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Talking Avatars: Learning How to Create Them

This grandma decided to try something new. I am creating talking avatars for videos. I’ve always wanted to create videos but was never a fan of having my face in front of the camera. Despite the current age of selfies and self-promotion, not wanting to be in front of the camera is not uncommon. There are a host of YouTube videos created by folks like me who do not wish to be in the forefront and use talking avatars instead.

So, to facilitate my video creation journey, I’m learning all about talking avatars (and learning quite a bit about artificial intelligence too). I find this to be very interesting and a little scary.Cartoonized Grandma

Going Down the Avatar Rabbit Hole

After discovering talking avatars, I immediately went down a rabbit hole. While taking the trip down the various rabbit hole turns, I figured it would be best to document my journey. Not documenting it increases the likelihood that I’ll forget, as some grandmas do. I’d rather not have to make a second trip down the very same rabbit hole to help me remember what I did a month or two ago.

The first step down the rabbit hole involved watching YouTube videos. Because the concept was so new to me, it took several videos before I could wrap my brain around the process. Each video used different tools to accomplish the task, so I had to ignore the tools and concentrate on the process. Here is one of the videos I watched to learn about talking avatars.

Talking Avatars the Creation Process

After looking at several videos, I boiled the process down to the following steps:

  • Create an avatar. In theory, creating an avatar is simple. However, in practice, it is not as simple as it sounds. The difficulty depends on the ability to express your idea to a computer to have it generate the image you’re imagining in your mind. This step alone can be the topic of an entire post/video. It’s too early in my journey to offer any sound advice on this step. I’ll come back to it at a later date. In the meantime, I used ChatGPT and Bing/Copilot Designer to create the avatar. I liked Bing better.
  • Find an application that will make the avatar talk. There are a host of apps and online sites that can make an avatar talk. In my case, I decided to use D-ID.com. Why? Because they offer a free 14-day trial. Fourteen days is enough time to get a rudimentary feel for how things work.
  • Find the right voice for the avatar. Most of the apps that generate avatars have a library of voices to use with the avatar. So far, I haven’t found a voice that sits well with me. This grandma’s voice has years of experience in it. Too many of the app voices were not only too young but too high-pitched and perky. The lack of grandma voice options will eventually force me to use my own voice. I can record audio directly into the app or record an audio file and upload it.
  • Putting it all together. The last step is creating a video in the proper format. The video format differs depending on the video’s final destination. I used Canva to tie it all together. It’s an excellent tool for adjusting the video size for the right destination. Additionally, with Canva, I can change backgrounds, add text and cool effects. I’m still getting familiar with Canva. Canva is so feature-rich that it will take some time to learn the ropes.

Each of the four items I listed above deserves its own discussion, but for now, this grandma had to jot the notes down before she forgot (It’s interesting how I sometimes refer to myself in the third person. What’s up with that?).

Here is my first attempt at making a talking avatar video. The good thing about this is that I can only go up from here. It can’t get much worse.

About the Author: Felicia (aka Low Tech Grandma) is a wife, mother, grandmother, writer and low-tech blogger.

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