Perceptual Evaluation of Video-Realistic Speech

Unknown author (2003-02-28)

abstract With many visual speech animation techniques now available, there is a clear need for systematic perceptual evaluation schemes. We describe here our scheme and its application to a new video-realistic (potentially indistinguishable from real recorded video) visual-speech animation system, called Mary 101. Two types of experiments were performed: a) distinguishing visually between real and synthetic image- sequences of the same utterances, ("Turing tests") and b) gauging visual speech recognition by comparing lip-reading performance of the real and synthetic image-sequences of the same utterances ("Intelligibility tests"). Subjects that were presented randomly with either real or synthetic image-sequences could not tell the synthetic from the real sequences above chance level. The same subjects when asked to lip-read the utterances from the same image-sequences recognized speech from real image-sequences significantly better than from synthetic ones. However, performance for both, real and synthetic, were at levels suggested in the literature on lip-reading. We conclude from the two experiments that the animation of Mary 101 is adequate for providing a percept of a talking head. However, additional effort is required to improve the animation for lip-reading purposes like rehabilitation and language learning. In addition, these two tasks could be considered as explicit and implicit perceptual discrimination tasks. In the explicit task (a), each stimulus is classified directly as a synthetic or real image-sequence by detecting a possible difference between the synthetic and the real image-sequences. The implicit perceptual discrimination task (b) consists of a comparison between visual recognition of speech of real and synthetic image-sequences. Our results suggest that implicit perceptual discrimination is a more sensitive method for discrimination between synthetic and real image-sequences than explicit perceptual discrimination.