Machine Learning: Creating an animated avatar that reacts to your voice

Machine Learning: Creating an animated avatar that reacts to your voice

Tiia
·May 11, 2022·

3 min read

Featured on Hashnode

When you hear Machine Learning, then things always seem a little abstract right? How can machine learning be used practical in your life? This week I created an animated avatar based on my photo that was turned into an digital avatar with an amazing Python tool. How can we use a Python Machine Learning Tool to create an animated PNG-Tuber avatar.

A PNG-Tuber is a sub-form of a V-Tuber using an animated 2D image in opposite to a 3D model as their virtual counterfeit. The avatar is then used instead of a webcam. V-Tubing originated in Japan in 2010 but grew popularity in the western world in 2020. PNG-Tubing is a quick and easy entrance into V-Tubing.

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Tools I used:

  • To turn my photo into an comic avatar, I used AnimeGANv2. You can check it out on Huggingface.co
  • The program used to animate your character and let's your voice control it, is Gazo Tuber
  • To create the different "Scenes" of the animation, I used Krita and GIMP with my graphic tablet.

How to get started!

Untitled (200 × 200px) (1).png This is the picture I started with. It is a portrait of myself. I went to AnimeGANv2 and used the tool over there to create a comic version of this image. The reason why I didn't use my photo is, that it might make viewers and also me quite uneasy to look at an animated version of my own face.

This is the result I got

image.png Not terrible at all if you ask me Not only does it look like an actual comic face but it also fits the vibe i would like to go for with my animated avatar.

Setting up Gazo Tuber

Gazo Tuber requires you to have at least 2 images - one with an open and one with a closed mouth - to indicate if you are speaking or not. If you want your avatar to look a little bit more alive, you should also upload a version with closed eyes for both, so the program can let your avatar close its eyes for blinking. I used Krita and my Graphic Tablet for this work. Since I already worked on photo editing and did my fair share of digital painting, this was quite a quick task for me.

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To get a more lively animation when you avatar is talking, you can add several different pngs with different shaped and opened mouth per drag and drop onto the importer

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I created eight images in total that build the animation. I used reference templates for the different mouth shapes so I could create them from scratch and also made sure the jaw would move for the right vowels.

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Once you have set up Gazo Tuber correctly and also connected your microphone, you can implement the avatar in your screen recording or streaming software as a new scene.

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What I love about tech is that different skills combined can lead to the most creative solutions out there. I also think that art tools powered by AI don't replace artists but they will support artists in the future. When I learned to create references for artwork by printing images and then cut them and glue them together as a collage, artists in the future will have a tool to which they describe what the reference will look like.

If you want to create your own animated speaking avatar, just follow the links on top of the description!

 
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