Epic Games has announced the launch of a new tool that will allow animators and game designers to make life-like human models. The tool, named MetaHuman Creator, will be a cloud-streamed browser-based application specializing in the creation of photorealistic digital humans with the primary aim of expediating the process required to execute such projects by cutting time from several weeks or months to mere hours without affecting quality.

MetaHuman Creator, once it is released, will make high-end virtual productions easier and will only be a mouse click away.

Users will be able to choose from an ever growing library of variants of human appearance and motion. ‘Intuitive workflows’, claims Epic, will help in sculpting the characters that one desires as the tool will use actual examples in the library in a ‘data constrained way’ to make the job easier.

Preset faces can be selected from a range of diverse options. Unreal Engine’s strand-based hair technology will let the user select from a menu of 30 different hair styles. There are also different types of pre-made clothing and 18 different proportioned body types.

MetaHuman Creator will also allow the user to download assets via Quixel Bridge, fully rigged and ready for animation and motion capture in Unreal Engine, and complete with LODS. Source data can be obtained in the form of Maya files which includes meshes, skeleton, racial rig, animation controls and material.

With the assets ready, users will be able to animate their character with motion capture tools like Unreal Engine’s Live Link Face iOS app. Epic says that it is working with vendors to provide support for ARKit, DI4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyz, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics, and Cubic Motion.

In a formal statement issued to IGN at a media briefing, Vladimir Mastilovic, Vice President of Digital Humans Technology at Epic Games, said: “Essentially the product that we’re launching now… is replacing hundreds of man-days that we typically need to invest into building a single asset, into a tool where people can do it themselves and literally within minutes get results that we would otherwise work for months to achieve.”

“Up until now one of the most arduous tasks in 3D content creation has been constructing truly convincing digital humans,” he added. “Even the most experienced artists require significant amounts of time, effort, and equipment, just for one character,”

Epic has created two fully functioning human samples available for exploration, modification and use in Unreal Engine 4.26.1 today. The project is available on Epic Game launcher’s ‘Learn tab’. MetaHuman Creator will likely be made available as Early Access sometime during the current year as no exact date has been declared.

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