Epic Games launches web app for creating realistic digital people

Epic Games has introduced a new Unreal Engine app. MetaHuman Creator allows users to create realistic people. The tool runs in the cloud and is used via a web app.

The tool, according to Epic Games, is intended for the creation of digital characters by game developers and creators of real-time 3D content such as movies or television shows. According to the Unreal Engine maker, such digital people can be created in less than an hour; the developer states that this could previously take days or weeks of work. The final characters, called MetaHumans, can then be used in the Unreal Engine.

Epic Games developed the application in collaboration with 3Lateral, a company acquired by Epic in 2019 that specializes in the creation of digital characters. Cubic Motion, the company behind the facial animations for games like God of War and Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, also contributed to the software. That company has been owned by Epic since last year.

In an interview with GamesIndustry.biz, 3Lateral founder Vladimir Libreri says that the application works like a role-playing character creator, but without restrictions. He adds that photorealism is not the goal for the time being. “We’re aiming more for a kind of The Last of Us or Uncharted look, where it’s clearly a digital character, but a nice looking digital character.”

The application contains different hairstyles, eighteen different body types and sample clothes by default. Users can fully customize the characters in the web app, including details such as teeth. The final result can be exported with different levels of detail for use in the Unreal Engine. Quixel Bridge is used for this. The characters can be animated in the Unreal Engine through various tools or motion capture. Users also get the source data of their characters, in the form of a Maya file.

Epic Games has released two free sample characters that can be used in Unreal Engine version 4.26.1 or later. The web app is not yet available. The full MetaHuman Creator application should be available to developers as an early access version in the coming months. Epic does not mention a specific release period.