Hugo Nicolau


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PE2LGP Animator: A Tool To Animate A Portuguese Sign Language Avatar
Pedro Cabral | Matilde Gonçalves | Hugo Nicolau | Luísa Coheur | Ruben Santos
Proceedings of the LREC2020 9th Workshop on the Representation and Processing of Sign Languages: Sign Language Resources in the Service of the Language Community, Technological Challenges and Application Perspectives

Software for the production of sign languages is much less common than for spoken languages. Such software usually relies on 3D humanoid avatars to produce signs which, inevitably, necessitates the use of animation. One barrier to the use of popular animation tools is their complexity and steep learning curve, which can be hard to master for inexperienced users. Here, we present PE2LGP, an authoring system that features a 3D avatar that signs Portuguese Sign Language. Our Animator is designed specifically to craft sign language animations using a key frame method, and is meant to be easy to use and learn to users without animation skills. We conducted a preliminary evaluation of the Animator, where we animated seven Portuguese Sign Language sentences and asked four sign language users to evaluate their quality. This evaluation revealed that the system, in spite of its simplicity, is indeed capable of producing comprehensible messages.

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HamNoSyS2SiGML: Translating HamNoSys Into SiGML
Carolina Neves | Luísa Coheur | Hugo Nicolau
Proceedings of the 12th Language Resources and Evaluation Conference

Sign Languages are visual languages and the main means of communication used by Deaf people. However, the majority of the information available online is presented through written form. Hence, it is not of easy access to the Deaf community. Avatars that can animate sign languages have gained an increase of interest in this area due to their flexibility in the process of generation and edition. Synthetic animation of conversational agents can be achieved through the use of notation systems. HamNoSys is one of these systems, which describes movements of the body through symbols. Its XML-compliant, SiGML, is a machine-readable input of HamNoSys able to animate avatars. Nevertheless, current tools have no freely available open source libraries that allow the conversion from HamNoSys to SiGML. Our goal is to develop a tool of open access, which can perform this conversion independently from other platforms. This system represents a crucial intermediate step in the bigger pipeline of animating signing avatars. Two cases studies are described in order to illustrate different applications of our tool.