Attention-Based VR Facial Animation with Visual Mouth Camera Guidance for Immersive Telepresence Avatars

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PubDate: Dec 2023

Teams:University of Bonn

Writers:Hao Ouyang, Kathryn Heal, Stephen Lombardi, Tiancheng Sun

PDF:Attention-Based VR Facial Animation with Visual Mouth Camera Guidance for Immersive Telepresence Avatars


Facial animation in virtual reality environments is essential for applications that necessitate clear visibility of the user’s face and the ability to convey emotional signals. In our scenario, we animate the face of an operator who controls a robotic Avatar system. The use of facial animation is particularly valuable when the perception of interacting with a specific individual, rather than just a robot, is intended. Purely keypoint-driven animation approaches struggle with the complexity of facial movements. We present a hybrid method that uses both keypoints and direct visual guidance from a mouth camera. Our method generalizes to unseen operators and requires only a quick enrolment step with capture of two short videos. Multiple source images are selected with the intention to cover different facial expressions. Given a mouth camera frame from the HMD, we dynamically construct the target keypoints and apply an attention mechanism to determine the importance of each source image. To resolve keypoint ambiguities and animate a broader range of mouth expressions, we propose to inject visual mouth camera information into the latent space. We enable training on large-scale speaking head datasets by simulating the mouth camera input with its perspective differences and facial deformations. Our method outperforms a baseline in quality, capability, and temporal consistency. In addition, we highlight how the facial animation contributed to our victory at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals.

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