While searching for some information at work, I came across a really neat Web 2.0 application called Gizmoz. Gizmoz allows you to create 3-D animated, talking characters for use on your Web site, in your blog, in your e-mail, for your own amusement, etc.
First off, you will need a good picture of yourself (or whomever you want to animate). The pic needs to be a clean, close-up of the subject’s face.
Once you’ve got that, you simply head on over to Gizmoz.com and sign up for a free account. When you sign-up, you’ll be automatically given a handful of “points” (when I signed up, they gave me 500 – I don’t know how long that particular promotion lasts). Those points can be used to add a little extra pizazz to your character. You don’t need points, though, as you can do a lot without them.
What can you do?
Once you generate your “Gizmo” (or character), you can then use it in all kinds of great ways. You can create an answering machine (great for you people that do a lot of social networking online), you can create a Flash movie, you can make an animated sticker (which is what I’ve done above), you can download the clip as a WMV video, etc.
You get to choose from all kinds of different backgrounds, accessories, body types, and so much more.
Make it talk
Now that you’ve got a character, you obviously want it to say something. Well, with Gizmoz you’ve got three options. You can use their text-to-speech converter (which is what I’ve done in the sticker above), you can record your voice, you can upload your own audio clip or you can use a pre-recorded audio clip already available on the site (which is what I’ve done with the clip below).
The engine that generates the characters is really quite amazing. All you do is pick a close-up shot of your face, upload it to the Gizmoz Web site, and the animation engine automatically detects your ears, eyes, nose, mouth and other facial features. Then, the picture is morphed into a three-dimensional animated character’s head. It really is pretty wild.
The really amazing part is, no matter what kind of background you have in the picture, the engine does a pretty nice job of cleaning it up and picking out just the face. I realize that it’s not perfect, but I’ve seen pictures edited by professional graphic designers that have halos worse than what you get out of this automated engine (which doesn’t say much for the graphic designer, but that’s beside the point).
Basically, Gizmoz is a clone of SitePals, with a heavy slant toward the social networking crowd. It’s fun and the character creation is very impressive. Best of all, it’s completely free to play with all of it, which is more than I can say for SitePals.
I’m not sure how long Gizmoz has been around, but it seems to be in the “public beta” stages at the moment. It’s a lot of fun to play with, and you can come up with some really creative looking characters.
Be sure to check it out and make yourself a character. If you get a good one, share it with us here at HTMLCenter.
Just for fun, here’s a clip I made out of the same character:
My Answering Machine
While you’re checking everything out, go ahead and leave me a message on my personalized answering machine.