professionals.

- Post supported by Reallusion Inc.

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