Creating Avatar from Camtasia Screen recording

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  • Updated 1 year ago
I am using Camtasia 8 to create software manuals.

For that, I make a lot of screen recordings to explain details of the software.

I have converted my own voice data into textual data and used that to be read by a professional narrator to replace my own voice. (all this for the price of 12 dollars)

Additionally, I played around with Voki to create an avatar to read out this textual data.

All this would add a very professional flavor to my screen recording: 
 1)  Using edited text to read,
 2)  a professional reader and
 3) an avatar added to the screen recording of Camtasia.

Any suggestions on how you would advise me to do this?

Or is this feature already included in the later versions of Camtasia?

Thanks for the feedback,


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Chris Verheul

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Posted 2 years ago

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Bern Shanfield

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Hey Chris,

I'm thinking the same about using a text generated animated avatar instead of recording my face mainly for the ability to set and edit dialog that matches the screen recording AND to bypass the need to do the video setup needed for professional looking video AND to not need to put on a performance to get my tutorials online. Maybe a more extroverted person might enjoy that but to me it's a real chore. 

Of course I could forgo the video and just have a narration walking folks through the tutorial but that misses the real interest, familiarity, and focus a face provides.

I've recently looked at current online and app based avatar creation options and nothing looks all that good or at least has a reasonable cost. 

Given there hasn't been a response here and I don't see a way of merging a separate avatar video with a screen recording short of creating a gruesomely uneditable and complex Final Cut project, I'm guess this idea is going nowhere until there is considerable more interest/demand by the user base for what would be a sizable investment and project for TechSmith.

Too bad as a built in avatar reader would make Camtasia far more accessible to great number of people who likewise aren't interested in doing camera work for whatever reason and could have TechSmith take the lead in creating a new format standard for educational presentations. ;)

A built in text generated Memoji would be awesome option! It would bring truly unprecedented control to content creation to the masses. The tech is available. Now for someone to take the lead...
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Joe Morgan

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Hello there,

creating talking avatars is a specialized field. The technology behind it is unique, that’s why everybody isn’t into it.

RealIllusion is a company that’s deeply immersed in the technology. Crazy talk 8 is a pretty nice program for creating them. Crazy talk 9 may be around the corner. A new major release of the program is about due.

There is a learning curve to the program. The company has a lot of online YouTube tutorials. The learning curve is not that steep. In my opinion.

You can create avatars in several video dimensions. And chose or import different backgrounds. In the video below. I created it at 1280 by 720 for demonstration purposes.

I don’t care much for the stock cartoon avatars, like the first one demonstrated. But it’s one of the free ones that came with the program.

I prefer the 3D style ones that I demonstrate second.

I’ll let the video do the rest of my talking.

Regards, Joe

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Joe Morgan

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I had to re-upload the video and post it here. I accidentally included the software key in my screenshot of Crazy Talk 8. YouTube's blur feature kept Returning errors and wouldn't let me blur out the key.

So I re-edited it in Premier Pro and uploaded afresh video. I really didn't see any other option. Sorry about that.
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Bern Shanfield

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Hey Joe, Thank you for generously taking the time to reply and with a demo! This looks workable.

How do you (can you?) merge and sync a video like this into a Camtasia created screen recording?

Also, are you saying that if you buy Crazy Talk Animator 3 (CTA3) to get the better looking less cartoonish head, that CTA3 does this without needing Crazy Talk 8 Pro (CT8P)? They're have a nice end of year sale.

While CT8P looks adequate, the upcoming CTA4 with Webcam Facial Motion Capture and Real-time Lip Sync looks interesting but maybe that's overly complex for just getting a realistic 3D talking head to narrate screencasts or might that be easier than building it from scratch in CT8P or the current CTA3? But then how would you edit a Real-time motion capture? Your thoughts?

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Joe Morgan

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Sorry for any confusion Bern,

that was kind of a hastily thrown together video. I was using Crazy Talk Animator Pro in the video. You don’t need Crazy Talk Animator 3.

I recommend the Pro version of crazy talk. There’s a cheaper version. But it’s a highly stripped-down version of the program. You have very little control over the actors movements and facial expressions. And cannot change anything beyond the basics. Meaning what you see is what you get, you cannot go into the timeline and alter things at different points in the video, it’s all automated and applied throughout the video. They allow you to set parameters initially. So that your character isn’t flopping around like a fish, so to speak. I’ve never actually used that version. But I have read feature/version comparisons on the website. While I cannot guarantee my assessment is 100 percent accurate. I’m comfortable with what I’m addressing.

The default motion of the characters is overly exaggerated. It may look okay to some people? But it’s too much for an avatar. It’s fairly simple to tone these actions down. However, I like to tone down the shoulder movements and the head turning movements more than the facial features.

With the Pro version you have the ability to limit the movement of each individual muscle, control eye-movement, you can make a character wink and nod its head if you wanted it to. Then, you can even save the wink to your content manager as a custom motion. Applying it to other characters. If the character is doing something you don’t want it to at any given point. You can get in there and alter that behavior. I’m not saying you have to do any of this. But I am suggesting you want to have control over these things. It really rounds out the package.

Plus, if you want to have some fun and make your pet talk. Or use a photo image and make it talk. You need crazy talk Pro do that.

Crazy Talk Pipeline. This version integrates with iclone 7. In iclone 7 you can create your own character heads from scratch. Import them into Crazy Talk. This is a whole new level of character creation. Plus, you need iclone 7 which is an entirely different piece of software. Unless you were corroborating with somebody that was supplying heads for you. There may be a community out there that shares models? I’ve searched in the past and have never been able to find one. Thinking if I found one, I would consider upgrading to pipeline. Since then, I haven’t utilized all the heads I have. I lean toward animating images.

I just happened to receive 10 iclone created 3D heads as a bonus along with Crazy Talk Pro 8 when I purchased Crazy Talk Animator 3. It was a year end special purchase deal as well. Plus, I was upgrading from Crazy Talk Animator 2. That was my actual motivation.

So I fired up Crazy Talk 8 just now. It comes with 3 male 3D heads and 1 female. That may be enough for you already.I didn't put hair or clothing on them.But there shown below.

 You can check the realillusion content store for more heads. I looked myself but they’re only offer is 100 iclone heads for $100 right now. That seems like overkill to me. Who needs 100 avatars?

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Bern Shanfield

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Hey Joe, no issues, you are giving me much and I'm just getting up to speed with the offerings. :)

Have you merged these talking aviators into a Camtasia screencast?

Comparing features at the "Edition Comparison" here: it looks like the only difference between PRO and Pipleline is the Export to iClone 6 which I don't need as I'll likely settle on one Aviator and just use it going forward.

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Joe Morgan

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I’ve never actually done it using Crazy Talk.

I have done it using Crazy Talk Animator 3, and the procedure would be roughly the same.

If you create your narration in Camtasia. You would want to export that out of Camtasia as a wave file. Then you would apply that voice to your avatar in Crazy Talk.

This applies auto motion to your avatar that you can tailor to your liking. Or you can choose to have no auto motion applied. And have only the lip motion applied. And create all the motions yourself.

Then when you’re done creating/tailoring your animation. You can export it as a video file. Import it into Camtasia and overlay it as a picture-in-picture effect. The same way you would insert WebCam footage.

However, if you want to insert an avatar with no background. You have to export it as a PNG sequence. This requires jumping through additional hoops that I won’t go into at this time. I believe you would want a background to help the avatar stand out from the video. If that’s not the case, I can tell you what’s necessary to make a PNG sequence work.

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Rick Stone

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Curious if the Adobe Character Animator would compare with CrazyTalk?
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Joe Morgan

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Adobe's Character Animator is about the same as Crazy Talk Animator 3.

I think they released it as direct competition to realillusion in mind. I've played around with it as comes packaged with After Effects. The facial movements are mapped to your face through your WebCam.

However this is nothing like Crazy Talk.
If you want to create your own characters for character animator you have to do it through Photoshop. It's a very complex process and is designed to create cartoonlike characters not realistic people.