Epic Games is unleashing a new technology that will allow anyone to create photo-realistic humans on demand. It’s called MetaHuman Creator and it's the product of years of research and development by the creator of the Unreal Engine and Fortnite. The tool aims to let anyone easily design 3D models of a human and download it, and use it in a variety of apps and programs.
According to Epic Games, MetaHuman Creator is a cloud-based app. “It works by drawing from an ever-growing library of variants of human appearance and motion, and enabling you to create convincing new characters through intuitive workflows that let you sculpt and craft the result you want,” Epic Games said on its website. “As you make adjustments, MetaHuman Creator blends between actual examples in the library in a plausible, data-constrained way. You can choose a starting point by selecting a number of preset faces to contribute to your human from the diverse range in the database.”
Epic Games said that users can select from 30 hair styles and 18 different body types. “When you’re happy with your human, you can download the asset via Quixel Bridge, fully rigged and ready for animation and motion capture in Unreal Engine, and complete with LODs,” it said. “You’ll also get the source data in the form of a Maya file, including meshes, skeleton, facial rig, animation controls, and materials.”
The technology is impressive and sits firmly in the uncanny valley. In 2018, Epic Games showed off its 'Synthetic Human' technology called Siren at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Epic Games had previously used this tech to transform a motion captured Andy Serkis into an alien fish-man, live, while he performed the “Tomorrow” monologue from Shakeaspere’s MacBeth
It’s impressive tech, but like with all technology, there will be unforeseen consequences. It democratizes the creation of hyper realistic digital human faces and will cut the production time of some video games and films by huge amounts. Like all technological advancements, it could also be used for pornography. A market for well constructed 3D avatars of celebrities and ex-partners already exists online..