Modeling and Animating the Human Tongue during Speech Production

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Pelachaud, Catherine
van Overveld, C. W. A. M.
Seah, Chin

A geometric and kinematic model for describing the global shape and the predominant motions of the human tongue, to be applied in computer animation, is discussed. The model consists of a spatial configuration of moving points that form the vertices of a mesh of 9 3-D triangles. These triangles are interpreted as charge centres (the so-called skeleton) for a potential field, and the surface of the tongue is modelled as an equi-potential surface of this field. In turn, this surface is approximated by a triangular mesh prior to rendering. As to the motion of the skeleton, precautions are taken in order to achieve (approximate) volume conservation; the computation of the triangular mesh describing the surface of the tongue implements penetration avoidance with respect to the palate. Further, the motions of the skeleton derive from a formal speech model which also controls the motion of the lips to arrive at a visually plausible speech synchronous mouth model.

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Copyright 1994 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings Computer Animation '94, May 1994, pages 40-49. Publisher URL: This material is posted here with permission of the IEEE. Such permission of the IEEE does not in any way imply IEEE endorsement of any of the University of Pennsylvania's products or services. Internal or personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution must be obtained from the IEEE by writing to By choosing to view this document, you agree to all provisions of the copyright laws protecting it.
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