This paper is concerned with the problem of animating computer
drawn images of speaking human characters, and particularly with
the problem of reducing the cost of adequate lip synchronisation.
Since the method is based upon the use of speech synthesis by
rules, extended to manipulate facial parameters, and there is
also a need to gather generalised data about facial expressions
associated with speech, these problems are touched upon as well.
Useful parallels can be drawn between the problems of speech
synthesis and those of facial expression synthesis. The paper outlines
the background to the work, as well as the problems and some
approaches to solution, and goes on to describe work in progress in
the authors' laboratories that has resulted in one apparently
successful approach to low-cost animated speaking faces. Outstanding
problems are noted, the chief ones being the difficulty of selecting
and controlling appropriate facial expression categories; the lack
of naturalness of the synthetic speech; and the need to consider the
body movements and speech of all characters in an animated sequence
during the animation process.
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