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Metahumans – the future of empathetic education?

Technology is moving fast, and here at 11 London we’re moving with it. The last few years have been a whirlwind of new, accessible software and technology, changing the way we interact both on and offline. Now, Metahumans (powered by Unreal Engine 5) are just one of many innovations launching in the digital marketing space.

But what is a MetaHuman? And what does Unreal Engine do? We’ve taken a look, and thought we’d share our findings with you.

First off, Unreal Engine is a real-time graphics tool used for the creation and development of 3D media. Mainly used in the production of video games; it’s currently the driving force behind over 2 million of them, as well as architectural and automative visualization, and film and television graphics content.

Unreal Engine 5 is the fifth instalment and update to this engine and the biggest one yet, with over 16,000 digital assets on the inbuilt marketplace, and a developer community of over 7 million users. It is one of the most open, powerful and advanced 3D creation tools and, with this new fifth instalment, is royalty-free for all users unless a product exceeds one million dollars in gross revenue.

So where do MetaHumans come in? MetaHuman is a framework powered by the Unreal Engine 5 tool that allows for the creation and animation of highly realistic human characters. Using the MetaHuman creation tool, human faces and bodies can be replicated or created from scratch. These models can then be rigged and audio-synced and animated ahead of time, or face-rigged and used as a virtual avatar in real-time.

Jonathan Cole’s study ‘Empathy needs a face’ shows how ‘Human appearance and emotional expressivity may heighten empathy by enhancing the brain's ability to simulate being in another person's place’. Metahumans could be key in improving empathetic connection within healthcare training, as well as adding an exciting and engaging edge to medical conferences, talks and videos.

Many patients undergoing serious treatments may be unable to sit for extended video recording sessions, due to fatigue or other side-effects. But with audio-sync software and the power of Unreal Engine’s animation tool, these patients could submit their own voice recordings and have the rest built in a completely virtual environment. A MetaHuman can be created to replicate the patient themselves, or to create an entirely new face.

If you want to find out more about MetaHumans, or about what they could do for you, let’s have a chat.

Sam Haines, Digital Project Manager


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