How Corridor Digital Made an Anime Without Any Animators or Artists

Corridor Digital AI anime

Corridor Digital, an innovative content creator known for merging technology and creativity, embarked on a ground-breaking mission to construct an anime without the traditional use of animators or artists. This feat, achieved through a mixture of artificial intelligence (AI), Unreal Engine, and a combination of other cutting-edge techniques, has caught the eye of the industry. Here, we delve into the project, the techniques, its benefits and drawbacks, and the surrounding drama and debates.

Turning Reality into a Cartoon with AI Image Processing

Corridor Digital leveraged AI to not just imitate reality but transform it into an animated cartoon. This transformation was enabled by the application of AI algorithms that could introduce and then remove noise, crafting newly detailed images. The basic idea is that you take a picture, introduce noise, and then remove said noise again while adding in new details. In this case the new details that were added were an anime art style. An example of this can be seen in the picture below, provided by Corridor Digital. This noise manipulation technique is an innovative solution that allows anyone to create the classic look of pencil strokes, without the ability to draw.

By utilizing AI to noiseify images, the creators were able to essentially reconstruct them. The issue with this process was that AI was very good at applying this to ONE image, but when applying it to a video of say 24 images a second, the images would flicker. This happened because the AI was adding noise to every single image and then denoisefying it. When doing this the noise added was randomly generated on top of the image, resulting in different outcomes on each image. The solution to this was taking the image and doing the reverse process of denoisefying it. By deriving the noise pattern from each image, random variations could be eliminated, allowing for nearly identical frames. This is revolutionary in animation, removing the challenges caused by traditional frame-by-frame drawing methods.

Model Training

While Corridor Digital had now made significant advances on the flickering issue, a new issue arose. The AI model used a new anime style for each image. Imagine the dogs from Lady and the Tramp, and then imagine Scooby doo. Both are dogs, but both in different styles. Now imagine the AI program that has been trained on hundreds if not thousands of different styles. This caused quite the variation in results when applying the model to multiple pictures. It was therefore necessary to train a specialized model to replicate specific styles and characters, enabling it to emulate a particular aesthetic. This model was crafted using a dataset containing images of desired styles (i.e. taken from a pre-existing anime), including frames from anime, allowing it to learn and replicate the style. This significantly improved the consistency of each frame.

Light flicker Removal

Now the model was able to generate images consistently with the same noise and style. The only issue left was that the AI model would often have different levels of light on each image. The solution to this was rather simple. By applying the deflicker plugin in DaVinci Resolve, the team removed the flickering light. All these processes together created a seamless and consistent moving cartoon character, mimicking both the emotive drive of a human actor on a green screen, but also the specific animated style that only comes from hand animated images.

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The Drama: Community Reactions and Ethical Questions

Excitement and Support

The excitement and support generated by Corridor Digital’s approach signify a craving for innovation within the entertainment industry. By leveraging new technologies, they captured the imagination of a generation eager to see boundaries pushed. Collaborations with tech enthusiasts and various online communities fueled this enthusiasm, leading to a surge in interest in AI-driven creativity.

Skepticism and Concern

However not everyone was on board with the project. Traditional artists and animators, deeply rooted in handcrafted techniques, expressed varying degrees of skepticism and concern. Forums, social media, and industry panels became battlegrounds, where debates over the sanctity of traditional methods versus the allure of technological innovation raged. Some voiced fears about loss of uniqueness, while others were worried about the potential commoditization of art.

Ethical Questions

Automation and Job Displacement

The broader societal question of automation and its impact on employment reached a fever pitch with Corridor Digital’s project. The potential for AI to perform tasks traditionally requiring human input ignited fears of job displacement. Some in the industry called for clear guidelines on how such technologies should be integrated to ensure that the human element in art creation is not lost or undervalued.

Intellectual Property and Style Mimicry

The legal maze of intellectual property rights became even more intricate with the introduction of AI’s ability to mimic artistic styles. Questions arose about the legality of training models on existing works, possibly infringing copyrights. Discussions extended to art schools, legal forums, and even government bodies, as the industry grappled with defining what constitutes originality in an age of algorithmic replication.

Authenticity and Artistic Integrity

Perhaps the most philosophical of the debates was around the authenticity and integrity of art created by machines. Proponents of traditional art techniques argued that AI lacks the human touch, the soul, and the emotional depth that comes from human experience. Others countered that embracing new tools does not diminish art’s value, but rather evolves it. This conversation reached beyond the animation community, engaging philosophers, ethicists, and the broader public, reflecting a profound societal dialogue about the nature of creativity in the age of machines.

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Conclusion: A New Frontier or a Double-Edged Sword?

Corridor Digital’s project symbolizes a turning point in animation and AI models. Its innovation is awe-inspiring, and the democratization it offers has the potential to reshape the industry.

However, the dilemmas it introduces cannot be overlooked. The concerns over quality, authenticity, and the future of the animation profession warrant serious contemplation.

As technology continues to evolve, the blend between human creativity and machine efficiency will remain a contentious subject. Corridor Digital has set the stage for a profound dialogue that could reshape the future of animation, art, and perhaps even the broader spectrum of creative industries. The lessons learned from this project may very well echo through the halls of innovation for years to come, as we continue to navigate the intricate balance between technology’s promise and the timeless value of human touch.