Epic Games has revealed MetaHuman Creator, a new browser-based app that’s designed to assist in creating 3D digital humans, whether it’s for a game, animation, or other project. And the examples of the faces that users can create look really cool.
“Up until now one of the most arduous tasks in 3D content creation has been constructing truly convincing digital humans,” Epic Games VP of digital humans technology Vladimir Mastilovic said in a press release. “Even the most experienced artists require significant amounts of time, effort, and equipment, just for one character.”
Via MetaHuman Creator, the time it takes to put together a 3D character is supposedly cut from weeks or months down to less than an hour. The app also makes it easier for developers to create a multitude of different characters, which should come in handy when crafting character-driven experiences for the latest generation of consoles, Xbox Series X|S and PlayStation 5. The app’s creations have currently been tested for Xbox Series X|S, PS5, and PS4–they run on mobile too, though visual quality isn’t as high as what you get on consoles.
“It’s primarily about democratization, we want it to transform industry, people couldn’t [do these kind of] things because of budgets, but now single storytellers can do it,” Mastilovic told GameSpot in an interview. “New kinds of stories can be told now.”
So far, our favorite part of the app is the feature to quickly apply a variety of hair styles to a character, including more diverse styles that better fit people of color. MetaHuman Creator also includes 18 different body types and several clothing options, which should assist in the creation of more diverse characters.
“[MetaHuman Creator] is a game, the goal of the game is to make a character–the standalone version is tough as it feeds off a database that is non-shippable,” Mastilovic told GameSpot. “It is accessible through Pixel Streaming though; [we] can totally imagine influencers creating avatars and movies with [their] own character.”
The app won’t allow for children and teenager characters at first–Epic Games has run into difficulties with scanning in features from younger individuals. And as realistic-looking as the 3D models are, MetaHuman Creator is not designed to create stand-ins for real people.
“The characters look amazing [and have] fantastic animation, but are they ready for the big screen? Will they be able to digitally replace Luke Skywalker?” Epic Games CTO Kim Libreri said while talking to GameSpot. “No, [the app isn’t] quite ready for that yet.”
In May 2020, Epic Games unveiled Unreal Engine 5, the latest version of its game-making technology, running on PS5. Unreal 5 promises to deliver photorealistic graphics–Epic has already confirmed that Fortnite will transition to Unreal 5 in 2021, and developer inXile Entertainment is planning to use the new engine in its next game.