Despite not yet being available, Unreal Engine’s MetaHuman Creator is already making people talk.
There’s no avoiding it, digital humans are here to stay. Back in 2016, we saw our first look at Epic Games’ game-chaning digital human technology with its Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice preview at the Game Developers Conference. The demo, while brief, blew audiences away, teasing the next-generation of real-time animation. Behind the scenes, however, the project proved incredibly time-consuming, requiring a specific set of skills as well as the right hardware and software in order to operate.
Since then, Epic Games has focused on streamlining its process and, in doing so, have created MetaHuman Creator, a cloud-streamed app that lets you create your own realistic avatar that is fully ready for animation and motion capture in less than an hour, rather than weeks or even months.
MetaHuman Creators isn’t available just yet, but Epic Games did give us a sneak-peek at its powerful tool, showcasing a line of hyper-realistic digital humans ready for use in gaming, film, socialVR, fashion, retail, and so much more. Each of the MetaHuman creations shown features an immense amount of detail, including imperfections such as open pores, wrinkles around the eyes and mouth, and uneven smiles; adding significantly to the overall realism.
VRScout talked with Shavonne Wong, CEO of Gen V, a modeling agency for virtual beings, about Epic Games’ MetaHuman Creator tool. “It’s not surprising. Tech has been rapidly improving and given the rise of interest in virtual humans, it’s natural for it to be made easier for the masses to try and use it,” said Wong.
MetaHuman Creator will feature a continuously growing library of human appearances, facial motions, and expressions, allowing you to craft your own unique MetaHuman. You’ll be able to tweak specific facial details such as cheekbones and eyebrows and even change the hairstyle. MetaHuman Creator features 30 different hairstyles to choose from, each of which leveraging Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair.
As you assemble your digital human, MetaHuman Creator blends your work with actual examples from its library “in a plausible, data-constrained way.” You’ll also have access to a diverse selection of preset faces to select from.
In addition to offering a wide range of hairstyles and facial details, MetaHuman Creator features 18 customizable body shapes to work with, as well as a decent wardrobe. When you’re done, you can then download Quixel Bridge to animate your character or download Unreal Engine’s Live Link Face tool to capture your facial expressions and use them with your MetaHuman.
Epic Games states that it will be adding support for ARKit, Di4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyx, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics, and Cubic Motion. Users will also have the ability to seamlessly transfer animations between MetaHumans, allowing them to reuse their work across projects.
As of right now, MetaHuman Creator is still in development, but you’ll soon be able to give it a test drive in the upcoming Early Access program. If you’re interested, you can sign up here on the Epic Games website. You can also download a sample project here.
Wong is looking forward to getting her hands on MetaHuman Creator, telling me, “As a creative, I’m excited for technology to continue pushing the boundaries so that the tools we use to get more efficient for us to create better work.”
Head to Unreal Engine’s website for more information.
Feature Image Credit: Epic Games