The Puppeteering Panel Explained in CrazyTalk 5.1 Pro

Use the Puppeteering Panel to perfect your 2D and 3D facial animation for both CrazyTalk and iClone

Use the Puppeteering Panel to perfect your 2D and 3D facial animation for both CrazyTalk and iClone

Hello CrazyTalkers, todays tip focuses on a feature in CrazyTalk Pro known as the Puppeteering Panel. The addition of this feature to CrazyTalk 5.0 was a God-send for animators everywhere 2D and 3D alike, Why? Because the Puppeteering Panel literally allows users to gain control over every facial feature, or muscle if you will, and animate them in the same way you would animate a puppet. For example, you can select just the eyes and click to blink, or grab, click and drag the brows to scowl or lift the eyebrows, or of course, click and drag the Jaw to open and shut the mouth. You get the idea, but for perfecting facial animation for either your 2D CrazyTalk models or for your 3D iClone avatars, mastering the Puppeteering Panel is a must. But don’t worry, it’s really a lot less complicated than it appears to be. The other aspect that lends the Puppeteering Panel a great deal of power when perfecting your facial animation is the fact that CrazyTalk allows you to make as many animation passes or recordings as you like will getting your lip-sync and emotion juussst right. So imagine this, you simply focus on individual areas one at a time to get each facial feature animated exactly the way you wish for your character to emote. Reallusion encourages the use of the Puppeteering Panel so much in fact, that when you click on the Timeline Tab it will automatically open the panel ready for you to use, this tip will explain how to open and edit a few features and their range of animation, while all the time creating and refining your final lip-sync output. Follow the steps below to become more familiar with the Puppeteering Panel or watch the high-speed video.

  • Load a Model in CrazyTalk
  • Select the Script button
  • Click the Timeline Tab
  • Place an Audio Track onto the Timeline either by recording or importing
  • The Puppeteering Panel should already be active, but if not, click the Puppeteering button
  • Click a Facial Feature you wish to begin editing
  • Select the Preview button to see how the feature will be affected before recording
  • Strike the Spacebar to begin the preview
  • During the preview Click and Drag to animate the feature
  • Strike the Spacebar to end the preview
  • If the animation range is to high click the Edit Property button, for example if the Jaw is the feature you have selected and the mouth opens wider than you would like then use Edit Property to solve that
  • Input a new higher or lower Value to edit the range of the facial feature, then close the window
  • Click the Record button to create an animation pass for that feature
  • Strike the Spacebar to begin recording
  • While recording Click and Drag to animate the feature once again in relation to the wav file
  • Strike the Spacebar again to end the recording
  • Click the Clear Selection button to deactivate the feature
  • Click the next facial feature or features you wish to edit
  • Repeat the recording process and make multiple passes if you like, just use Hotkey: Ctrl + Z to undo the recording after striking Spacebar to end the pass
  • Use the Puppet Profile to quickly select multiple areas to edit at once
  • Click on a Full Face Controller to edit facial and Head Orientation as well
  • Again, Repeat the recording process and make multiple passes if you like
  • Click on either the Head Movement or Camera Movement tools to create animation passes of head movement as well, Note* these movements will not apply to iClone avatar facial animation
  • Right Click the Timeline data
  • Choose Ungroup to edit motion clips on the Timeline after making passes
  • Click and Drag a selection around areas you may wish to save as individual Motion Clips that can later be applied to other models
  • Click the Add button under the Custom Script Tab
  • Name and Save your CTS file
  • Select the Output button
  • Choose your Media Type
  • Click the Export button from the bottom to render your animation

The Puppeteering Panel in CrazyTalk 5.1 Pro is the gateway to great facial animation output in both CrazyTalk and iClone. It should be viewed as the not-so-secret weapon in your facial animation arsenal. There is a CrazyTalk artist out there that I read quoted as saying that, “Sure, you can animate something in 30 seconds with CrazyTalk, but if you spend 2 days refining the animation then it will be perfect.” I thought about that as a Pro CT user, and that guy was spot on. No matter how high you consider your skill level of being in relation to CrazyTalk, the Puppeteering Panel will always help to make your lip-sync and emotion that much better with every additional second you choose to put into your animation. Don’t be hasty, take time and get it right the first time through. Any other notion is well…crazy talk. Below is a high-speed video example of the Puppeteering Panel in action, making multiple animation passes, refining them, saving a custom motion clip and rendering a puppeteered CrazyTalk animation. Now that’s a mouthful. Almost forgot, I use Daz 3D’s Victoria Model in this showcase and there’s also a little something in there for you Leonard Cohen heads by way of Concrete Blonde, you can thank Christian  Slater for it. Enjoy!


6 Responses to “The Puppeteering Panel Explained in CrazyTalk 5.1 Pro”

  1. September 26, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    I agree with you that CT5 is simply amazing, and I enjoy your tutorials esp your taste in music. CT5 is great, I’m new to all these and I manage to puppeteer to produce fun results in a few hours. But I didn’t buy the whole pro package for CT5. I want to refine new actors faces and lipsync, NOT on Marilyn and puppy. How do I launch my own new head/avatar into CT5 from inside iClone3/facial animation. It’s impossible to tweak CT5 default head’s faces to fit my Mafia boss’s super lips and edited cheekbone… Help!

  2. September 29, 2008 at 5:24 am

    Thanks for taking an interest in iClone and CrazyTalk Certified Training, and, much thanks for the sweet comment regarding my music selections, I try to keep it fresh and interesting for my readers. I’m not sure if you caught the last CrazyTalk Tip O’ the Day, but be sure to give it a quick read. It answers your questions in the first 10 steps so you can quickly get an accurate representation of your avatar into CrazyTalk and begin to refine and perfect your facial animation. Then simply save as a CTS file and return to iClone, select the Animation – Facial Animation – Custom Tab and apply to your Mob Boss. Using this method, and putting in some time to get it right is all it takes and I’ll guarantee your lip-sync problems will be sleepin’ with tha fishes SEE! Sorry I got back to ya’ a little late, hope this helps. Thanks again for your time.

  3. October 1, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you very much for your reply! I shall now go check out that CT Tip. I watched every single of your videos here and I like your teaching style even if some are so fast lol. Keep up your wonderful job & Cheers!

  4. October 1, 2008 at 7:52 pm


    No problem, it’s my pleasure, I will try to slow it down a tad for everyone, I have been accused before of working in Light-speed. iClone is kinda like a really fast muscle car, your doin’ 80mph before you even look down. Thanks again for the comment and always let me know if you have any questions.

  5. 5 samantha
    March 23, 2009 at 10:40 am

    hi there
    can i upload my own photos to play with?


    • March 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm

      Hey Samantha,

      Absolutely, that is what CrazyTalk is totally for, your photos! You will love making your friends say funny things or watching your pets sing Happy Birthday to you. CrazyTalk has endless options when it comes to animating your photos with high-quality facial animation. Add emotion, graphics, movement and much more. If you get into it and have more questions please find me here at iClone and CrazyTalk Certified Training anytime. Thanks again.

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