Expressive Talking Avatars

IEEE Trans Vis Comput Graph. 2024 May;30(5):2538-2548. doi: 10.1109/TVCG.2024.3372047. Epub 2024 Apr 19.


Stylized avatars are common virtual representations used in VR to support interaction and communication between remote collaborators. However, explicit expressions are notoriously difficult to create, mainly because most current methods rely on geometric markers and features modeled for human faces, not stylized avatar faces. To cope with the challenge of emotional and expressive generating talking avatars, we build the Emotional Talking Avatar Dataset which is a talking-face video corpus featuring 6 different stylized characters talking with 7 different emotions. Together with the dataset, we also release an emotional talking avatar generation method which enables the manipulation of emotion. We validated the effectiveness of our dataset and our method in generating audio based puppetry examples, including comparisons to state-of-the-art techniques and a user study. Finally, various applications of this method are discussed in the context of animating avatars in VR.