Epic's new MetaHuman tool is pure uncanny valley

Epic Games has unveiled a new tool designed for realistic character creation, and it can all be done in a browser. The MetaHuman Creator is powered by Unreal Engine and allows for scarily realistic human proportions and facial animations. 

The main aim is to dramatically reduce the time studios spend creating and rigging realistic-looking humans, something which Epic says can take "weeks or even months," saying on its website: "Bringing compelling real-time digital humans to life is incredibly challenging and time-consuming.

"It can take months of research, costly scanning equipment, and an army of tech artists. What if we could make the process radically simpler, faster, and more scalable—without compromising on quality?"

The MetaHuman can be used with motion capture data, and can be transferred across different creations. According to Epic's 'Meet the MetaHumans' video, the tool has been tested across various hardware platforms, "from feature film to mobile."

A second video demonstrates a ton of the customisation options available—from wrinkle sliders to hair texture 'roughness', with a tug and pull style editor a lá The Sims 4 allowing for fine-tuning of facial features.

It's hard to deny just how accurate the MetaHumans look. They still suffer from that strange skin shine that plagues a lot of modern character creation, unless they just have insanely good skincare routines. But things that often pull me away from realistic 3D models, like weird teeth, Epic have done a pretty damn good job on.

Epic confirmed to PC Gamer that MetaHumans Creator will be free for use with Unreal Engine, which is also free to use, with commercial Unreal Engine game projects paying royalties only after earning over $1 million in revenue.

There's no firm release date for the creator tool yet, but those interested in keeping up with the uncomfortably realistic humans can register for updates on Unreal's website.

Mollie Taylor
Features Producer

Mollie spent her early childhood deeply invested in games like Killer Instinct, Toontown and Audition Online, which continue to form the pillars of her personality today. She joined PC Gamer in 2020 as a news writer and now lends her expertise to write a wealth of features, guides and reviews with a dash of chaos. She can often be found causing mischief in Final Fantasy 14, using those experiences to write neat things about her favourite MMO. When she's not staring at her bunny girl she can be found sweating out rhythm games, pretending to be good at fighting games or spending far too much money at her local arcade.