Today we’re going to be looking at a platform called Synthesia that lets you create videos with very realistic looking avatars. We’ll also answer the question: are human beings obsolete?
I’m going to show you the features of Synthesia and we’re going to decide together, is this cool? Or is it kind of creepy? Synthesia, like I said is a platform that lets you create an avatar, and have it say whatever it is you want and incorporate it into a video. You will see that there are a lot of avatars that are based on real people that they shot. I don’t know what kind of magic they do but you can make these people say pretty much whatever you want using Artificial Intelligence, or AI, voices. You can’t change what the person is wearing, or the color of their shirt, or their hairstyle, or anything. Because again these are based on real people.
Getting started in Synthesia
The program presents you with a vast array of templates to choose from. If you’re on the personal use version of Synthesia it’s only six slides at a time. You can replace your avatar, modify its position and even manipulate its scaling. You can even change the color of the background of that circle. Despite limiting you to six slides you get free range of the AI’s capabilities, allowing it to speak on one slide and stay silent on another. In order to make your avatar talk you’d have to create a script for the AI. Once that’s finished you’d actually have to generate the video and Synthesia would have to process it before it could show you how your avatar looks.
When you’re creating a video from scratch you can upload your own content as well as record your own screen, or upload your own background. There’s also a very small music library included in Synthesia with songs that are pre-licensed for you.
Looking deeper into Synthesia
Everything looks super realistic except for the mouth. The mouth doesn’t quite sync with what she’s saying and then the other funny thing that happens is this weird swallow she makes at the end. There’s no way in Synthesia to trim that out, it’s definitely something that I think if I wasn’t expecting to see an avatar in a video on someone’s website, or on YouTube, I would definitely take a second look.
Synthesia is constantly improving this technology so there is always something new that they’re developing. It’s in beta right now but Synthesia has made avatars loop from scene to scene. What that means is that when they’re finished talking their head will be in the exact same position it started in your scene, so that the scenes will be seamless and the avatar won’t jump. Synthesia is working to develop this emerging technology and make these avatars more and more realistic. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, it’s a little scary, but it’s also a little cool.
Extra Features in Synthesia
What if you wanted to be an avatar yourself? What if you wanted your face and your voice but you didn’t want to have to set up the camera and lights and do your hair and pick out an outfit every single time? Synthesia does offer a service where they allow you to create your own avatar and even incorporate your own voice in the menu of voices just on your own personal account. They don’t share your avatar with other people and they say that no one else will ever have access to it. In fact they have a whole page on their website where they talk about their commitment to the ethical use of this kind of technology, but it’s actually really expensive.
Final thoughts on Synthesia
So what do I think of Synthesia? I think this technology has a little bit of a way to go but it’s definitely getting pretty interesting and something to keep an eye on. Like I said, I definitely think there’s a little bit of a disconnect between what the avatar’s mouth is doing and the words that they’re saying. It looks a little bit out of sync and I think that these avatars are super realistic looking but I don’t think most people would be fooled for more than a few seconds. so I don’t think you’re going to be able to totally convince anyone that these are real people but maybe that’s kind of the appeal of it.
If you are interested in this platform, check it out here: https://www.synthesia.io/?via=jenn
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