Epic unveils incredibly lifelike facial animation tech that's uncomfortably good

Epic Games has unveiled its new facial animation tool powered by Unreal Engine, and the quality of the animation is simply eye-opening.

2 minutes & 27 seconds read time

Epic Games has revealed at its State of Unreal keynote at GDC 2023 its new MetaHuman creator tool that will enable developers to animate their MetaHumans with just an iPhone.

The announcement featured the reveal of the above video that, demonstrates the ease of developers using video footage shot with their iPhones to animate characters. The results are very impressive, with the animation tool showing realistic movements in subtle facial expressions, eye tracking, and graphics quality.

Epic showed off what's possible with the technology by releasing a clip of Ninja Theory's game Senua's Saga: Hellblade II, in which performance capture artist Melina Juergens that plays the game's main character, acts out a scene that is then transformed into a gorgeous animation. The Senua's Saga: Hellblade II technology demonstration was created using expensive motion capture cameras within a studio, hence the impressive end result.

However, footage from almost any camera can generate the animation, which will assist all low-budget indie developers looking for an easy way to animate their in-game characters. So, how is the technology even possible? If you were leaning toward some kind of artificial intelligence or machine learning algorithm being the backbone of this tool, you are correct because that's exactly what powers MetaHuman Animator, a machine-learning tool that's been fed a "large, varied, highly curated database" of face-capture data, according to Epic VP of Digital Humans Technology Vladimir Mastilovic.

This data pool is likely from Epic Games' acquisition of a few different motion capture companies, such as Cubic Motion, 3Lateral, and Hyprsense, which the MetaHuman website states has allowed all of the acquired companies to push their technology even further to the point where it's happening in "real-time".

If you are a developer and are interested in giving MetaHuman Animator a try, be on the lookout for it this summer when it's expected to launch.

In other news, the CEO of OpenAI, the developers behind the highly popular ChatGPT AI tool, has commented on the recently detected bug that revealed ChatGPT user contact information to other ChatGPT users. Additionally, the bug also revealed the titles of chat conversations to other users through a general scrambling of chat histories. OpenAI's CEO, Sam Altman, has responded to the now-fixed bug, saying OpenAI feels "awful" about what has happened and that events such as this should serve as a reminder to not enter any sensitive information into ChatGPT or any other AI chatbot.

If you are interested in reading more about the bug or would like to learn more about ChatGPT, check out the below links. One of the below stories dives into a man that asked ChatGPT to start a business with just $100.

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Jak joined the TweakTown team in 2017 and has since reviewed 100s of new tech products and kept us informed daily on the latest science, space, and artificial intelligence news. Jak's love for science, space, and technology, and, more specifically, PC gaming, began at 10 years old. It was the day his dad showed him how to play Age of Empires on an old Compaq PC. Ever since that day, Jak fell in love with games and the progression of the technology industry in all its forms. Instead of typical FPS, Jak holds a very special spot in his heart for RTS games.

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