Animation has long been considered the most creatively liberated medium, but it has also been one of the least democratized. The process of animating a movie requires incredibly skilled artists to draw every single frame, making it difficult and expensive to produce. However, a new technology known as diffusion is changing the game by allowing computers to generate images from noise, making it possible to turn reality into a cartoon.
The diffusion process involves using machine learning algorithms to analyze noise and generate an image. Six months ago, a YouTuber named Hops uploaded an experiment using this technique to process Jurassic Park into a low-poly Zelda style. By “noiseifying” the image and then reversing it back into an image, Hops was able to create a consistent, moving, emotive cartoon character.
With this breakthrough, Nico, a member of the YouTube channel Corridor Digital, decided to make an anime using this new technology. Nico and his team filmed themselves in front of a green screen and then trained an AI model to trace their images in a cartoon style. They also used free software to create a consistent environment in which to place their anime characters.
The result was a two-month anime about rock-paper-scissors, complete with a real anime-style soundtrack. While there were some AI jankiness and interpretive elements involved in the animation process, the end result was stunning and proved that AI-powered animation could be a game-changer in the world of creativity.
The democratization of animation through AI-powered technology could open up a whole new world of possibilities for artists and filmmakers. By removing the need for expensive and time-consuming hand-drawn animation, more people will be able to explore the creative possibilities of animation. As Nico says, “everyone openly shared knowledge with us, so we want to contribute our knowledge and put it out there so that you can go and make animations and people can experiment.”
In conclusion, the diffusion process is just one example of how AI-powered technology is changing the way we approach creativity. From music to art to animation, AI is revolutionizing the creative process and making it accessible to more people than ever before. As we continue to explore the possibilities of AI, who knows what other breakthroughs we may uncover?