CrazyTalk 7 brought easy animation to the desktop. Its mobile app brings it to your fingertips, says Hugh John
CrazyTalk App'CrazyTalk' App: remarkable lip-syncingAnyone familiar with the full CrazyTalk 7 animation software program will know what a powerful, creative and, above all, fun tool it is, managing to make animation seem a relatively simple and easy process.

Reallusion Inc, the publisher, has managed to transfer these remarkable lip-syncing techniques into a free CrazyTalk app for Apple mobile devices. This time round however, gestures are added by using finger and hand gestures made possible by touch-screen technology.

There are nine animated characters. My favourites are grumpy old Doctor Finnegan, Ham the Monkey (see video below) and Frank the Cat. A further six characters are available, but I didn’t see them in performance as it costs 69p to unlock them from the CrazyTalk website. Sounds a bit like puppet slavery to me but that’s another story.

The lip-syncing is taken care of by Reallusion; all the user has to concentrate on is post-production animation. Record your speech – 30 seconds maximum – and then get to work. For example, pinch your two fingers together on the screen to make the character blink; move your device from side to side to make it shake it’s head; touch any part of the screen and the eyes will move towards it; give the device a good shaking and the puppet will move up and down; trace your finger around the screen and the puppet’s eyes will follow. Touching, eh?

The app is free but to use six of the nine characters on show costs an additional 69p for each one. You also pay another small sum to add a recording function. This saves the file and allows it to be shared to Camera Roll (for iDevices) Facebook, YouTube or, more likely, email. Just enter the recipient’s name, press 'enter' and off it goes. Simple.

It’s a very minor quibble but 30 seconds of audio recording is a surprisingly small amount of time. The accompanying video sample, for example, was two small text paragraphs spoken quickly and that came in at 29 tightly edited seconds. This is such an enjoyable app that users would surely be quite happy to stump up more cash for more recording time. Perhaps Reallusion thinks that if that’s what they want they should consider the full CrazyTalk 7 program. But you need a computer (PC or Mac) for that (if you already have CrazyTalk 7 you can use it to create 'actors' for your mobile app).

Ratings (out of 5)
Fitness for purpose  5
Ease of use             5
Features                  4
Quality                     4
Value for Money      5 (from free)

CrazyTalk app
Simple animation app for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, controlled by voice and touch. Available free from iTunes App Store but with paid-for (69p) add-ons for more functions. (See Reallusion's YouTube demo below).
www.reallusion.com
Reallusion online education store