Does Artificial Intelligence Pose a Threat to Animators?
The subject of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on society has always been marred with controversy. There are those who sing songs in its praise and then there are the naysayers who are predicting doom and gloom. Whichever the case, it is generally agreed upon that artificial intelligence is becoming more and more ubiquitous with each passing day.
WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
No matter what people say, artificial intelligence is here to stay. Whether it’s SIRI or self-driving cars that deliver pizza or people, artificial intelligence is progressing at a rapid pace. Movies have always portrayed AI as robots that have human features and can do everything that we do, just better and quicker. But the reality is that AI is making its way into all industries in a very subtle way. Most people don’t even realize they are interacting with AI.
A good example of this is the chat-bots that we interact with. The use of AI in chatbots has progressed so much that it can take care of almost entire conversations without giving itself away.
Another example that almost all people interact with on a daily basis are the games that we play online with an AI-based competitor. May it be chess, billiard, or anything else.
AI IN ANIMATION
Like every other industry, AI has started making its way into the graphics and animation industry in a big way. People are using AI to compose music, edit photographs, and much more. Even though it might look like it will affect animators in a big way, top animators and designers are looking at it from an entirely different angle.
TAKING CARE OF TEDIOUS TASKS FOR ANIMATORS
According to leading artists, AI will immensely help them take care of the routine and mundane tasks that are attached to animation. AI will help them complete all the time-consuming processes so that animators can focus on other potential tasks. No matter how passionate or creative an animator is, the truth of the matter is that most of their time is taken by simple and tedious tasks like animating hair, and clothes, and walking off a character or splashing water.
Do more with less
Now with the emergence of AI in the field of animation, animators have a lot fewer minutiae to take care of. These small yet time-consuming steps are complex enough and tedious enough to make an animator’s job really challenging. However, now that AI can expedite these menial tasks, it can help animators boost their creative prowess. And, with the additional time that they get, they can work towards making their vision a reality.
Journey to uncharted territories
As Artificial intelligence proliferates throughout the animation industry, animators are aiming higher than they have ever aimed before. They are pushing the boundaries of their creativity and coming up with innovative and creative ideas that can cut through the noise of the existing landscape.
Simplify the complex
AI is not only good enough to take care of our tedious and meticulous tasks, it can also take away the burden of the complex processes. Researchers at Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence and the University of Illinois used more than 25,000 three-second clips from the original cartoon “Flintstones” and entered them into an AI system. Based on these three-second clips, the system was able to produce new clips related to the text that was given to it. For example, if the text description was for a scene where Fred Flintstone was talking to his wife, the system will give you that clip.
The AI system used all the previous clips to find out the environment and then place all the characters involved as well as props to animate them accordingly. The content that was delivered was seamless and took a fraction of the time that it would have taken animators to do it.
The Democratization of Animation
Not only does AI help animators save their time, but it also levels the animation field. High-quality animation has always carried a hefty price tag with it. With AI on the scene, aspiring animators can have the same chance that a big production house has of making memorable animations at low costs.
WHAT MORE CAN AI DO?
Creating content is just a part of what AI is capable of, according to leading animators. It has the potential to create an impact on gaming, motion analysis, and even robotics in the future. As AI is speeding up the animation process, new and unheard-of ways of operating are being found. AI is enabling artistic abilities that animators didn’t know they had before or never had the time to pursue them. And that is how it has always been. Starting from the invention of wheels to AI, every time something came along, humans have started working on the next big thing.
Now companies are vying to add AI-based tools into their software that can speed up the workflow and reduce the toil and grind for the artists so they can have more time to experiment.
Taking care of the Aesthetics
AI has a lot more to offer than reducing animation time and creating content. Now there are AI-based software that can auto-color entire comics or videos with just a little guidance from the animator. All they need are black and white lines and the AI system will take care of the rest. It still has a few kinks like unpredictable results and cleanups, but it has a lot of potential and it can be used in a variety of ways by studios and animators.
This technology can really play a huge role in 2D and 3D video animation and give the artists the time to experiment more with their work instead of sitting at their desks coloring the animation frame by frame.
Who doesn’t know Thanos? Nobody, that’s who. In the Avengers series, the team of animators used artificial intelligence and other sophisticated software to turn Josh Brolin into Thanos for Avengers: Infinity War. They used a highly advanced AI algorithm to map Josh Brolin’s face and identify all the changes that it goes through for every emotion. This included the changes that were visible as well as those that were not visible like wrinkles and subtle changes to the corner of the mouth.
Although artificial intelligence is taking away a lot of the artist’s control, creativity is still something that is profoundly human. AI does not have what it takes to replace our creative spark. The more AI takes over the routine parts of our jobs, the more it will enable animators to come up with different ideas and explore new avenues. For the average animator, it does pose a risk. But if you are creative and talented, you have nothing to fear and a lot to look forward to.