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Photo-realistic talking-heads from image samples

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2 Author(s)
Cosatto, E. ; AT&T Bell Labs.-Res., Red Bank, NJ, USA ; Graf, H.P.

This paper describes a system for creating a photo-realistic model of the human head that can be animated and lip-synched from phonetic transcripts of text. Combined with a state-of-the-art text-to-speech synthesizer (TTS), it generates video animations of talking heads that closely resemble real people. To obtain a naturally looking head, we choose a “data-driven” approach. We record a talking person and apply image recognition to extract automatically bitmaps of facial parts. These bitmaps are normalized and parameterized before being entered into a database. For synthesis, the TTS provides the audio track, as well as the phonetic transcript from which trajectories in the space of parameterized bitmaps are computed for all facial parts. Sampling these trajectories and retrieving the corresponding bitmaps from the database produces animated facial parts. These facial parts are then projected and blended onto an image of the whole head using its pose information. This talking head model can produce new never recorded speech of the person who was originally recorded. Talking-head animations of this type are useful as a front-end for agents and avatars in multimedia applications such as virtual operators, virtual announcers, help desks, educational, and expert systems

Published in:

Multimedia, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:2 ,  Issue: 3 )