Character creation using AI
Being a trained 3D artist he started playing with a set of AI applications, giving life and a story to characters that technically are 2 dimensional – but feel 3D animated. German artist Cornel Swoboda stretches each AI application to its fullest in his creation process. And he’s very excited to see what applying the same technique can bring to 3-dimensional space. Can AI mimic or eventually even replace character artists in the future?
You’ve been using Midjourney AI in some of your character creations. Can you describe how you technically go about?
– It’s pretty straightforward. I’m using AI to create the base image for further refinement and to try out ideas quickly. Midjourney excels on the arty side, Dall-E is stronger for realism. By the time I’m writing this, Stable Diffusion is making big waves too. I love carrying the results over to Photoshop first, separating objects, fixing faces, building the final image from different parts/variants of the same prompt, and then continuing to animate everything in After Effects. I also use other AI tools for more specific tasks, like upscaling, depth extraction, and changing facial expressions. And that’s all 2D.
What’s the most exciting part of mixing AI-generated art with your own artwork?
– My background is in 3D design, but I currently don’t mix it with AI art. Although I add 2,5D parallax and displacement effects that allow some pseudo-3D angles to a certain extent. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the 3D industry, like 3D model generation through a prompt or enhancing the render with AI. This is where I will jump back in.
“Finally, this year he was allowed to join the delegation. The journey would take them a month and they had to cross the mountain range, carrying all those heavy gifts. Apichu, the merchant of his village, has visited their cities before. He assured him that the centipede people were mostly harmless, despite being very strange. Inti still felt frightened. He heard stories of their living pale god and what he did to those Conquistadors that came looking for his gold.”
Where do you think the potential is in using AI in character design? How do you see people making use of it in their workflows?
– For character design? It’s variants. Being able to create lots of variants and explore an infinite amount of ideas in no time, that’s a real game changer for me. What took me days and weeks previously, can now be achieved in hours. It’s absolutely wild and often overwhelming. A new part of the workflow then becomes curation. The ability to select and art direct. To be precise with a text prompt, yet accept a certain amount of randomness. That’s a new set of skills that needs to be acquired.
Do you think machines will ever be able to generate interesting art by themselves?
– Absolutely, they already are. But do machines understand what they are doing? In the end, it will be us humans who decide what we find interesting. For now.
What potential technologies in 3D character creation are you curious about that you haven’t already explored?
– I plan to dive deeper into AI-generated content creation, especially exploring the AI tools capable of animation (Disco Diffusion, etc) and the combination of different tools to mix things up a little. Being an animator I always want to see my images in motion, so all new technologies that take a new approach to character creation and animation are welcome. In regards to 3D, there’s also Unreal 5 and its Meta Humans editor, I’m very curious about trying out this year.
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“Gothic Marilyn, made with a bunch of AI tools. Stable Diffusion to create the base image, Dall-E for the inpainting, Reface for the animation, AVC Labs Video Enhancer AI to upscale the results and good old After Effects for colour grading and editing.”
Who are your favorite digital creators right now?
Dom Qwek – instagram.com/domqwek
Olaf Blomerus – instagram.com/olafblomerus
Paul Chadeisson – instagram.com/paulchadeisson
Douggy Pledger – instagram.com/douggy_pledger
Dexamol – instagram.com/dexamol
Most creatives struggle to fit experimental work into an already squeezed work schedule. What’s your best advice for them?
– Accept the struggle. A day has 24h for all of us. Don’t take things too seriously, but also push hard on those things you’re truly passionate about. Personally, I find it easier to chip away time from other things I do in the evening (like mindlessly watching Netflix), than finding the motivation to return to the computer after dinner. Best advice I can give is to close your browser tabs, avoid social media for an hour, and just start working on something. And learn how to finish things. Sometimes less is more but you don’t see it because you are overthinking it. Finished is better than perfect. And then upload it and move on.