Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Unreal Engine shows how real we could look in games, movies

Digitally created people in films and video games might be made faster and more realistic thanks to a technology by the makers of Fortnite.

If you’ve ever wondered just how realistic digital humans could be, you might want to check out a tool Epic Games has been working on, because it could really blow your digital and physical socks off.

The makers of hit games including Fortnite and the Unreal series, as well as some of the tools used behind the scenes on shows The Mandalorian and Westworld to name a few, Epic, has been toying with something that could make it possible to make digital recreations of humans in a faster time frame than ever before. What would normally take weeks or months may have been whittled down to around an hour with a tool the company says will work not just with films, but possibly even mobile, making it possible that you’ll find games and such with realistic humans in the very near future.

It’s part of the Unreal Engine toolset for development, with an extra component called the “MetaHuman Creator”, which is basically a human generator for games, apps, film, and TV.

It’s not ready yet, and so Epic is giving developers a bit of a preview with a big download of digital humans that they can test themselves. However the idea is simple: use this tool and you’ll be able to quickly generate life-like digital people for use in products, and even use tools to animate their faces like the real thing.

The real thing is something animators and filmmakers are always trying to reach, with the term “Uncanny valley” almost within reach, a phrase that basically means “when animation is so close, it resembles the real thing”, which this announcement is surely close to.

Testing Epic’s test files this weekend, we found the digital human test projects were so big, they were able to drag a couple of our computers to their knees, though survived well enough on the 16 inch MacBook Pro, thanks in part to some staggeringly big graphics made to perform on workstation-grade machines. Over in the world of Hollywood and those who make video games, they’ll have computers better equipped for animation than our own, and with this tool might just find Uncanny valley more easily accessible in the next year or so, as well.

For now, if you’re keen to see just how uncanny and realistic Epic’s MetaHuman Creator can be, check the video below. It’s all kinds of crazy.

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