Thursday, May 21st, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

Download Unity’s free digital asset packs for The Heretic

Originally posted on 14 May 2020. Scroll down for details of the new asset available.

Unity Technologies has made key digital assets used to create The Heretic available to download for free. Content available includes the short film’s lead 3D character and the cutting-edge facial animation system.

A technical milestone in displaying photorealistic digital humans in Unity
Previewed at GDC 2019 and released earlier this year, seven-minute short The Heretic was created in order to develop key technology required to display photorealistic digital humans in the Unity game engine.

Although the demo was created in Unity 2019.3, which shipped earlier this year, this is the first public release for some of that custom technology.

In its blog post, Unity Technologies writes: “While a lot more work remains to be done in the future, we’re sharing what we have today, so that you can look into the current state of our efforts.”

Download the facial animation system and 3D character used in Unity’s The Heretic demo
There are two asset packs available, one containing the demo scene itself and the star of the short, Gawain, available as a rigged 3D character.

The other contains the experimental new technical tools developed to create ths short, including the facial animation system, skin attachment system and skin, eye, teeth and hair shader graphs.

The facial animation system is designed to ingest a sequence of meshes captured over time, and integrates a rig created by facial animation specialists Snappers Systems, which can be posed directly in Unity.

Updated 21 May 2020: Unity Technologies has made a second character from The Heretic available to download, although unlike Gawain, ‘she’ isn’t a conventional character model.

Shape-shifting entity Morgan was created using the engine’s new-ish VFX graph, and is based on an underlying skinned mesh that can be morphed between male and female states.

The base mesh is used to drive separate particle and fire effects, as shown in the video above. The character can also be made to disintegrate completely into a cloud of fragments.

System requirements and licence conditions
The assets from The Heretic demo are available as a free download from the Unity Asset Store, or can be cloned from GitHub.

To use them, you will need to be running Unity 2019.3.12f1 or above with version 7.3.1 or above of Unity’s High Definition Render Pipeline. They should work on all platforms supported by the HDRP.

According to Unity, users are “free to use these tools in your productions and build on top of them as you see fit”, but the 3D character is licensed for non-commercial use only.

Download the free 3D character and facial animation system from Unity’s The Heretic demo

Download the free ‘VFX character’ from The Heretic demo