Epic Games, the parent company of the popular real-time 3D (RT3D) development suite Unreal Engine 5, recently released MetaHuman, a framework for creating highly realistic digital human avatars.
The firm is debuting its MetaHuman creator toolkit as a free cloud-based service that anyone can try out today as part of an early access program.
Epic Games designed the MetaHuman project alongside longstanding avatar creation experts 3Lateral and Cubic Motion. The firms are combining their software efforts to provide a democratized avatar content creation hub, accessible to all.
An official statement from Epic Games explains:
Now, as part of Epic Games, they’ve been able to push the technology even further—and make it happen in real-time. Most importantly, they’ve made it accessible to everyone.
Democratizing Avatar Creation
Users of MetaHuman do not require any previous coding knowledge or RT3D modelling experience. Thanks to the service’s “drag and drop” design, so anyone can jump in.
MetaHuman designers can choose a base avatar model from online content libraries. Then, they can mould their digital human into a personalized creation from this starting point.
— Jason Bennett (@B0B0S0N) June 14, 2022
Epic Games provides MetaHuman designers with “near-infinite” facial variations. MetaHuman designers can also edit facial features, skin complexions, hair, eyes, make-up, and teeth. Additionally, MetaHuman is soon introducing different body types and clothing options.
MetaHuman utilizes real-world scans from individuals and other sources to ensure avatar accuracy. The platform also provides high-fidelity characters via its Quixel Bridge portal for downloading base avatar models.
Epic Games also integrates Live Link Face, a sister iOS application for performance capture, enabling full facial and body animation that designers can export into Unreal Engine 5.
Epic Games promotes the service as “real-time ready.” Designers can inspect their MetaHuman creations on powerful RTX-ready desktops to display RT3D strand-based hair and ray tracing.
MetaHuman enables users to distribute their creations to Android devices and gaming hardware like the PS5. Additionally, MetaHuman supports integration from several different RT3D content creation tools such as DI4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyz, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics, and Cubic Motion.
MetaHuman also enables designers to import rich source data from Autodesk Maya to encourage even more detailed animation possibilities, including meshes, skeletal frames, facial rigs, animation controls, and simulated materials.
The platform also supports augmented reality (AR) projects due to its ARKit integration, which helps further immersive content opportunities.