Epic Games had quite a few impressive upgrades to show for Unreal Engine 5, one of them being a revolutionary change to the work that goes into facial animation. MetaHuman has been a part of the Unreal Engine 5 creative suite for a while already, but an upgrade to the system called MetaHuman Animator is not only upgrading the capabilities of facial animation in UE5, but also making it possible to apply a similar degree of animation across multiple, different character models.
Epic Games showed off the full details and demonstrated the upgrade MetaHuman Animator during the State of Unreal presentation on March 22, 2023. Improving upon the already existing MetaHuman Creator that was revealed for UE5 back in 2021, MetaHuman Animator provides a new degree of animation to the UE5 suite that shows promising versatility. It began with showing the degree of stretchiness and movement MetaHuman Animator shows when applied to one character model. However, the developers then showed the same set of voice lines and similar degrees of facial animation applied across a variety of separate character models.
It will likely be more complex than a simple cut-and-paste scenario where one set of facial animations can just be applied across a variety of models cleanly. However, MetaHuman Animator does seem to thoroughly streamline the process and allow creators to take a complex set of facial animations and apply them, at least roughly, across high definition models with some degree of similar quality. Ideally, the capabilities of MetaHuman Animator should help to boost facial animation, as well as streamlining the process by which a set of animations can be applied from one model to another.
The MetaHuman Animator developers stated that this upgrade should be ready to launch in “just a couple months,” though we don’t have a concrete date at this time. Stay tuned as we continue to watch for further updates and check out our other coverage from the Epic Games State of Unreal presentation.