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Analysis and Synthesis of Human Faces

TNT members involved in this project:
Stella Graßhof, M.Sc.
Felix Kuhnke, M.Sc.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Jörn Ostermann

At Institut für Informationsverarbeitung (TNT) we are interested in analyzing and synthesizing the human face. Our motivation is to provide tools for efficient interpretation, evaluation and creation of facial shapes, (inter)actions and virtual faces, thereby enabling natural human-computer interaction (HCI).

We analyze different kinds of face data such as still images, videos, 3D point clouds, and others, then process and describe them with mathematical tools.
Obtaining deeper insights and understandings of underlying structures, processes, and perception, enables us to provide methods for further analysis and synthesis in various applications.

Among others our expertise within this project includes:

Considering face data can be provided as images, videos, 3D point clouds and others of single and multiple persons, the possibilities to record human faces has a large variability.
Despite their diversity the different modalities share the need of preprocessing before the data can be utilized for applications in Machine Learning or other purposes.
E.g. first steps for face scans are deletion of outlier points or inner mouth points, as shown below.

inner mouth points


Spatial Alignment
Multiple 3D face scans differ in the number of points, and therefore need a general rigid alignment, followed by a registration and correspondence estimation procedure.
 

point cloud face correspondence

 



Temporal Alignment
Given multiple sequences of facial motion, they commonly differ in length and therefore require a temporal alignment. We offer an approach to estimate the expression intensity for each frame, and proceed to use the feature to align sequences of 3D face scans.


 

Our goal is to create a versatile 3D model for human faces with various applications.
Assuming well-prepared data, e.g. 3D face scans, a statistical face model can be estimated from the data, offering a wide range of different applications.



3D Face Reconstruction
Based on sparse 2D landmarks, from single or multiple images of one person, we are able to reconstruct the 3D structure of a face, and alter the expression.


 

While humans are used to the application of lip-reading, we here consider the problem vice-versa: Given an audio signal, what is the most plausible visual counterpart? Based on audio input, we use synthesis of visual speech to synthesize a sequence of 3D face meshes to produce speech animations.

visual speech



Talking Heads
One of our longer standing goals has been to produce Talking Heads (realistic talking virtual human faces) for Human-Computer Interaction. The major challenge is to produce visuals indistinguishable from real faces. Besides texture and geometry of the virtual head, dynamic features like linguistically correct speech animation and realistic facial animation of facial expressions are important factors. Furthermore, the behavior and animation of the virtual face needs to consider the human dialog partner. Our prototype of a female talking head is from 2009.
In addition, using a talking head in a dialog based interaction requires an underlying dialog system. A dialog system will handle the content of the audible/spoken part of the interaction. It processes the users speech using techniques from text-to-speech and natural language processing and will also generate natural speech output based on natural language understanding and generation.

 

Show recent publications only
  • Journals
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Evaluation of an Image-based Talking Head with Realistic Facial Expression and Head Motion
      Journal on Multimodal User Interfaces, Special issue: Emotion-based Interaction, October 2011
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu, Jörn Ostermann
      Video-realistic image-based eye animation via statistically driven state machines
      The Visual Computer, Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, November 2009
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Optimization of An Image-based Talking Head System
      Special issue on animating virtual speakers or singers from audio: Lip-synching facial animation, EURASIP Journal on Audio, Speech, and Music Processing, Hindawi Publishing Corporation, Vol. 2009, September 2009
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Gesichtsanimation mit Image-based Rendering für Dialogsysteme
      Telekommunikation Aktuell, Berichte aus Forschung und Entwicklung in Informationstechnik und Telekommunikation, 60. Jahrgang, Heft 07-12, Verlag für Wissenschaft und Leben, Erlangen, December 2006
    • Jörn Ostermann, Lawrence S. Chen, Thomas S. Huang
      Animated Talking Head with Personalized 3D Head Model
      VLSI Signal Processing, Kluwer Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, pp. 97-105, 1998
    • Joern Ostermann
      Animated Talking Head with Personalized 3D Head Model
      Journal of VLSI Signal Processing, Kluwer Academic Publishers, p. 9, 1998, edited by Chen, Lawrence S.; Huang, Thomas S.
  • Conference Contributions
    • Maren Awiszus, Stella Graßhof, Felix Kuhnke, Jörn Ostermann
      Unsupervised Features for Facial Expression Intensity Estimation over Time
      Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops (CVPRW), June 2018
    • Felix Kuhnke, Jörn Ostermann
      Visual Speech Synthesis From 3D Mesh Sequences Driven By Combined Speech Features
      Proc. of the IEEE International Conference on Multimedia and Expo (ICME), IEEE, Hong Kong, July 2017
    • Stella Graßhof, Hanno Ackermann, Felix Kuhnke, Jörn Ostermann, Sami Brandt
      Projective Structure from Facial Motion
      15th IAPR International Conference on Machine Vision Applications (MVA) (accepted), Nagoya (Japan), May 2017
    • Stella Graßhof, Hanno Ackermann, Sami Brandt, Jörn Ostermann
      Apathy is the Root of all Expressions
      12th IEEE Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition (FG2017), Washington D.C., USA, 2017
    • Karsten Vogt, Oliver Müller, Jörn Ostermann
      Facial Landmark Localization using Robust Relationship Priors and Approximative Gibbs Sampling
      Advances in Visual Computing , Springer, Vol. 9475, pp. 365 -- 376, Las Vegas, December 2015, edited by George Bebis et al.
    • Stella Graßhof, Hanno Ackermann, Jörn Ostermann
      Estimation of Face Parameters using Correlation Analysis and a Topology Preserving Prior
      14th IAPR International Conference on Machine Vision Applications (MVA), Tokyo, May 2015
    • Stella Graßhof, Jörn Ostermann
      Performance of Image Registration and Its Extensions for Interpolation of Facial Motion
      PSIVT 2013 Workshops, Springer Lecture Notes on Computer Sciences (LNCS), pp. 216--227, October 2013
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Realistic Facial Expression Synthesis for an Image-based Talking Head
      IEEE Conference on Multimedia and Expo, ICME2011 , p. 6, Barcelona, Spain, July 2011
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Evaluation of an Image-based Talking Head with Realistic Facial Expression and Head Motion
      Proceedings of CASA (Computer Animation and Social Agents) workshop on Emotion-based Interaction, Chengdu, China, May 2011
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Realistic Head Motion Synthesis for an Image-based Talking Head
      FG 2011, The 9th IEEE Conference on Automatic Face and Gesture Recognition , p. 6, Santa Barbara, CA, March 2011
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Image-based Talking Head: Analysis and Synthesis
      DAGA 2010, 36. International Conference on Acoustics, Deutschen Gesellschaft für Akustik, pp. 87-88, Berlin, March 2010
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Minimized Database of Unit Selection in Visual Speech Synthesis Without Loss of Naturalness
      The 13th International Conference on Computer Analysis of Images and Patterns CAIP2009, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, pp. 1212-1219, Münster, Germany, September 2009, edited by X. Jiang and N. Petkov
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      An Image-based Talking Head System
      LIPS 2009 Special Session in AVSP 2009, Norwich, UK, September 2009
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Video-Realistic Image-based Eye Animation System
      EUROGRAPHICS 2009 (Short Paper), Munich, April 2009
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Realistic Facial Animation System for Interactive Services
      Interspeech 2008, LIPS 2008: Visual Speech Synthesis Challenge, Brisbane, Australia, September 2008
    • Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Realistic Talking Head for Human-Car-Entertainment Services
      IMA 2008 Informationssysteme für mobile Anwendungen, GZVB e.V. (Hrsg.), pp. 108-118, Braunschweig, Germany, September 2008
    • Kang Liu, Axel Weissenfeld, Joern Ostermann, Xinghan Luo
      Robust AAM Building for Morphing in an Image-based Facial Animation System
      IEEE Multimedia and Expo, 2008 IEEE International Conference on , Hannover, Germany, June 2008
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu, Wei Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Image-based Head Animation System
      1. Kongress Multimediatechnik 2006, Institut für Multimediatechnik GmbH -IFM, pp. 67-72, Wismar, November 2006
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Onay Urfalioglu, Kang Liu, Joern Ostermann
      Robust Rigid Head Motion Estimation based on Differential Evolution
      IEEE International Conference on Multimedia & Expo 2006, IEEE Multimedia and Expo, 2006 IEEE International Conference on, pp. 225 - 228, Toronto, CN, July 2006
    • Kang Liu, Axel Weissenfeld, Joern Ostermann
      Parameterization of Mouth Images by LLE and PCA for Image-based Facial Animation
      ICASSP06,Toulouse, France IEEE Proceedings, IEEE, Vol. 5, pp. 461-464, May 2006
    • Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu, Sven Klomp, Joern Ostermann
      Personalized Unit Selection for an Image-based Facial Animation System
      IEEE MMSP 2005, Shanghai/China, IEEE, November 2005
    • Jörn Ostermann, Axel Weissenfeld, Kang Liu
      Talking Faces - Technologies and Applications (Keynote)
      Vision, Video, and Graphics 2005, Eurographics Association, pp. 157-158, University of Edinburgh, July 2005, edited by Emanuele Trucco
    • A.C. Andres del Valle, Joern Ostermann
      3D talking head customization by adapting a generic model to one uncalibrated picture
      ISCAS 2001, Sydney, Australia, Vol. 2, pp. 325-328, May 2001
    • Joern Ostermann, D. Millen
      Talking heads and synthetic speech: An architecture for supporting electronic commerce
      ICME 2000, International Conference on Multimedia and Expo, New York, USA, IEEE CNF, Vol. 1, pp. 71-74, July 2000
    • Joern Ostermann, Y. Wang, M. Beutnagel, A. Fischer
      Integration of talking heads and text-to-speech synthesizers for visual TTS
      International Conference on Spoken Language Processing, Sydney, Australia, pp. 297-300, December 1998
  • Technical Report
    • Felix Kuhnke, Stella Graßhof, Jörn Ostermann
      Das Gesicht als Interface zwischen Mensch und Maschine - Wie wir zukünftig mit Robotern kommunizieren
      Unimagazin - Forschungsmagazin der Leibniz Universität Hannover, pp. 14-16, Hannover, 2016
    • Joern Ostermann, Erich Haratsch
      Parameter-Based Model-Independent Animation of Personalized Talking Heads
      IEEE Transactions on circuits and systems for video technology, IEEE Transactions on circuits and systems for video technology, p. 24, 1996