Epic Games launches MetaHuman Animator to produce high-fidelity facial animation based on real actor's performance

Epic Games has officially launched MetaHuman Animator, a new tool for capturing real actors’ performances and turning them into high-quality facial animation. Here is everything to know about the technology from the Unreal Engine team.

What is MetaHuman Animator – a new animation tool from Epic Games

First presented at GDC 2023, MetaHuman Animator is now available for all Unreal Engine 5.2 users. According to Epic Games, it allows developers to capture facial expressions using a stereo head-mounted camera system or just an iPhone and apply the results to 3D models without manual intervention.

  • The company claims that the Mesh to MetaHuman feature (creates a MetaHuman from a 3D character mesh built in third-party apps) is now able to create digital humans from just three frames of video and produce animation that works on any MetaHuman character.
  • The animation is produced locally using a GPU, and MetaHuman Animator can reproduce the individuality of each actor once their performance is captured.
  • MetaHuman Animator also allows multiple iterations so that directors and developers can adjust animations and the final results using different takes.
  • This technology has, for example, been used for the upcoming Senua’s Saga: Hellblade II.

To showcase the capabilities and power of its new tool, Epic Games released a video created by its Serbian subsidiary 3Lateral, which contributed to many AAA titles and is best known for its work on The Matrix Awakens tech demo. The Blue Dot short film starring local actor Radivoje Bukvić is said to have achieved an “impressive level of animation quality with minimal interventions on top of MetaHuman Animator results.”

Epic Games launched MetaHuman Creator into Early Access in 2021, branding it as a tool for creating and editing high-fidelity facial features, skin, body types, teeth, etc. More information about the MetaHuman Animator workflow can be found in a video below.

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