Blender is an open source, free-of-charge, very powerful 3D asset/character creation, animaton, image processing and video sequencing program.
It is about to get a FREE infinitely configurable humanoid character model that is completely set up for animation, including excellent lip-syncing.
Initially, the character will be part of a series of animation training videos from CGCookie. While the tutorial series does carry a small fee, ultimately, the “toolkit” itself will be made available to the Blender community at no charge. (The characters you can create are not “real life”, they are cartoon style. They can be any humanoid size, shape, gender, ethic group, etc., so you can use this one tool to create an entire cast of characters for a film, a video short, a commercial, etc.)
I’m not sure of the dates for either the release of the tutorial series or the release of the “toolkit” as a free-standing, no-charge item.
CGCookie is taking pre-release orders for the tutorials (which include the toolkit character) for just $38. I have purchased CGCookie tutorials before, and can vouch for their quality. It is, IMO, worth the money. In addition, the CGCookie site has loads of on-line tutorials for free. So, check out both CGCookie and the series here.
The series was also discussed at length this morning by its teacher (and professional animator) Beorn Leonard at the annual Blender conference in Amsterdam. (Boern has a Scandinavian name, but speaks with a British accent.) You can watch a Youtube recast of his talk here.