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Epic Games' new MetaHuman Creator will let devs build hi-fi humans

February 10, 2021 | By Chris Kerr

Epic Games is working on a browser-based app called MetaHuman Creator that allows game developers to create high fidelity human characters in "less than an hour."

The Unreal Engine maker has shared a first look at the software, which runs in the cloud via Unreal Engine Pixel Streaming. 

It works by letting developers sculpt and craft their characters using initiative workflows. As adjustments are made, the tool blends between actual examples in the library "in a plausible, data-constrained way." 

Users will also be able to choose a starting point by selecting from a number of presets, and also fine-tune their creations by choosing from a variety of hair-styles, clothing, and body types. 

Once the finishing touches have been applied, devs will be able to download a fully rigged asset via Quixel Bridge, meaning it can be used immediately for animation and motion capture in Unreal Engine (complete with LODS). Source data will also be provided in the form of a Maya file. 

What's more, the animations created for one MetaHuman will be compatible with others, meaning teams will be able to reuse a single performance across multiple characters and projects.

Epic claims MetaHuman Creator will ultimately enable studios of all shapes and sizes to more easily create the type of characters demanded by next-gen platforms and high-end virtual production, while also significantly reducing the time required to do so. 

"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," said VP of digital humans technology at Epic, 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."

You can read more about MetaHuman Creator, which will be made available for testing in the "next few months," over on the Unreal Engine blog.

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