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Epic Games is launching early access for its MetaHuman Creator tool, which enables people to create realistic animated human characters within minutes.
Epic Games unveiled the tool in February, and it had an overwhelming response from people who tried it and created two MetaHuman sample characters with it. Now, early access users will be able to use it in Unreal Engine, or for further editing in a DCC application like Autodesk’s Maya.
Due to the cloud-based nature of the application, Epic Games said it will add applicants gradually, so it may take a few days before you get your turn. We’ll have a panel on MetaHumans with Paul Doyle and Vladimir Mastilović of Epic Games at our GamesBeat Summit 2021 event on April 28 and April 29. Wanda Meloni of M2 Insights will moderate the session.
For those who just want to get started with using digital humans right away in Unreal Engine, Epic Games is also providing over 50 ready-made MetaHumans for download and use in projects (they’re from Quixel Bridge, another startup acquired by Epic). You have to download the free application and click on the MetaHumans section.
Using MetaHuman Creator, you can manipulate facial features, adjust skin complexion, edit teeth, and select from a preset range of body types, hairstyles, clothing, and so on. When you finish your character, you can export and download it, rigged and ready to animate, in Unreal Engine.
MetaHuman Creator combines technology from 3Lateral and Cubic Motion — both now part of Epic Games — and makes it accessible. Previously, it was possible to create assets of this caliber only through extremely time-consuming and expensive in-house methods or outsourcing.
MetaHuman assets must be rendered with Unreal Engine. It requires a Windows or MacOS computer with internet access and a Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari web browser. You will also need an Epic Games account. To download your MetaHumans, you will need to install the free Quixel Bridge application.
MetaHumans require Unreal Engine 4.26.2 or later. MetaHuman source assets can be downloaded for animating in Autodesk Maya. However, you cannot publish MetaHumans as final content unless rendered with Unreal Engine.
Epic Games said that MetaHuman Creator and the MetaHuman assets may not be used for the purpose of building or enhancing any database, training or testing any artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning, neural networks, or similar technologies.
This version of the MetaHuman Creator tool itself cannot run in a game; it is an external content creation application. The MetaHuman assets it generates are for real-time use in Unreal Engine, but they are definitely at the resource-hungry end of the spectrum.
Epic Games supports Unreal Engine’s Live Link Face iOS app. It is also working with vendors on providing support for ARKit, DI4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyz, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics, and Cubic Motion solutions.
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