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Character Animation with Direct3D® by Carl Granberg

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Visemes

Whereas a phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that you can hear, a viseme is the smallest unit of speech that you can see. In other words, a viseme is the shape your mouth makes when making a particular phoneme. Not only is the mouth shape important, but the positions of your tongue and your teeth matter too. For example, try saying the following phonemes: /n/ (news) and /a:/ (father). The mouth shape remains pretty much the same, but did you notice the difference? The tongue went up to the roof of the mouth while saying /n/, and when you said /a:/ the tongue was lying flat on the “floor” of the mouth. This is one of many small visual differences that our subconscious easily detects whenever it is wrong, or “off.”

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