Visual quality out of the box
The Heretic was created on stock Unity 2019.3 and pushed Unity’s graphics features to the limit, including every possible aspect of the High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP) with the integrated Post-Processing stack, and the Visual Effect Graph. HDRP now ships with built-in Shader Graph master nodes for realistic hair, eyes, and fabric.
Creating photorealistic digital humans is a complex technical challenge. The Heretic is our first attempt to tackle this. We aimed to establish a pipeline and a bar of quality appropriate to this challenge.
Our pipeline combined 3D and 4D scanning to obtain high-quality textures and poses and believable, realistic movement. It’s based on the services of commercially available vendors: Infinite Realities for high-quality scanning, Russian 3D Scanner for highly accurate data pre-processing, and Snappers for facial rigging.
The 4D scanned data, which preserves the realism of the actor’s performance, is supplemented by bringing back the microsurface details, wrinkles, pores, etc., obtained from 3D scanning. This approach gives better results than using the two techniques individually. We completed the pipeline for the reconstruction of the digital human by attaching the eyelashes, eyebrows, stubble, and hair with the help of dedicated attachment tools.
The digital human character model with a demo scene is now available for download on GitHub. You can use it as a learning resource or for non-commercial projects.
The technology we developed for our complete data pipeline, from the acquisition of 3D and 4D data through processing and into set up in Unity is also available on GitHub. You're free to use these in your commercial productions and build on top of them as you see fit.
Both the digital character and the technology stack are also in this Unity Asset Store package.
At Unite Copenhagen, Technical Artist Adrian Lazar and Unity Evangelist Andy Touch explained how the team used the Visual Effect Graph to bring the Morgan character to life. By creating the simulation with GPU particles, the artists can change the shape, gender, appearance, and behavior of the character and see their adjustments in real-time.
The Morgan character asset is now available for you to download and import into your projects.
Behind The Heretic
Get behind-the-scenes insights into our work on The Heretic, and advice on how to get started with The Heretic assets, HDRP lighting, and more.
The technology behind “The Heretic”
Watch programmers Robert Cupisz and Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen Digital Dragons 2019 talk to learn more about how The Heretic was created, including a detailed breakdown of our Digital Human 4D data pipeline, and the creation process for the character Boston.
Our high-fidelity demos showcase Unity’s continuous advancements in real-time rendering. Our Demo team has won two Webby Awards and is much lauded at film festivals and online.
About Unity’s Demo productions
Focusing on graphics, the Demo team explores what is possible with Unity and pushes its limits through autonomous creative projects. The team consists of experienced game professionals led by Creative Director Veselin Efremov, who writes and directs the demos and is responsible for their final look.
They are willing and able to take the risk – and absorb the pain – of basing entire productions at the bleeding edge of technological innovation.
Lasse Jon Fuglsang Pedersen
Animation Director, Tech Animation Lead
Lead 3D Artist
Plamen “Paco” Tamnev
3D and 4D scanning
4D data pre-processing
Anders Brogaard Jepsen
Camera Motion Capture, Color Grading
Pole Position Production
Advanced Facial Rig
Scanned Environment Assets
courtesy of Quixel
Unity Technologies R&D
Sebastien Lagarde, Thomas Hourdel, Kuba Cupisz, Jesper Mortensen, Tim Cooper, Yibing Jiang, Marie Fétiveau, Jean Blouin, Julien Fryer, Paul Demeulenaere, Sean Thompson, Rune Stubbe, Julien Ignace, Francesco Cifariello Ciardi, Tobias Alexander Franke, Aras Pranckevičius
Special thanks to Natasha Tatarchuk
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