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Epic Games has announced a new tool which it says will allow game developers to create high-fidelity digital humans in less than an hour.
MetaHuman Creator is a browser-based app which runs in the cloud via Epic’s Unreal Engine Pixel Streaming technology.
Epic claims the tool will slash the time it takes creators to make high-quality human characters “from weeks or months to less than an hour,” while enabling teams to more easily scale and make many types of characters for their projects.
The tool works by allowing users to sculpt and craft characters’ faces, while simultaneously blending them with real-life examples from Epic’s library.
Users can choose a starting point by selecting a number of preset faces, then a variety of hair styles that use Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair system. There’s also a set of example clothing to choose from, as well 18 differently proportioned body types.
When ready, Epic says users will be able to download the asset via asset management tool Quixel Bridge, fully rigged and ready for animation and motion capture in Unreal Engine, complete with LODs. Users will also get the source data in the form of a Maya file, including meshes, skeleton, facial rig, animation controls, and materials.
“Up until now one of the most arduous tasks in 3D content creation has been constructing truly convincing digital humans. Even the most experienced artists require significant amounts of time, effort, and equipment, just for one character,” said Epic’s VP for Digital Humans Tech, Vladimir Mastilovic, in a prepared statement.
“After decades of research and development, and thanks to bringing companies like 3Lateral, Cubic Motion, and Quixel into the Epic family, that barrier is being erased through Unreal Engine, and we’re thrilled to introduce MetaHuman Creator.”
MetaHuman Creator will be available as part of an Early Access program within the next few months, Epic said.
Take-Two CEO Strauss Zelnick recently said believes that the industry is “close” to delivering games that are indistinguishable from real life.
“We have a new console generation coming and that’s going to allow us to do some things that we haven’t been able to do before creatively, that’s exciting,” he told CNBC.
“But as I’ve said before, we’re going to reach a point where you won’t be able to tell the difference between what’s created in the computer and what’s real.”
Zelnick said lifelike graphics are particularly suited to certain types of games such as the publisher’s NBA 2K basketball series, but not to others.