Mini-Tutorial: Turn Real Person In To DAZ Animation

jake_fjake_f Posts: 144

Hello DazGods,

This is a mini-tutorial which suggests a method for turning a photo of a real person in to a 3D character in a video.  I'm sure this isn't the only way to do this so feel free to suggest alternative methods, I'll be all ears.

The method I'll describe requires 3 softwares.

1) DAZ (free)
2) CrazyTalk ($30)
3) Hitfilm Express (free)

If you've never used any of these apps, the learning curve for this tutorial can be very ballpark estimated as follows.  Your mileage may vary considerably depending upon your skill level.

1) DAZ = a week for very basic animation.
2) CrazyTalk = a week to learn enough to do this.
3) Hitfilm Express = a month at least if starting from scratch.

This post won't provide detailed instructions for every step, but is instead a general overview offered to inspire your own investigations.   Here's what I do...

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1) Animate a character in DAZ.  The only limitation here is that your character should be squarely facing the camera throughout the animation.

You can render your animation in iRay, or do what lazy people like me do, simply screen record the Viewport in DAZ.  :-)  However you export, the end product should be a video.

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2) Import a headshot in to CrazyTalk, animate the face, and add a voice track if desired.

If you aren't familiar with CrazyTalk these tutorials can provide an introduction:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNV5zSFadPdlt8f3Oht6MnAjYwoKTZG-A

Quick summary, if you are comfortable in DAZ you will have no problem with CrazyTalk.  Depending on your skill level I'd guess it would take one day to a week to learn CrazyTalk sufficiently to accomplish what is needed for this tutorial.

I'm using 2D heads exported out of CrazyTalk, which is why I suggested that your DAZ character should always be facing the camera.  If you're more skilled than I am you may be able to overcome this limitation.

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3) Import your DAZ video and CrazyTalk head video in to Hitfilm, or most any other video editor which can work with layers.

- Put the CrazyTalk video on a layer above your DAZ video.

- Mask the CrazyTalk video to remove any unwanted areas.

- Track the eyes in the DAZ video to create a motion track that your CrazyTalk video can follow.  Thus, the real person's face will pan and zoom appropriately in proportion to your DAZ animation.

Those of you who are already comfortable with some video editor will probably find this a relatively simple task. If you aren't already familiar with some video editor this won't be a trivial job.  

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Again, this is just one way to attach a real person's face to your DAZ animation.  There are most likely other and probably better ways to do this.  If you know such better ways, please share!

My skill level is that I'm very familiar with CrazyTalk, am comfortable with basic operations of the free version of Hitfilm, and have only been using DAZ a few days.  I'm getting some fairly decent end products of real person => DAZ animation.  Hardly award winning, but fun enough to keep me learning.

Comments

  • jake_fjake_f Posts: 144

    Ha, ha!  So about hour after posting this I learned about Headshop.  Duh.......!  

    Looking forward to upgrading my primitive method above.  

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