Artificial intelligence is currently one of the hottest topics in the world of technology. With the advancements in AI, machines are now capable of generating images and writing text that is almost indistinguishable from that created by humans. Some of the recent examples of AI-generated art include Midjourney and DALL-E. Additionally, language models like ChatGPT can write convincing text that can fool even the most discerning reader.
There are differing opinions regarding AI-generated art, with some arguing that it undermines the creative efforts of human artists, while others believe it can democratize access to art creation. However, some artists are concerned about the potential loss of jobs due to advancements in artificial intelligence, as their hard-earned and honed skills may become obsolete.
The most recent AI debate I encountered was about this video created by a team of VFX artists. They used AI to create an animated short video by training it on still frames from an anime (Japanese animation) to maintain a consistent animation style. In the video, they discuss how until recently, it wasn’t possible to create convincing videos using AI. Although AI is already great at generating images, creating a video – which is fundamentally a series of still images – was not possible, because each frame would be different, possibly with a different art style. However, recently, improvements in AI animation have made it possible to create a “style guide” for AI, telling it to follow a certain artistic style when generating frames.
This particular use of AI-generated animation has sparked a heated debate, given the notoriously harsh conditions under which animation artists work. Tight deadlines and overwork being the norm in the industry, some artists are strongly against AI, fearing their replacement by machines and the use of their work without consent to train AI models.
However, it is important to also acknowledge the increasing demand for animation, which is the reason for overworking and tight deadlines for animators. Often, this is due to the time-consuming nature of creating trivial elements like backgrounds and key frame animations. Rather than replacing animators, AI could potentially serve as an extension of their creative capabilities, assisting with time-consuming tasks and helping to bring their artistic vision to life. In this way, AI could actually free up animators to focus on more creative and complex aspects of the animation process, ultimately leading to better quality work and a more satisfying creative process.
As the technology continues to advance, it will be important for society to carefully consider the ethical implications of its use in the world of art, striking a balance between its beneficial applications and potential drawbacks for the artists.