TheCGBros CGInsider Newsletter

Editor's Note

Welcome one and all to 2024! Some big things are coming this year and one of the biggest areas will be in AI-generated art.  And as you may already know, AI has changed how artists make cool stuff.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has undeniably revolutionized the landscape of art creation, reshaping how artists conceptualize, produce, and engage with their craft. In recent years, the integration of AI into the artistic realm has sparked an evolution, fostering both fascination and apprehension within the creative community.

The utilization of AI in art creation spans various domains, from generating visual content to assisting artists in their creative process. Generative AI, particularly, has gained traction for its ability to autonomously produce art pieces, blurring the lines between human and machine creativity. These AI-driven systems are capable of generating diverse artworks, ranging from paintings and sculptures to music compositions and literature, often eliciting awe for their ingenuity.

However, alongside its advancements, AI-generated art has prompted critical discussions concerning authenticity, authorship, and ethical implications. Questions still remain regarding the true essence of creativity and the extent to which AI can replicate or complement human artistic expression.

Despite the controversies, AI continues to augment the artistic journey, offering tools and frameworks that assist artists in exploring new creative dimensions. The collaboration between artists and AI introduces innovative approaches, enabling experimentation and pushing the boundaries of traditional artistry.

As we progress further into this AI-infused era, the evolving relationship between technology and art will continue to shape the creative landscape, presenting both challenges and opportunities for artists to navigate in their pursuit of innovation and self-expression.

CGI & The Impacts Of Artificial Intelligence

This month in TheCGInsider Newsletter- January 2024: In an ever-evolving world driven by technological advancements, the intersection of art and innovation has sparked a profound transformation. From the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in creative processes to the resilient adaptation of artists amidst industry challenges, the realm of digital art is undergoing a seismic shift.

Shaking Up The Industry.

In 2023, the digital art industries faced significant challenges. Strikes within the film sector caused a shortage of work for VFX and concept artists, while alterations to social media algorithms made it tougher for artists to maintain their usual level of online engagement. Additionally, the threat posed by AI-generated art became more prominent.

Despite these setbacks, AI-powered tools used by 3D artists continued to advance throughout the year, significantly enhancing efficiency and saving considerable time in their work. However, artists had to adapt to these disruptions by exploring alternative methods to earn income from their art. Some artists even pursued legal action against unauthorized usage of their work to train AI models.

On a positive note, indie game developers expressed enthusiasm for the ongoing improvements in AI-powered tools, recognizing their ability to alleviate tedious tasks. The release of Procreate Dreams also generated excitement, as it promised to make 2D animation more accessible to a wider audience.

An Unstable Industry.

In the art world, having a side gig is becoming increasingly crucial due to the unstable nature of the industry. It’s not enough to rely on just one extra job, which is why artists are seen managing various income sources like Patreon, online shops, active engagement across multiple social media platforms, providing tutorials on YouTube, and live streaming on Twitch.

This trend is a result based on necessity, driven by the fact that gigs in animation and gaming are getting shorter, leading to more frequent cancellations and job layoffs. It’s common for artists to face multiple job layoffs in a single year, and unless substantial changes are made promptly, this pattern is unlikely to slow down.

Even artists with substantial online followings are experiencing reduced engagement, making it increasingly challenging for newcomers to build their audience. Moreover, conventions, which were once reliable, are now more competitive, pushing regular attendees to explore income options through social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok after facing rejection from previously relied-upon events.

Light At The End Of The Tunnel.

Despite these challenges, there is a glimmer of hope amid the difficult times. There also seems to be a positive shift among artists, recognizing the importance of unions and collective action to secure better wages and improve the quality of life in creative fields. We could anticipate a rise in unionization efforts, aiming to bring about structural changes that can restore stability to the creative industry.

While the debate continues to rage, it’s clear to us that these new tools will continue to be beneficial in 3D art, animation, video games, and the VFX industries because historically, 3D workflows are clunky and time-consuming, with rendering taking hours if not days/weeks and months. VFX tasks demand painstaking frame-by-frame edits, making the work highly laborious.

However, AI technology, along with powerful hardware, is rapidly transforming these fields. We’re witnessing real-time 3D rendering in the viewport and tools that automate tedious tasks for VFX artists, fundamentally changing how work is approached.

Enhancing The Work Of Humans.

One take, from Kimball Thurston, Chief Technology Officer at Wētā FX, explains that these technologies aim not to replace humans but to empower them in storytelling. He predicts that in 2024, there will be an increase in AI-infused tools designed to alleviate the burdens of handling complex scenes. These tools aim to let artists focus on the creative aspects of their work by minimizing the more mundane tasks.

He highlights examples like machine learning systems providing real-time depth information on the set, enabling previews of computer-generated elements interacting with live-action actors. These tools facilitate collaboration between directors, actors, and computer-generated components.

While Kimball emphasizes that AI tools are meant to enhance human creativity, he stresses that these tools alone don’t turn a good story into a great one; instead, the most valuable tools for artists will not only save time and money but also aid in extracting better performances, ultimately assisting artists in creating compelling narratives.  This has yet to be born out and many of us will keep our fingers crossed!

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