Metahuman Lighting

Here is a breakdown of my project focusing on animating lights in sequencer and incorporating Metahumans into my workflow.

4/30/20243 min read


The inspiration for this project came from a reel I found while scrolling on Instagram. I was drawn to the contours sculpted out by the alternating lights and wanted to try something similar.

This is the only vertical video I promise.

I started with a test that was incredibly similar to the inspiration, but was having trouble lining up the lights to the music like I wanted. Nevertheless, seeing it come to form here had me inspired to keep expanding on this.

I decided to change to a studio-recorded song rather than a live song so I could hear the beats more clearly. Since I have never grown out of my middle school Fall Out Boy phase, I decided to go with one of their songs.

Now I move on to animation.

Song: Stay Frosty Royal Ice Tea by Fall Out Boy

Getting Started

Metahuman Animator

This is where my 3D face humbled me.

At first, I was intimated by Metahuman Animator, but luckily there were plenty of tutorials created by content creators and Epic alike that helped me get through the process. The biggest hurdle, however, was the fact that I was using 5.4.1 and that led to mismatch of settings. Thankfully, I was able to Frankenstein multiple tutorials together and trouble shoot my problems.

This check-in I was experiencing a lot of trouble with connecting the facial animation with the body, but at the very least it pleased me to see that the idle animation I retargeted onto the metahuman rig looked good.

At this point, I had also made a custom Metahuman based on the idenitiy Metahuman data created.

Once I had both the facial and body animation working in the sequencer, I ran into an issue with the sequencer lagging. Luckily after deliberating with a friend, we had discovered that the animation mode being keyed cause the issue. I had done this originally as I was following a tutorial, but at this point it was not needed anymore and deleting the keys solved the issue and allowed me to move on.

After having some time to think about it, I was not the biggest fan of this metahuman I created. So I went back to metahuman creator and went back to the original vision.

Final touches

Since the bulk of the work on this project lies with the animation data, putting a new Metahuman in took roughly around 10 min. I then baked the animation onto the rig and modified how I desired.

Right as I got to the finish line, I ran into a major roadblock of the hair flickering in render. I attempted to turn off the simulation to stop it from moving, but that bricked the level I was working on. Luckily, I was able to enable the simulation through the asset, and for some reason turning it off and on again worked.


After rendering there wasn't much I wanted to add in comp. I mainly wanted to clean up some lighting artifacts from Unreal and then add some haze/glow.

Stay Frosty

secret text

Overall take aways:

With all the buzz of Unreal 5.4, I decided to try and attempt using Metahuman Animator for the first time.

  • I gained a much better visual understanding of animation curves during this project.

  • Working with Metahuman is not as scary as I thought.

  • Learning from Youtube tutorials is a skill.

  • Most of the time, the problem can be solved by restarting Unreal.

Tutorials Used:

Since lighting is my strength, I decided to start there.

Minor changes in were made that were mostly fixing artifacts of rendering out of Unreal.