Benoît Morel is the co-founder and CEO of Cantoche that is located in France and in the USA. Following his career as Sound Engineer and Producer at Radio France, Benoît worked in the video game industry for 10 years producing CGI animation across a variety of formats – notably video games, interactive shows, internet websites, and particularly, character animation. Benoît has published several articles and has contributed a chapter to the book Agent Culture published by Lawrence Elbraum in 2004. Benoît consults multi-national organizations, companies, research institutes, and universities on Embodied Agent design and deployment.
In this conversation, Benoît discusses Cantoche’s Living Actor product, and how it can be used for PowerPoint presentations.
Geetesh: What is Living Actor, and how can PowerPoint presentations be equipped with the capabilities of this product.
Benoît: Living Actor™ is a suite of products that allow users – training and communication managers, webmasters, creative people, and students – to select and direct a 3D full body avatar without any animation expertise and to embed the resulting animation in any PC or mobile application. Living Actor™ is based on a Speech-to-Animation patented technology which creates adapted head and body gestures and not just a phoneme-to-animation approach that only synchronizes the avatar’s lips. This technology analyzes users’ speech and visualizes it by providing the avatar with unparalleled automatic behavioral and expressive abilities that enable it to establish a high-quality mode of non-verbal communication with users that is essential to the communication effectiveness.
In October 2010, we added to the Living Actor™ suite a rapid learning product called Living Actor™ Presenter. Living Actor™ Presenter is a 100% online SaaS (Software as a Service) service that generates avatar video animations. It takes just a minute to arrange what your avatar will say by typing text or uploading your own audio file and saving your video. Our Living Actor™ technology does the rest by synchronizing lips, gestures, and full body behaviors. Living Actor™ Presenter offers also powerful and innovative features to allow you to produce your virtual presenters. Many options will give you the ideal toolkit to become fully autonomous such as a large gallery of avatars and background! Watch this video that shows how it works.
Once you’re happy, you can download the video and import the video into your PowerPoint presentations as you do by importing a video.
Living Actor™ Presenter comes with very high-quality avatars. Whether your communication and training content targets national or international audiences, youth, seniors, or a variety of professions, the Avatar Gallery will offer you a wide range of styles and options. If you can’t find the ideal avatar, feel free to VOTE! Every month the gallery will display new avatars based on users’ requests! Since the creation of the company, we have created more than 600 customized avatars for international companies. We have a strong experience working for Warner Bros (Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck avatars), Michelin (with the famous Michelin Man), Microsoft (we created the Question Mark avatar installed on Windows XP).
Geetesh: What are the benefits of using Living Actor, and how much does it cost?
Benoît: A Living Actor Presenter enhances the effectiveness of your PowerPoint presentation. An Avatar integrated into the user interface creates in the user the illusion to be interacting with the system as if he were communicating with a real person. (Ortiz, 2006). An Avatar uses its graphical representation and also non-verbal communication as postures, facial expressions, gesticulation, mobility, voice to interact with user especially if the user is alone in front of the PowerPoint presentation. This will create an effective link and maintain user’s attention.
You can “humanize” a presentation with a real person but avatars have much more advantages such as their disponibility (24/7), the possibility to update whenever you want and above all the attraction to the young generation.
Everybody thinks that 3D high-quality avatars are very expensive. This cutting-edge solution will allow you to dramatically improve the quality and interactivity of your presentations for a very low price! With Living Actor™ Presenter, you subscribe to an “all in one” service and only pay for the videos you save. The first account allows you to create 20 Videos for only $99.00. The more you want to create videos, the lower the video price is. A 20-second video ranges between $2.85 to $9.95 depending on the number of videos and avatars you need.