A Dynamic Speech Breathing System for Virtual Characters

Ulysses Bernardet*, Sin-hwa Kang, Andrew Feng, Steve Dipaola, Ari Shapiro

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputConference publication


Human speech production requires the dynamic regulation of air through the vocal system. While virtual character systems commonly are capable of speech output, they rarely take breathing during speaking – speech breathing – into account. We believe that integrating dynamic speech breathing systems in virtual characters can significantly contribute to augmenting their realism. Here, we present a novel control architecture aimed at generating speech breathing in virtual characters. This architecture is informed by behavioral, linguistic and anatomical knowledge of human speech breathing. Based on textual input and controlled by a set of low- and high-level parameters, the system produces dynamic signals in real-time that control the virtual character’s anatomy (thorax, abdomen, head, nostrils, and mouth) and sound production (speech and breathing). The system is implemented in Python, offers a graphical user interface for easy parameter control, and simultaneously controls the visual and auditory aspects of speech breathing through the integration of the character animation system SmartBody [16] and the audio synthesis platform SuperCollider [12]. Beyond contributing to realism, the presented system allows for a flexible generation of a wide range of speech breathing behaviors that can convey information about the speaker such as mood, age, and health.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIVA 2017: Intelligent Virtual Agents
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-67401-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-67400-1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2017
EventInternational Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents: IVA 2017 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 27 Aug 201730 Aug 2017

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


ConferenceInternational Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents


Dive into the research topics of 'A Dynamic Speech Breathing System for Virtual Characters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this