New Release Brings Mesh to MetaHuman to Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine has launched a major update for MetaHuman. While still in Early Access, this release brings not only new features for MetaHuman Creator—the company’s cloud-based app that empowers anyone to create photorealistic digital humans—but also a new Mesh to MetaHuman feature in Unreal Engine, as well as support for the new character rigging, animation, and physics features in Unreal Engine 5 (UE5).
Watch the video below to learn more about new features for Unreal Engine MetaHuman.
Mesh to MetaHuman
The first major feature of the new MetaHuman Plugin for Unreal Engine, Mesh to MetaHuman, enables users to take their own custom facial mesh and convert it into a MetaHuman, fully rigged and ready to animate. Users can further refine their character in MetaHuman Creator.
Starting with a textured mesh that the user has created using scanning, sculpting, or traditional modeling tools, Mesh to MetaHuman uses automated landmark tracking in UE5 to fit its MetaHuman topology template to it, combining it with a body type of the user’s choice from the MetaHuman options. This templated mesh is then submitted to the cloud, where it is matched to a best-fit MetaHuman derived from the company’s database. This mesh is then used to drive the facial rig, while the deltas from your original mesh come along for the ride.
Once a user has transformed their mesh into a MetaHuman, they can immediately download it, or open it in MetaHuman Creator, where they can play through the animations and see it instantly come to life—and continue to tweak and enhance it.
While some elements like hair and skin textures will need to be re-authored or reapplied either in MetaHuman Creator or within a tool of choice, Mesh to MetaHuman means users can get a starting point for a fully rigged digital human from their unique static mesh in minutes.
Compatibility with Unreal Engine 5’s New Character Tools
UE5 came with a slew of new character rigging and animation features, including artist-friendly authoring and retargeting toolsets; with this release, users can use them all with their MetaHumans.
MetaHumans are built on top of Control Rig, Unreal Engine’s built-in rigging system that enables users to quickly and easily create rigs and share them across multiple characters. In UE5, Control Rig is now production-ready, and offers a range of new features such as Space Switching, which enables users to dynamically reparent their Controls to suit different circumstances.
Control Rig is integrated with Sequencer, where users can animate their characters, and save and apply poses with the new Pose Tool; it includes a number of new facial poses that have also been added to MetaHuman Creator.
New features for MetaHuman Creator
Whether a user is refining their own custom MetaHumans or creating new ones from scratch, the company says they will benefit from new features in MetaHuman Creator.
First, there are 10 new facial animation loops that artists can use to instantly bring their creation to life. The company says these are great for evaluating how well a user’s character’s deformations perform with different expressions, without having to download it first.
With similar intent, there are six new body poses to put your character through its paces—everything from being caught in the middle of a high hurdle to trying out a contemporary dance move—and five new facial poses that run the gamut of emotions.
The new release also includes more clothing options, including the ability to customize colors of areas within fabric patterns, like polka dots, stripes, or paisleys.
Finally, to give users more control and offer more variety over characters’ hair, the company has added 13 new hairdos, together with additional styles of beards, mustaches, eyebrows, and eyelashes for a total of 23 new grooms. They have also enabled further customization of colors, with Ombré and Highlights features, and the ability to separately color different areas of the Mohawk, Faux Mohawk, and Pulled Back styles.
Additional Lighting Presets for Unreal Engine
Some months ago, Unreal Engine made six lighting presets from MetaHuman Creator, designed by cinematographer Greig Fraser, available for use in Unreal Engine. Now, the company has added to that pack, with the three lighting presets designed for The Matrix Awakens: An Unreal Engine 5 Experience. They have also updated the original six presets for compatibility with UE5. Click here to download the updated lighting pack from the Marketplace.
For more information on Unreal Engine MetaHuman, click here.