For at least a couple of years, Epic Games has painstakingly created of hyper-realistic replicas of human persons, the so-called ‘MetaHumans’. The first time that Epic Games (developer of the popular game Fortnite: Battle Royale) released these authoring tools in 2021, as a way to streamline the authoring process and make it easier for users. Now in the State of Unreal of the 2023 GDC, the firm has taken it further, allowing you to create realistic facial animations using videos captured on an iPhone.
In 2021, Epic placed a special emphasis on the possibility to create these hyper-realistic humans in a short time and from any platform. Without going any further, he opened the MetaHuman technology to make it free, and requiring that users only had to use the browser on their computer. A tremendously useful computational power for developers.
In the demo of this GDC, Epic has shown in a footage using this technology in collaboration with Melina Juergens, current actress of Senua, main protagonist of the video game Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. The demo has taken advantage of the actress’ capabilities and facial animation technology to reveal what this process will look like in the future.
Humans created with an iPhone
In the demo, Epic has shown the facial animation process to create MetaHuman avatars using only one actress. and a footage using an iPhone. In this way, it was possible to animate facial expressions reflected in next-generation models. in a matter of minutes, almost in real time.
And it is that we remember that making a facial animation, especially if it is one of a hyperrealistic nature, can be a process it takes months. To this is added all the acting work, which involves capturing even the smallest gesture or expression of the actors. All of this also requires special equipment and developers who can exploit it.
But the most surprising thing about this demonstration is not only that. While the actress speaks, new avatars are created on it, that maintaining the voice, integrates completely different models. That is, the model is changed to a completely different one, but again keeping the impressive facial animation. All this, from an iPhone.
This tool will be launched in the middle of this year and given the potential in the demo with Melina Juergens, everything indicates that this will be a revolutionary tool for developers and that it will ease a significant burden on facial animators.