Animate 3D models using your phone with this upcoming Unreal Engine feature

At GDC 2023, Epic Games announced MetaHuman Animator, an upcoming feature set for its MetaHuman framework for creating highly realistic human characters. The set allows developers to turn camera footage of an actor’s face into face animations, bringing them to life in Unreal Engine. Small developers can rival the work of large studios simply by recording an actor’s face using an iPhone and tripod. MetaHuman Animator will create a MetaHuman Identity from the footage in just a few minutes, and the facial rig will mimic the content of that video and apply the expressions to the model.

With MetaHuman Animator, it only takes a few minutes to create a MetaHuman Identity from camera footage. That Identity will then track the performance and apply it to the facial rig. (Source: Epic Games)

The actor whose expressions are being recorded and the person on which the facial rig is made do not have to be the same. Even with different facial features, MetaHuman Animate will re-create the footage’s expression frame-by-frame and translate them. This feature set will be added to the MetaHuman Plugin for Unreal Engine, which means it will be free once it is released.