Epic Games Announces MetaHuman Creator for Fast, High-Fidelity Digital Humans, via Unreal Engine.

Epic Games has revealed the first look at their new MetaHuman Creator, a browser-based app that empowers game developers and image creators of real-time 3D content to slash the time it takes to build digital humans from weeks or months to less than an hour, while maintaining the highest level of quality. The digital humans are rigged and have a common base that harks back to research and tech demos fxguide commented on as early as 2017. MetaHuman Creator is new, but it reflects years of research and exploration, especially from Vladimir Mastilovic, VP, Digital Humans Technology at Epic Games. Mastilovic heads up the team that Epic has been building to provide professional-grade, digital humans, that anyone can access, and that don’t require re-engineering from scratch for each new real-time project. Not only are these new digital humans remarkably realistic but they are built to be interactive and real-time, able to be driven with tools such as Epic’s LiveLink but also a huge range of professional third party input and animation pipeline tools. The MetaHuman tool is perfect for AAA games and while it is not intended to be a full feature film character creator, it is both flexible and easy to use.

MetaHuman Creator runs in the cloud via Unreal Engine Pixel Streaming. In addition to speeding up the complex process of digital human creation, it also enables teams of all shapes and sizes to more easily scale and make many types of characters to meet the demands of next-gen platforms and high-end virtual production. The new user interface of MetaHuman provides a very friendly toolset with direct manipulation that ensures the character stays ‘on model’ with a consistent and powerful rig.

“Up until now one of the most arduous tasks in 3D content creation has been constructing truly convincing digital humans. Even the most experienced artists require significant amounts of time, effort, and equipment, just for one character,” shared Vladimir Mastilovic. “After decades of research and development, and thanks to bringing companies like 3Lateral, Cubic Motion, and Quixel into the Epic family, that barrier is being erased through Unreal Engine, and we’re thrilled to introduce MetaHuman Creator.”

Metahuman supports a wide range of ethnic backgrounds, ages and even hair styles.

MetaHuman Creator enables users to easily create new characters through intuitive workflows that let them sculpt and craft results as desired. As adjustments are made, MetaHuman Creator blends between actual examples in the library in a plausible, data-constrained way. Users can choose a starting point by selecting a number of preset faces to contribute to their human from the range of samples available in the database.

 

Users are able to apply a variety of hairstyles that use Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair system, or hair cards for lower-end platforms. There’s also a set of example clothing to choose from, as well as 18 differently proportioned body types. When ready, users can download the asset via Quixel Bridge, fully rigged and ready for animation and motion capture in Unreal Engine, complete with LODs. Users will also get the source data in the form of a Maya file, including meshes, skeleton, facial rig, animation controls, and materials.



Once in Unreal Engine, users can animate the digital human asset using a range of performance capture tools—they can use Unreal Engine’s Live Link Face iOS app, and Epic is also currently working with vendors on providing support for ARKit, Faceware, JALI Inc., Speech Graphics, Dynamixyz, DI4D, Digital Domain and Cubic Motion solutions—or keyframe it manually. Animations created for one MetaHuman will run on other MetaHumans, enabling users to easily reuse a single performance across multiple Unreal Engine characters or projects.

To illustrate the quality of the digital humans made possible with MetaHuman Creator, Epic is releasing two fully finished sample characters available to explore, modify, and use in projects running on Unreal Engine 4.26.1 and later. You can download the two sample MetaHumans immediately and experiment with them in-engine. The MetaHuman face rigs are included so that you can test them with ARKit and driving them directly from your mobile. MetaHuman Creator will be available as part of an Early Access program within the next few months.

For more information and to sign up for early access updates, visit:

unrealengine.com/a-sneak-peek-at-metahuman-creator-high-fidelity-digital-humans-made-easy

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