Talking Head Synthesizer


Service «Talking Head Synthesizer» provides a visualization of the text entered by the user. An electronic text is sent to the service input, the service processes the input text and forms a video file with an animated head that says the entered phrase. «Talking head» conveys the facial expressions of a human head and the synthesized sound when pronouncing an incoming text. The user can view the final video file and save it.

 

Basic terms and concepts

Speech synthesis — the formation of a speech signal in the electronic text.

Text-to-speech synthesizer (TTS) is a system capable of generating speech from text. It contains two blocks: a linguistic word processing unit for a phoneme view with marks of accent, intonation (prosody) and rhythm, as well as a speech signal processing unit that converts a previously received phoneme view into a speech sound signal.

 

Features of the service

The service generates «talking heads» from a person’s photo. Now, the service allows visualizing the input text with the help of four «talking heads», three of which are male speech synthesizer and one female speech synthesizer:

  • B.M. Labanaŭ (Barys speech synthesizer);
  • A.V. Tuzikaŭ (Barys speech synthesizer);
  • U.V. Haliankoŭ (Barys speech synthesizer);
  • L.I. Tsyrulnik (Alesia speech synthesizer).

In order to create a personal «head», it is necessary to take several photos of a person’s face in certain positions of the mouth and lips mimicry. Synthesizing the «talking head», the service uses the work of «Text-to-speech synthesizer», and also builds a sequence of photos with the positions of the lips corresponding to thethe phoneme that is synthesized (pronounced «talking head») at a particular moment.

The service is at the stage of refinement and improvement, therefore now a large amount of text is synthesized with difficulty. In this regard, it is desirable to submit to the input text of no more than one sentence.

 

Practical value

The service will help to perceive speaking to people with hearing impairments, since they will have the opportunity to see facial expressions when pronouncing the input phrase. This expands the possibilities and scope of speech synthesizer. The service allows you to further personalize the input text, since it creates «talking heads» based on photographs of real-life people. «Talking heads» have prospects of application in the following areas:

  • telephone call systems from infokiosks;
  • voice and alarm alert systems;
  • e-book reading systems;
  • training systems;
  • talking computers for the visually and hearing impaired;
  • personalization of online presence for people with disabilities (personal speaking avatar).

 

Description of the user interface

The graphical interface of the service is shown in Figure 1.

 

Figure 1. Graphical interface of the service «Talking Head Synthesizer»

 

The interface contains the following areas:

  • electronic text entry field;
  • the choice of «talking head»;
  • the button «Get talking head!», which starts the generation of the «talking head» and allows you to get the final video file.

 

User script for working with the service

  1. Enter in the text box an electronic text for visualization.
  2. In the drop-down menu «Select head» select «talking head».
  3. Click the «Get talking head!» button to get the final video file.
  4. Click the play button and view the result (Figure 2).
  5. If you need to save the result to your computer, you need to click on «download video» and / or «download audio», after which the final file will be downloaded in * .mp4 format (video with synthesized speech) *.wav (only synthesized speech).

 

Figure 2. «Talking Head Synthesizer» results example

 

Links to sources

Service page: https://ssrlab.grid.by/TalkingHeadSynthesizer/?lang=en

Service «Text-to-speech synthesizer»: https://corpus.by/TextToSpeechSynthesizer/?lang=en

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