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Face Animation Importer: How to Import ‘MetaHuman Animator’ Recordings into Unreal Engine & Export CSV

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How to Import ‘MetaHuman Animator’ Recordings into Unreal Engine & Export CSV

Audio from recording

If you want to use the audio (that your iPhone captured during your recording) in iClone, you’ll need to find the .mov file that it recorded, then use an audio program (freeware AUDACITY does a good job) to convert it to a 16-bit or 8-bit WAV file.

IMPORTANT: Do NOT create a 32-bit FLOAT WAV file (which is the default in most Adobe programs). iClone is not compatible with 32-bit FLOAT WAV files.

Create an Unreal Editor project

  • Create a new UNREAL 5.2.1 project
    • Film and TV template
    • RAYTRACING on
    • No starter content
  • You must install the MetaHuman plugin from the Marketplace. Then make sure you enable the plugin in EDIT>PLUGINS, say yes to the warning, and restart Unreal:
  • Use BRIDGE to import a MetaHuman.
You must import a MetaHuman into the project BEFORE you follow the steps below. (Otherwise you will create a performance linked to the wrong type of ‘face archetype skeleton’.)

 

 

Capture Source

  • Go to the Content Browser.
  • Go to “ALL > CONTENT“.
  • Make a new folder with the name of your project. It can be called anything really. In my example, I’ll call this “Project Folder“.
  • Open the new project folder that you just created.
  • Make a new folder called “CaptureSources“, and open it.
  • Right click in the blank area of the Content Browser, hover over MetaHuman Animator, then click on Capture Source.

    If you don’t have the MetaHuman Animator option, you haven’t installed the plugin yet. So go to the Marketplace and install it.
  • Rename the ‘Capture Source‘ asset that it has made to be ‘iPhone_‘ and then a description of your iPhone.
  • Now double click the ‘Capture Source‘ asset.
  • Change the CAPTURE SOURCE TYPE dropdown to ‘LiveLinkFace Archives‘.
  • Click the three dots to the right of storage path.
  • In the Windows Explorer browser that appears, select the folder that you transferred over from your iPhone, and click OPEN.
  • Now save this editor window and close it

Capture Manager

  • Go to the TOOLS top menu, and click on CAPTURE MANAGER.
  • The ‘Capture Managereditor window will appear.
  • In the Capture Source tab on the left, click on your capture source.
  • Then in the Footage Ingest tab, click a take.
  • Underneath that, click the folder icon to the left of TARGET FOLDER, and choose where you’d like to store the ingested footage.
  • Now click the ADD TO QUEUE button to the right of the TARGET FOLDER.
  • On the right, a queue item is added, and above that is a button that says IMPORT. Click that.
  • The queue item has a blue progress bar that runs during processing.
  • When the processing is finished, the queue item will have a green tick added, and it will say Succeeded.
  • Now close the ‘Capture Managereditor window.

MetaHumanID

If this is the first time you’re doing this, you should have recorded a Calibration take, and should now follow these steps to create a MetaHuman ID.

If you already have one, you’re all set.

Process ‘MetaHuman Performance’

  • In the Content Browser, go back to your “Project Folder“.
  • Make a new folder, and rename it as “MetaHuman_Performances”.
  • Open the new folder.
  • Right-click, hover over MetaHuman Animator, and click on ‘MetaHuman Performance‘.
  • Rename the new file with the word Performance, underscore, then a custom name for the specific take that you’ll be processing. For example, “Performance_IntroTake1“.
  • Double click the new Performance file.
  • In the editor window that appears, in the Details tab, right near the top, there is a section called “Data”. Twirl it down if it isn’t already expanded. Click on the dropdown for “Footage Capture Data“, and choose your performance take.
  • In the viewport, click the “A” button.
  • IMPORTANT: Change HEAD MOVEMENT MODE to CONTROL RIG. Otherwise the head won’t be processed properly.
  • Scrub through the timeline, and find the START of the section you want to process.
  • In the Details tab, under Processing Parameters, enter that frame number under ‘Start Frame to Process’.
  • Scrub through the timeline, and find the END of the section you want to process.
  • In the Details tab, under Processing Parameters, enter that frame number under ‘End Frame to Process’.
  • Above the viewport, click the PROCESS button.
  • It will go through and process the frames. When it’s finished, in the timeline there will be green frame markers in the DEPTH and VIDEO tracks for the section you have chosen.

Export ‘Animation’

  • Now, above the viewport,  click EXPORT ANIMATION.
  • A dialogue box will popup. Choose a location to save the resulting animation it in your project, then choose a name, and click SAVE.
  • In the next dialogue box, change the ‘Target Skeleton or Skeletal Mesh‘ to be your target Metahuman’s name, underscore, FaceMesh.
  • Then click CREATE.
  • When it finishes exporting, a dialogue box will appear in the lower right corner of your screen.

NOTE: Even if you have the highest spec iPhone (the iPhone 14 Pro Max at time of writing this), it will only export 30hz aka 30fps.

  • Click the link to open the animation you just made.

It will open an editor window, and show your Target MetaHuman being animated by your animation.


IMPORTANT: There is a YouTube video covering the next steps:

Create a Sequence

  • In the Content Browser, create a new Level Sequence (CINEMATICS > LEVEL SEQUENCE), and open it up.
  • In the Sequencer window, drag across your MetaHuman. 
  • Delete the CONTROL RIG tracks (one will be on the Body and one will be on the Face track).
  • To the FACE track, add your newly recorded performance clip.

  • Change the END TIME and END SEQUENCE TIME to be the end of your clip.
  • Go to FILE > SAVE ALL to save your progress.
  • Right-click on the FACE track, hover over BAKE TO CONTROL RIG, then choose the top “Face_ControlBoard_CtrlRig“.

  • In the dialogue box, in the Export section, under Advanced, there are four checkboxes you should turn off (see image below). Turn off:
    • EXPORT TRANSFORMS,
    • EXPORT MORPH TARGETS,
    • EXPORT MATERIAL CURVES
    • and EVALUATE ALL SKELETAL MESH COMPONENTS.
  • Then click CREATE.

Once it finishes processing, in the viewport, the MetaHuman Face control rig should have appeared to the right of your MetaHuman. And in the Timeline, you’ll see a lot of keyframes on the ‘Face_ControlBoard_CtrlRig‘ track.

  • Close the Sequencer entirely.
  • Go to FILE > SAVE ALL.
  • Select the sequence itself in the Content Browser.
  • Go to the top TOOLS menu, then “Execute Python Script”.
  • In the window that pops up, browse to the plugin folder that you downloaded, and open the SCRIPTS folder, and choose the file called “UE_MetaFace2csv.py“.
  • It will then run my special script.
  • A window will pop up – just browse to where you’d like to save the CSV.
  • Follow the onscreen prompts to continue the process.
  • Once it’s finished, your CSV will be saved out.p

 

You’re now ready to import the CSV file into iClone 8 using the ‘FACE ANIMATION IMPORTER’ plugin.

 

NOTE: Want to transfer the head movement as well? Check out these instructions.





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