Portraits

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From a drawing or 3 dimensional model students at Trafalgar Primary School have created an animated talking
character. What next?

Technology is rapidly taking over all aspects of our world and is becoming an integral part of education, with the
artroom being no exception.

Trafalgar Primary, a school of approximately 328 students situated in West Gippsland, Victoria is embracing these
changes in technology and using it to engage and further complement students’ work in all areas of the
curriculum including the creative and visual arts.

In Term 2, 2010 Grade 3 and 4 students at Trafalgar Primary School began a unit on portraiture based on an
activity featured in the 2009 Zart catalogue.

This activity was adapted by the school and students were asked to create a 2D / 3D mixed media portrait of
someone important to them and respond to their work in the form of a short digital presentation using a digital
facial animation program called CrazyTalk6.  During the unit students created their pieces of works and were
taken through the stages of CrazyTalk.

CrazyTalk is a program purchased by Trafalgar Primary School after being trialled by myself and other teachers in
the Creative Arts department who thought this program would be a useful and effective addition to help engage and
encourage students to respond to their art and to incorporate their increasing knowledge of technology into the
artroom. 

CrazyTalk is a facial animation program which when used with a digital image of any form of portrait can be used
to create a talking portrait with full facial expression similar to those seen in the Harry Potter movies.

CrazyTalk gives the students the ability to create scripts, record their own voice or type a text directly into
the program, which is then transformed into spoken audio using CrazyTalk's Text-to-Speech voice analysis
technology.

This program identifies and pinpoints the main features of the face used to express emotion, e.g. eyes, eyebrows
and mouth and syncs the student’s voice with the movement of the face to create a fully animated presentation.
It also allows a student to set emotions for their portrait subjects and gives them the option of additional features
such as preset teeth, lips, eyes, music and accessories.

As well as using digital technology to engage the students more in the artroom I have found it to be an effective
way of recording and assessing student learning as it also incorporates both standards of VELS with an emphasis on
Exploring and Responding.

All year levels at Trafalgar Primary have had an opportunity to play with and explore this program during our
Education Week Night School program and have enjoyed seeing how the program works and the variety of things they can
do to their art. Using this program within the artroom has not only shown increased engagement in responding to art
but has also allowed students to expand both their creativity and imagination in art beyond the traditional
boundaries of the artroom. The incorporation of this technology has been well received by all students and staff in
the 3/4 Unit and is currently being extended to other year levels within the school.

Since the completion of this project back in Term 2 the original artworks and videos have made for an impressive
display in the school foyer, showing the transformation from 2D/3D portraits on one wall into fully animated
characters on another.
A free trial version of CrayTalk6 is available for download online from the CrazyTalk
website. http://crazytalk.en.softonic.com

Amy Mether
Art Teacher
Trafalgar Primary School
Suitable for Levels 3 & 4