Character creation with MetaHumanCreator

Apr 20, 2021 at 04:00 pm by nemirc

Last week, I was given access to the MetaHuman app from Epic Games. In case you don’t know, MetaHuman is an online human creation tool that lets you create photorealistic human characters for Unreal Engine. Right off the bat I have to say that, while the app can generate very good results, I find it very limited.

To create characters in MetaHuman, you are given different options like body shape, hair, makeup, beard, etc. For example, the image below shows the body shape category. As you can see, you have only three body shapes for either gender, so there are not many alternatives (in contrast, Poser’s La Femme has a lot of shapes, including thin, zombie, muscular, fat, body builder, etc., and Reallusion’s CC3 also includes a lot of different body shapes for either male or female characters).

In the “Body” section you can also see sub-sections for top, bottom and shoes, which let you choose among a few choices.

You also have access to a library of hair styles, eyelashes, eyebrows and beards. You can change their look by using a parameter at the top. However, this uses a “Melanin” parameter, so you are limited to shades from black to white, going through blonde. Want to make a character with red hair (like my game’s Amelia)? You can’t. Want to give your character Anime hair (like green, blue or pink)? You can’t. For Amelia, I even used this custom material that lets me change the color of her hair roots, but that’s not something you can do here either. Unreal Engine’s hair coloring can be very versatile when you are doing it in engine, so I hope they implement that here.

The face creation is the most complex part, although it’s still somewhat simple. You can choose to blend 3 different faces to create your own, and, when you do this, some dots show up on your character’s face so you can blend the different parts of the face. For example, your character’s nose can be a combination of two other noses, or something in the middle between 3 noses.

However, if you go into “Sculpt” mode you can modify different elements of the face using sliders. The elements you can modify are marked with small circles on top of the face. You can also choose whether or not you want those elements to be symmetrical (for example, if you want your nose to be wider on one side, for whatever reason). However, you can’t really stylize your character’s face (for example, you can’t use MetaHuman to create your Final Fantasy style characters).

There’s also a “Move” mode, that lets you move face parts to modify them by dragging them.

While you have different ways to modify and tweak your face, you can’t do the same for the body. There’s no “Sculpt” or “Move” options for body parts, so you can’t really customize the body shape of your character.

MetaHuman is in early access, so I know more features will be added. In the current iteration, it will surely fit the needs of some people, but I personally don’t see it as a replacement of my Character Creator 3 pipeline. You can ask Epic Games for early access and try for yourself.


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