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Hands-On Review: CrazyTalk 3.0

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Reallusion Inc., (408) 350-1693, www.reallusion.com

Reallusion's CrazyTalk 3.0 ($49.95) is one of the most innovative and entertaining photo-editing programs to date. It allows students to animate photos of their classmates, friends, animals or even historical figures.

CrazyTalk uses simple tools to turn any photograph of a person or animal into a living, talking being. The easy-to-use interface gives even young users the freedom to get started quickly. Once a photograph has been "morphed" into the system, the possibilities are endless. Several computer-generated voices are available for modification, or the user can record his or her own voice into the program. From there, users can type anything into the text box and the CrazyTalk image will recite the text word for word. Facial expressions and 16 different emotions can also be programmed into the speech with the click of a button.

In addition, a sampling of historical figures' photos comes with the program, so teachers can easily integrate this program into history lessons by having students animate photos or paintings. You can also purchase add-on ImagePacks for $14.95 each in areas such as literature, math and science, and paintings and artwork. Each ImagePack comes with 30 pre-fitted models ready to animate. Another advantage of the program is its ability to allow users to create CrazyTalk cards and instant messages. The company also offers a CrazyTalk Web Edition ($79.95), which lets you add interactive "virtual hosts" to your Web pages.

- Shay McKinley

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2003 issue of THE Journal.

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