In brief: Real-time rendered 3D graphics have come a long way since the 80s, as we can see by Unity's "Enemies" tech demo. Besides the photorealistic human shown throughout the demonstration, it's also worth noting the impressive environments and animations, giving us a glimpse of how games will look before long.
Based on The Heretic, Unity created its Enemies tech demo to show the team's advancements in creating digital humans in real-time to GDC attendees. Highlighting elements such as the photorealistic eyes, hair, skin, the video shows a middle-aged woman playing chess in a transforming room.
The newly developed short made in Unity was built using the engine's new High Definition Render Pipeline (HDRP), Adaptive Probe Volumes, and Screen Space Global Illumination (SSGI). The demo also features ray tracing, DLSS, and other unlisted technologies.
Use of these technologies and features reflects in the character model, as you can see by the pronounced wrinkles, the effect of the blood flow on the skin, the remarkably realistic eyes. However, the team gave some special attention to the model's hair.
The developers used a new three-part Unity Hair solution to create that beautiful long hair. The first part is the hair system, responsible for the authoring, skinning, strand-based simulating, and modeling. Then, the hair shading component improves the visuals based on lighting conditions. The last part is hair rendering, capable of creating extremely thin strands while also reducing aliasing.
Some of the mentioned features are already available in Unity 2021.2, while developers will introduce others in the 2022.1 or 2022.2 versions. The new technologies showcased in Enemies are coming to Unity's Digital Human 2.0 package, which should be out in a month or two. Unity will also release the strand-based Hair system on GitHub.
Those looking to learn more about the demo can watch "The making of Unity's latest flagship demo" for free during GTC. This session is scheduled for Thursday, March 24, 7:00 am PT. Alternatively, you can also see the GDC Nvidia sponsored session (paid) this Friday, March 25, at 3:00 pm PT.