Visual Communications and Technology Education Faculty Publications

Automated Technique for Real-Time Production of Lifelike Animations of American Sign Language

Jerry C. Schnepp, Bowling Green State University - Main Campus
John McDonald, DePaul University
Rosalee Wolfe, DePaul University
Julie Hochgesang, Gallaudet University
Diana Gorman Jamrozik, Columbia College - Chicago
Marie Stumbo, DePaul University
Larwan Berke, Gallaudet University
Melissa Bialek, DePaul University
Farah Thomas, DePaul University


Generating sentences from a library of signs implemented through a sparse set of key frames derived from the segmental structure of a phonetic model of ASL has the advantage of flexibility and efficiency, but lacks the lifelike detail of motion capture. These difficulties are compounded when faced with real-time generation and display. This paper describes a technique for automatically adding realism without the expense of manually animating the requisite detail. The new technique layers transparently over and modifies the primary motions dictated by the segmental model, and does so with very little computational cost, enabling real-time production and display. The paper also discusses avatar optimizations that can lower the rendering overhead in real-time displays.