THE BEGINNING OF THE END?
We have all heard about how robots and AI will begin to take over the majority of jobs. Whole industries will be wiped out, and masses of people will have to find new ways to earn a living in a completely new kind of economy. One area I thought would not be affected, at least not for ages to come anyway, was the realm of art and animation. I may have been wrong.
According to Venture Beat, an animation technology startup called Midas Touch Interactive may be changing the game. The company has a new tool called Midas Creature, which they say uses AI to automate the process of creating animation for 2D characters. That's right. 2D!
The developer, Jaiyi Chong, is a veteran of Pixar, having worked on films such as Toy Story 3, Wall-E, and Up. Using the experience gained on such projects, he created a tool which allows artists and designers to give commands to the software's automation engine which will then interpret the character and figure out how it should move.
According to Midas CEO Kevin He, "Midas Creature is the ideal pipeline for game developers and anyone else looking for a more powerful, efficient, and easy-to-use 2D animation process. The Directable Automated Animation Engine of Midas Creature allows you to create animations you might have previously thought impossible with key frame or Flash animation." The software is currently available, by subscription only, in the Midas Store. They offer both Enterprise and Indie licensing options.
Now you might imagine that the results from this tool are currently simplistic, but let's consider that this is only the beginning. Couple that with how fast technology tends to develop these days, and you can see where this is going. For low budget television animation, the technology here could bring far more to the table than Flash ever did. It could mean much smaller teams, faster development times and even cheaper production budgets!
Now what's going to happen when AI develops to the point where it can do just about anything, or worse, can do everything? Well, let's not forget that cheap cameras, and then cell phones that can shoot up to 4K have made anyone potentially a filmmaker. Still, not everyone has a unique voice. Not everyone has something to say that anyone would else would care to devote their time to. The number of people who can draw well, especially in the digital age, is massive, but only a few stand out a truly successful manga artists.
There's more to art, and more to creation, than the technical aspect. No matter how good it looks, there has to be more. There has to be something behind it. There are still a million little things that come from the human experience that make art relatable to people. This is what people are drawn to in great art. Even when the tools get to the point where they can do anything and everything, they will still be just tools. The AI will never experience being bullied as a child, or growing up gay in a place where it can get you killed, or losing a loved one. These are human experiences. When humans express these things in art, people are drawn to it. No matter how good or successful AI gets, there will always be a place for that.
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