First released back in April 2021 in Early Access, MetaHuman for Unreal Engine enables you to create incredibly lifelike digital characters with relative ease. That said, there was always one very big limitation, you always had to start with a character provided by Epic Games. As of this week however, that limitation has been removed with the release of the release of the MetaHuman plugin for UE5 on the Windows platform only.
The MetaHuman plugin is described as:
The MetaHuman Plugin for Unreal Engine’s first major feature, Mesh to MetaHuman, enables artists to take their own custom facial mesh and convert it into a MetaHuman, fully rigged and ready to animate. They can then further refine their character in MetaHuman Creator.
Starting with a textured mesh created using scanning, sculpting, or traditional modeling tools, Mesh to MetaHuman uses automated landmark tracking in UE5 to fit the MetaHuman topology template to it, combining it with a body type of the artist’s choice from the MetaHuman options. This template is then submitted to the cloud, where it is matched to a best-fit MetaHuman derived from the database. This mesh is then used to drive the facial rig, while the deltas from the original mesh come along for the ride.
Once they have transformed their static mesh into a MetaHuman, artists 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 reauthored or reapplied either in MetaHuman Creator or within a tool of choice, Mesh to MetaHuman means artists can get a starting point for a fully rigged digital human from their unique static mesh in minutes.
You can learn more about creating your own MetaHuman in UE5 in the step by step video below.