Post Magazine

November/December 2021

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Page 27 of 39 26 POST NOV/DEC 2021 OUTLOOK ANIMATION or as long as I've been in the VFX industry, creating photorealistic digital humans has always been one of the hardest challenges. Though incred- ible progress has been made, this type of work is still largely limited to elite teams that have the resources to pay for scanning services, infrastructure, expert artists and tool development. At Epic Games, we believe that tools for content creation should be free so that anyone can create stunning content. There shouldn't be barriers to entry for someone that wants to get started in our business. Our main application — Unreal Engine — is now used by many people across the industry for animation and virtual production. Earlier this year, we were excited to add our new MetaHuman Creator tool to the arsenal as well, which we hope marks a new era in the creation of high fidelity digital humans. MetaHuman Creator is a free, cloud- based app that empowers storytellers and artists to create photorealistic digital humans — complete with hair and clothing — in minutes. Building upon decades of research and development from pioneering companies, like 3Lateral, Cubic Motion and Epic, MetaHuman Creator dramatically lowers the barrier to entry so that indie and mid-sized teams — or even individuals — can now create a wide variety of characters quickly and without requiring sophisticated hardware or deep technical expertise to get to a good outcome. MetaHumans come with a full facial and body rig, and are ready to animate in Unreal Engine, either keyframed or using a performance-capture solution like Epic's Live Link Face iOS app or other solutions from ARKit, Audio2Face, DI4D, Digital Domain, Dynamixyz, Faceware, JALI, Speech Graphics and Cubic Motion. There are near-endless combinations of facial features, skin complexions, hair, eyes, makeup and teeth available to customize your character, and when it's ready, you can download it directly into Unreal Engine or also get the source data in an Autodesk Maya file so that you can keep refining. MetaHuman Creator derives its data from real-world scans, so you can feel confident that your charac- ter's movements are physically plausible in the real world. MetaHuman Creator has been avail- able in early access since April, and the feedback from the community has been great. Artists really appreciate that their characters are fully rigged, animatable and working in-engine right away, which is a huge time saver. Artists using Unreal already had free access to photorealistic environments and other assets, thanks to Quixel Megascans, and now they can easily bring their scenes to life with high-quality characters as well. Looking ahead to our wide release in 2022, we're listening to feedback and exploring where we can continue to add improvements. We've been asked for a wider range of hairstyles and hair colors, as well as more customization options for things like makeup and scars, so we're working to deliver those. Another upcoming feature we're excited to add is the ability to play with lighting presets. Right now MetaHuman Creator gives you a basic lighting setup, but to really try out different lighting contexts you have to bring the character in-engine. We're working to add a range of different mood setups so that artists can experi- ment and make those creative decisions directly in MetaHuman Creator. Looking to 2022, we are also excited to get Unreal Engine 5 released. Unreal Engine 5 brings powerful new features, like Lumen (realtime global illumination and reflections) and Nanite (virtualized geometry). In conjunction with MetaHuman Creator, this will help artists take their scenes and characters to the next level of detail and quality. We're incredibly excited to see what the talented people and studios in our industry can achieve with these powerful new tools. METAHUMAN CREATOR AND THE FUTURE OF DIGITAL HUMANS BY PAUL DOYLE DIRECTOR OF PRODUCT – METAHUMAN EPIC GAMES WWW.UNREALENGINE.COM/ DIGITAL-HUMANS F SOUNDTRACKS BY MARK LANZA PRESIDENT MOTION PICTURE SOUND EDITORS WWW.MPSE.ORG T he MPSE hosted several virtual events in 2021, including our 68th Golden Reel Awards ceremony. It was a huge success and attended by sound editors and many others around the globe. But, as much fun as that was, we look forward to resuming in-person events as soon as it is safe and practical. We hope that the pandemic will continue to wane and that more people will be vaccinated so that we can once again welcome a capacity crowd to the Bonaventure Hotel in Los Angeles for the Golden Reel Awards. We are also encouraged to see our members returning to their normal routines and activities, even if the circumstances are somewhat different. I recently attended a 100th episode party for a show where I was the super- vising sound editor. Up until that day, I hadn't met my colleagues in-person because the work was done remotely —including the spotting sessions, ADR and mix. It was nice to finally meet the producers, the picture editors and even my sound editors. I hope to have more experiences like that in the year ahead, but it's unlikely that things will fully return to the way they were before the pandemic. Work on studio lots will be different. It will still be important for supervisors to be on the lot to oversee ADR sessions and to interact with directors, picture editors and mixers, but sound editors may continue to work from home. I love walking into my editors' rooms to run reels and discuss ideas. We still do that remotely, but I miss the one-on-one camaraderie. It's led to a lot of friend- ships. But from the studio's perspective, having more people off-site has advan- tages. They can use the space for other purposes. AUDIO POST IN 2022

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