In this post I describe how to make AI avatar videos for adverts, marketing, education, training, or just for your own amusement. Although these videos can be used for all kinds of purposes, it can be frustrating trying to find a clear description of how to make one. What follows is a step by step description using three tools; ChatGTP, Pictory, and HayGen.
As you will discover, there are various ways of doing this. For example, you can do it with ChatpGPT and HayGen, or just HayGen on its own, but I’ll describe the whole process so that you’re aware of all the options and the variations they provide.
How to Make AI Avatar Videos
Perhaps you just haven’t got the time nor the patience to wade through all the video guides and help sections, trying to figure out how to do exactly what you want with each tool. So I’m going to show you here and now, step by step.
Before we continue, you’re invited to download my free list of AI tools. I update this list as I find new tools and then send out the updated list every few weeks. From content writing and SEO to email marketing, this list of tools is the resource you didn’t know you needed. Browse through the list of tools and choose any that catch your eye. Then register to take advantage of any free trials.
Write Your Video Script
Right, on with the main reason you’re here. The process is in three stages using three tools; ChatGPT, Pictory, and Heygen.
The first thing you need to do is create a script for your video. Think about your audience and the main message that you want to communicate. We’re going to be creating a short video, of under 60 seconds in this example, so keep it very brief.
I don’t want to spend time in this post teaching you how to write prompts for ChatGPT. I’m going to assume you already know how to do that, but if you do want advice on that subject, YouTube is your friend.
Let’s assume that you have used ChatGPT to create your script and you now have about 140 words or perhaps a few more for your 60 second video. It needs to be in plain text, properly punctuated, grammatically correct.
Creating the background using Pictory
The second step is to use Pictory to create the background of the video.
You don’t have to do this because HeyGen has a lot of backgrounds in its repository, but Pictory gives you more control over the choice of backgrounds, and it’s a great tool for creating videos with AI voices or voiceovers of your own. So you can use the instructions below for generating videos in Pictory, without AI avatars.
If you’ve never used Pictory before, here’s a link to a free trial. Register to use it and follow me through on this video.
- Once you’ve got the Pictory dashboard open, click the Proceed button on the Script to Video icon in pink on the far left.
- On the screen that follows, type in a name for your video. It doesn’t need to be long as this will only be used for the finished video filename.
- In the main box beneath, paste in your text script.
- Next, separate each line out so that you can see each sentence clearly.
- Select any words or phrases in the script that you want to highlight and click the highlight button on the left.
- When you’ve finished with that, click the Proceed button in the top right area.
- On the next screen you’ll be able to select a text style and a format for the video.
- For example, click on the Professional one on the right once.
- The screen will change to the aspect ratio choices.
- As we’re going ot make TikTok video, click the 9:16 one in the centre.
- Now, wait a few minutes while the AI does its work.
The AI is now scanning your script and trying to find suitable video clips that match the words and meaning in each sentence. Once the process is complete you’ll be presented with the next dashboard area, with the draft video on the right, and some options on the left.
There’s lots you can do here, but we only want a background video for our avatar video, so all we’re going to do is check that each scene has an appropriate clip, and then add some background music.
Fine Tuning Your Video Background
You’ll notice that your script is to the right and in the middle of the scene.
- Click the text once to select it.
- Then click the grid icon at the top and select the middle top option to move the text up there.
- Click the text size box and select the 24 option to make the text smaller.
- Now, click the Apply To All button on the right so that these font changes are applied to all the scenes.
- Next, go through each scene one by one and look at the clip that the AI has chosen for the words.
Some may not be suitable, either because the aspect ratio of the video means the relevant parts are not visible, or because they’re simply not a match for what’s in the script.
If the clip is suitable but partly hidden, click and hold anywhere outside the text box and move the video clip left or right. If the clip needs to be replaced, click the Visuals icon in the left column menu, type in a phrase or word e.g. ‘man on laptop’ and see what pops up. You can scroll up and down through the results.
Note that, when you hover your cursor over them each has a duration in seconds in the top right corner. Whichever one you select for your scene, make sure the duration is longer than the scene duration. The scene duration is in the middle near the top of the screen. Go through all your scenes until you’re satisfied that you have appropriate clips to illustrate your message in each scene.
If you want a long clip to run through two or more scenes then you can link them, like this.
- With the first scene visible, click the Story icon in the left hand column.
- That scene’s text should be highlighted in blue.
- Hover your mouse over the one beneath on the right and a link icon will appear.
- Click that to link the first scene with the next, and so on.
- Once you’re done, click the Audio icon on the left hand column.
You’ve now got to choose some music, and because there are thousands of tracks, this can be time consuming!
- I find it best to choose just one filter, play a few to listen to the sample, and choose one like that.
- I might click the heart icon next to it to add it to my favourites list.
- Anyway, you get the idea. Once you’ve found one you like, click the Apply icon that appears as your cursor hovers over it.
- Now, click the Volume icon above the music track area and move the slider for the background music down to about 20% if it’s soft music, or even 10% if it’s rocky and a bit louder.
Remember, this is going to be background music so you don’t want it to be intrusive. It’s the speech that counts.
Preview the video
You’re now ready to preview your video so click the Preview button in the top right corner and wait for it to generate and play. The video should play scene by scene, with the words appearing at the top of the 9:16 screen, and the music softly in the background.
Once you’re satisfied with the result, click the Download button in the top right corner, wait for it to generate, and download the video. That will take a few minutes, so in the meantime, head over to Heygen.com.
Putting it all together in HeyGen
When we log into Heygen we are presented with the dashboard. There’s a bewildering amount of options to take in for the newcomer here and there isn’t space in this post to go through them all. The HeyGen tutorials are really good though – short and succinct!
Note: If you want to custom build an avatar, use the photo avatar option and upload a shot you’ve taken or created, like the one above of Amelia Earhart.
- Click the Create Video icon in the top right corner.
- Scroll down the avatars in the column on the left until you find one that suits your message, remembering to always keep in mind which visual representation is going to resonate with your audience. Let’s assume you’ve selected Zoey in a shirt and she’s now in the main screen on your 9:16 video area.
- Using the yellow dots on the border of her image, reduce her down to about 20% of the visible area.
- Now click on the Asset icon in the left hand column, then click Upload Asset, and upload your finished video from Pictory. Once it’s uploaded and processed, select it and it will appear in the middle of your video area.
- Now, right click on it and select Set As Background.
- It will fill the 9:16 area leaving Zoe in the corner, ready to give the narration.
- Now, take the script that you created in the first step and paste it into the box in the middle of the screen, removing the default text that’s there. After a few seconds, your script will be ready for a test.
- In the box on the right you’ll see a country flag. If you click on this you can select an accent and a tone to suit your message.
- Once you’ve made your choice, click the Play Script button to listen to how your chosen voice sounds, or just click on the Preview button in the top right corner.
The Preview button will show the video but not the animation of the avatar. You can only see that in the completed video. Make sure you preview it carefully as once you hit that Submit button you’ll use at least one credit in your account.
Assuming you’re ready to launch, click the Submit button and wait for the video to generate. Once it has generated, download it and watch it on your own PC, checking that it’s just how you wanted it to appear.
Your finished video is now ready to upload to TikTok or as a YouTube short.
Doing it all in HeyGen
As I said above, Pictory is optional but it’s great for generating videos without avatars. I have used to create all kinds of content. Some of it has an AI narration and most of it has my own voice narrating the scripts. They’ve recently updated their asset repository so there are now millions of images and videos to choose from, and a wealth of royalty-free tracks as well.
If you do want to just use HeyGen, the instructions are the same as above but instead of uploading the background you created in Pictory, you just select from their repository of background images or video clips.
Work throught the tutorials to cover any areas that I’ve neglected to mention, or just contact me and I’ll see if I can help. I’m still learning, so you’ll be helping me by asking questions.
Ask me to do it for you
If learning how make AI avatar videos is just too much effort, let me do it for you. Here’s one I made earlier: