Why VFX Will Change Forever With MetaHuman Creator | ActionVFX

Why VFX Will Change Forever With MetaHuman Creator

Why VFX Will Change Forever With MetaHuman Creator

Unreal Engine's new MetaHuman technology has made CG character creation easier than ever.

What if Hollywood-level CG character creation was as simple as customizing your character in a video game? Well, now it is! Literally.

We’ve covered many of the VFX wonders made possible with the Unreal Engine, from virtual production and real-time visual effects to fast procedural environment generation, in-engine green screen keying, and breathtaking photorealistic tools.

Now, Epic Games is pushing Unreal’s VFX technology to a whole new level with MetaHumans.
This is one of the biggest leaps in VFX and CGI the industry has ever seen, and it has the potential to change everything. You’ll want to stick around for this one!

Let’s take a look at this revolutionary new feature coming soon to the Unreal Engine.

What is MetaHuman Creator?

The MetaHuman Creator is an upcoming web-based character creation tool that allows for limitless customization of photorealistic CG human actors. Once you build your character, you can then easily transfer the character into the Unreal Engine using Quixel Bridge.

The beauty of MetaHuman Creator is that it’s perfectly integrated into the Unreal platform. Rather than being a third-party tool with limited support, MetaHuman Creator is designed with the force of Epic Games behind it, and a focus on harnessing the full power of the Unreal Engine for a seamless experience.  
Even more significant is the fact that, upon importing into the Unreal Engine, MetaHuman characters are fully-rigged and ready for motion capture, with limitless customization.

“MetaHuman Creator sets a new benchmark for both the believability of digital humans, and also for the ease of creating them. You can directly manipulate facial features, adjust skin complexion, and select from preset body types, hairstyles, clothing, and more. You can even edit your character’s teeth!

Imagine game characters that will blow your players’ minds, digital doubles on the latest virtual production set that will stand up to close-up shots, virtual participants in immersive training scenarios you can’t tell from the real thing: the possibilities for creators are limitless.”
Epic Games | Unreal Engine

MetaHuman Creator Animation Workflow

Once your character has been created and imported into the Unreal Engine, you’ll find the character in the Content Browser under a “MetaHumans” folder.
MetaHuman Content Browser
Source: Epic Games | Unreal Engine

You can see that each character is broken out into several different components, including hair and even eyelashes. It’s worth noting that all MetaHumans use the same skeletal mesh. While this currently limits animation diversity (ruling out non-anthropomorphic characters), it also simplifies the animation process and allows the rigging to be incredibly effective.

Any poses or animations that can be done with the UE4 Mannequin can instantly be retargeted onto MetaHumans. Additionally, current Unreal Engine motion capture methods can be utilized to record and transfer any mocap data for your character.

In the video below, you can see how MetaHumans perform in the Unreal Engine, as well as how to retarget animations for your characters.
Be sure to check out the official MetaHuman Creator breakdown for all the details!

How to Download MetaHumans

While the full release of MetaHuman Creator is still on the horizon, you can register for updates to be notified once it does launch. The good news is you can already download two MetaHumans now and begin interacting with them in the Unreal Engine to experiment and get an idea of how they will perform. 

The Unreal Engine has made not only video game production more impressive than ever, but the way they’re shaping CG and VFX is monumental. Once MetaHuman Creator launches, anyone will be able to create an entire digital character in just a few minutes, with an unprecedented level of realism with seamless motion capture and animation tools.

Feature-length movies and TV shows will soon be made with this technology, in a fraction of the time and for a fraction of the cost. This is a massive change that will open the floodgates to democratized high-end animation, and undoubtedly create a whole new way of thinking about VFX.

If you haven’t already started learning the Unreal Engine, this should be a huge incentive to start your journey into the most advanced real-time virtual production engine available.   

We’ll continue to bring you the latest news as the Unreal Engine continues pioneering the next era of virtual production!

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