Unreal Engine has recently introduced software that could be a game changer in the industries of visual effects, game development, architectural visualization, environmental design, and others.
MetaHuman is an interactive, cloud-based tool to generate CGI people. The people are highly-customizable, come fully rigged for animations, are compatible with most industry-standard software (such as Autodesk Maya).
Why is MetaHuman necessary?
The problem of creating photo-realistic people has been a pervasive issue in just about every industry where CGI people are part of any kind of workflow. Many attempts have been made, and oftentimes, the solutions end up stuck in the uncanny valley.
Unreal Engine’s solution could be one that makes the lives of all those working in these industries considerably easier. No more inserting low-res 2D cutouts of people into architectural visualizations, no more wholesale purchases of 3D models of people (many of whom don’t really fit the scene you’re working with anyway), and no more struggling with different file formats and incompatible software.
What can MetaHuman do?
The software is a cloud-streamed app, meaning that the underlying assets are not taking up space on the users’ hard drive, and integrates nicely with Unreal Engine’s existing cloud-streamed asset software.
MetaHuman seems to essentially be the people generator version of existing cloud-based CGI asset browsers/creators like Quixel Bridge (asset library for textures, models, etc.) and Quixel Mixer (a material and shader creator).
Models generated with MetaHuman can be animated manually, or animated via performance capture tools. Unreal Engine is also working on providing compatibility with a wide variety of existing industry animation softwares, including ARKit, DI4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyz, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics, and Cubic Motion.
With this tool, independent artists and developers will be able to incorporate photo-realistic CGI humans into their projects without having to commit the costly resources they would have had to otherwise.
When does MetaHuman release?
MetaHuman Creator will be available for early-access users within a few months.