“Creating truly convincing digital humans is hard.” says Fortnite developer Epic Games. We’re inclined to believe them. Animation of any kind is an impressive skill, and creating life-like 3D animated humans requires an incredible amount of time, effort, and pricey equipment. That’s why Epic has created MetaHuman Creator, a browser-based tool powered by Unreal Engine that you can use to create highly realistic human models, ready and waiting to fulfil all your animating desires.
The company says that the software can be used in tandem with modern animation techniques, like motion-capture, to create highly detailed animations relatively quickly for use in video games, film, television, and other formats.
How does MetaHuman work?
MetaHuman draws from a library full of forms of human motion and appearance. You can pick and choose exactly how you want your character to look. Body type, skin colour, facial structure, the works. There are a 30 different hairstyles that utilise Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair rendering system that, as the name implies, renders each strand of hair with accurate physics. It’s a bit of a step up from Skyrim‘s character creator, that’s for sure.
Once you’ve got your perfectly designed digital human, you can download them, fully rigged and ready to be animated in Unreal Engine, via Quixel Bridge. You can also download all of your character’s source data, like their animation controls, their skeleton, their facial rig, and more.
Now you’re ready to bring your MetaHuman to life! You can animate them in Unreal Engine, using its Live Link Face iOS app or keyframe it manually. Epic is currently working with vendors on providing support for tools from several different animation companies, including Faceware, AR Tools, and Cubic Motions.
MetaHuman Creator will release some time this year. Epic hasn’t provided a precise date yet. But if you’re already desperate for a chance to check the tool out, Unreal Engine has released two videos that provide a glimpse of what MetaHuman Creator can do, on their YouTube channel. Epic has also provided two sample humans for you to mess around with in Unreal Engine 4.26.1. And if you want to be involved in testing the software out, you can sign up for an early access program here.
Source: Epic Games and Unreal Engine