In speech coding, a major decrease in rate is realized when we go from coding waveforms to an analysis/synthesis approach. An attempt at doing the same for video coding is described in the next section. A technique that has not yet reached maturity but shows great promise for use in videophone applications is an analysis/synthesis technique. The analysis/synthesis approach requires that the transmitter and receiver agree on a model for the information to be transmitted.
The transmitter then analyzes the information to be transmitted and extracts the model parameters, which are transmitted to the receiver. The receiver uses these parameters to synthesize the source information. While this approach has been successfully used for speech compression for a long time , the same has not been true for images. In a delightful book, Signals, Systems, and Noise—The Nature and Process of Communications, published in 1961, J.R. Pierce  described his “dream” of an analysis/synthesis scheme for what we would now call a videoconferencing system:
Imagine that we had at the receiver a sort of rubbery model of the human face. Or we might have a description of such a model stored in the memory of a huge electronic computer . Then, as the person before the transmitter talked, the transmitter would have to follow the movements of his eyes, lips, and jaws, and other muscular movements and transmit these so that the model at the receiver could do likewise.
Pierce’s dream is a reasonably accurate description of a three-dimensional model-based approach to the compression of facial image sequences. In this approach, a generic wireframe model, such as the one shown in Figure 18.13, is constructed using triangles. When encoding the movements of a specific human face, the model is adjusted to the face by matching features and the outer contour of the face.
The image textures are then mapped onto this wireframe model to synthesize the face. Once this model is available to both transmitter and receiver, only changes in the face are transmitted to the receiver. These changes can be classified as global motion or local motion . Global motion involves movement of the head, while local motion involves changes in the features—in other words, changes in facial expressions.
The global motion can be modeled in terms of movements of rigid bodies. The facial expressions can be represented in terms of relative movements of the vertices of the triangles in the wireframe model.
In practice, separating a movement into global and local components can be difficult because most points on the face will be affected by both the changing position of the head and the movement due to changes in facial expression. Different approaches have been proposed to separate these effects [247, 246, 248]