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MetaHuman Creator: Did Epic just leap the Uncanny Valley?

Epic just revealed an Unreal Engine-related piece of software and system called MetaHuman Creator. This system allows users to create “truly convincing digital humans.” This software is cloud-streamed and designed to “take real-time digital human creation from weeks or months to less than an hour.”

This project works with “an ever-growing library of variants of human appearance and motion.” Using a set of preset faces from the MetaHuman database, users will be able to make adjustments and “sculpt and craft the result you want.” Each time an adjustment is made, MetaHuman Creator blends between examples in its library “in a plausible, data-constrained way.”

Once a body is created, users will be able to download the asset in the form of a Maya file via Quixel Bridge. When downloaded, the result will be fully rigged (for 3D animation movement) and ready for motion capture.

The downloaded file will include source data, including skeleton, facial rig, meshes (hopefully able to be converted for 3D printing!), materials, and animation controls. Manual keyframing is in the pipeline, as is support for a wide variety of 3rd-party software names.

Epic suggested that they’re working with vendors to make support a reality for the following: Cubic Motion, Speech Graphics, JALI, Faceware, Dynamixyz, Digital Domain, ARKit, and DI4D. They’ve also pointed to the Unreal Engine Live Link Face iOS app as an early connection.

To gain access to MetaHuman Creator, you’ll want to head over to the sign-up page at Epic. There they’ll give you the text boxes you’ll need to fill to apply for early entry.

NOTE: Surpassing the Uncanny Valley is a subjective sort of goal. These creations look pretty convincing while in still captures – but they’ll still need some work in post-production to appear real in video form. That shouldn’t be too hard, especially given the key that most producers seem to forget: If you’re trying to trick someone into believing a video of a MetaHuman isn’t digital, don’t tell them it’s digital from the get-go. Also, dirty it up a bit!

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