Outlook: AI for design & animation
Varick Rosete
Issue: November/December 2023

Outlook: AI for design & animation

The inevitability of AI's presence prompts reflection, and as a seasoned professional in the industry, I find myself wavering between enthusiasm for innovation and a more cautious, conservative mindset.

Having witnessed the evolution from analog typesetting to digital, I understand the transformative power of technology in design. The accessibility of design tools to a broader audience brought both creative liberation and a flood of poorly-designed outputs. The differentiator then became a foundation in art and design principles, emphasizing the importance of understanding the basics in a rapidly changing technological landscape.

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Now, AI presents us with a similar crossroad. The ethical dilemmas of potentially "lifting" others' work aside, AI, in its essence, serves as another tool for designers to wield. In my journey through the design world, I've come to realize that, like seeking references in the early stages of any creative endeavor, AI can be viewed as a resource for inspiration. Whether studying the masters in art class or leveraging AI algorithms, the aim remains the same: to learn, adapt and evolve one's style.

Despite lingering uncertainties, I find myself increasingly inclined to advocate for embracing available technology. To stay ahead of the curve, designers must recognize that AI, while not perfect, is continually advancing. The technology enhances our workflow, offering unparalleled speed in iteration and ideation. Collaborating with AI in the brainstorming process parallels having a team to bounce ideas off, providing valuable insights into the viability of concepts.

The question of AI replacing human designers and animators looms large, but I firmly assert that it is merely a tool — a catalyst for creativity, rather than a threat to our professions. The key lies in those who excel at controlling and managing AI, often referred to as "prompters." These individuals, the conceptors, directors and producers, are at the forefront of utilizing this technology. Instead of fearing job displacement, we should focus on understanding and mastering AI to elevate our roles in the creative process.

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Acknowledging that AI is still in its infancy, we must remain vigilant in keeping pace with its rapid development. The potential to improve our workflows, enhance ideation and streamline execution is undeniable. By viewing AI as a collaborative partner rather than a replacement, designers and animators can harness its capabilities to refine and amplify their creative output.

In conclusion, the debate over whether to embrace AI in design is a personal struggle for many in the industry. However, as we navigate this evolving landscape, it becomes clear that AI is a tool that, when used responsibly, has the potential to augment our creativity, rather than diminish it. The future belongs to those who can adapt, learn and integrate AI seamlessly into their artistic processes, ultimately redefining the role of designers and animators in the digital age.

Varick Rosete is Chief Design Officer of TigerLily (www.wearetigerlily.com), a creative and production studio based in Jacksonville, FL.