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How serious is the threat of AI to toy design?


adrienveidt
(@adrienveidt)
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Just had the idea that AI being able to generate volumetric 3DPrint files can't be too far away and fearing how badly toy design will suffer once 'they' get their hands on it.  Would y'all buy such figures if you knew one had been designed by AI?


   
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(@franciebrady)
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I think it would come down to so many variables...mainly who is making the figure and price. I'd be interested to futz with a cool fig regardless of who or what made it, but I also don't want to throw money at potential job hindrance, loss, etc. It would be a cool project either way, so...yes, maybe!


   
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Fletch
(@fletch)
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Knowing AI's problems with numbers of fingers, maybe that's how we got this Ch'od.


   
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Red Ogre
(@red_ogre)
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I don't know yet how I'd react. I think it's interesting to know where the supporters of Megalopolis (whatever their new name is) and Bobby Vala who defend their purchases (I'm not saying you need to defend them, it's your money) by saying they separate the art from the artist.
I don't think it's much concern. Like @fletch said, AI can't get the number of fingers right. There are razor thin tolerances in toy making, ensuring that all limbs, accessories, armors, and joints etc don't impede each other. Current AI has trouble with 2D images, they'd probably make great Cronenberg body horror in 3D by complete accident.


   
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Niko (formerly Jead)
(@protozoalord)
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It's not a threat. AI generation software for 3d models end up with bloated, lumpy, assymetric models. The time it would take to not only generate an action figure, but have it cleaned up, fixed, and prepped by an actual sculptor would be 2-3x the time it'd take for a sculptor to just do it themselves. 

I freelance for a tech company that focuses on machine translation of various kinds of comics and manga, etc. Machines can't tell the difference between a squiggle on a face and a block of text, what you get out of it is incoherent mess. I'm just a lettering guy, but all the translators I've worked with just completely discard that "work" and do it from scratch.

Making a toy is a way more complex task than just translation. Way more resource intensive, and still require all the same people hired. Adding a meaningless step to the process would just burn a lot of extra money and time.


   
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adrienveidt
(@adrienveidt)
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Posted by: @red_ogre
Like @fletch said, AI can't get the number of fingers right.

AI absolutely CAN get the number of fingers right.  All the shit we see with mutant hands is coming from lazy-ass AI Artists Search Term Shoppers that simply show off the first result and don't refine from that.  That ain't remotely the limit of what AI is capable of *right now*, much less this time next year or thereafter.

 

Posted by: @protozoalord

It's not a threat. AI generation software for 3d models end up with bloated, lumpy, assymetric models. The time it would take to not only generate an action figure, but have it cleaned up, fixed, and prepped by an actual sculptor would be 2-3x the time it'd take for a sculptor to just do it themselves. 

I freelance for a tech company that focuses on machine translation of various kinds of comics and manga, etc. Machines can't tell the difference between a squiggle on a face and a block of text, what you get out of it is incoherent mess. I'm just a lettering guy, but all the translators I've worked with just completely discard that "work" and do it from scratch.

Making a toy is a way more complex task than just translation. Way more resource intensive, and still require all the same people hired. Adding a meaningless step to the process would just burn a lot of extra money and time.

There's a whole lot of conclusive certainty here, brother.  Ultimately it's an issue of one corporation (AI creators) working to create their own profit and other companies (Hasbro, etc) looking to cut every damn cost they can so the useless suits can get every damned penny they can for their golden parachutes and there's *somebody* at every one of the (major) toy companies looking at the cost/benefit ratio of choosing to not hire an independent contractor sculptor versus a subscription fee to an AI; and there absolutely will come a day when that ratio is no longer in the independent contractor's favor.

 


   
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Niko (formerly Jead)
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@adrienveidt that's just the thing though, AI cannot do everything and these companies will still need to hire independent contractors to clean up that output and give the final product a human touch, much like my company does.

And in the (likely far) future let's say there is a day that "AI" can do most of the process. My theory is that there can and will be laws and regulation put in place to protect actual artists from being put out of their jobs, far before the possibility is a reality for action figures.


   
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TheSameIdiot
(@tsi)
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Posted by: @protozoalord

@adrienveidt that's just the thing though, AI cannot do everything and these companies will still need to hire independent contractors to clean up that output and give the final product a human touch, much like my company does.

And in the (likely far) future let's say there is a day that "AI" can do most of the process. My theory is that there can and will be laws and regulation put in place to protect actual artists from being put out of their jobs, far before the possibility is a reality for action figures.

In the United States??? The country that almost always puts capital over labor? I don't see it, but I hope you're right.

I haven't chimed in on this because I'll probably wind up writing a novel. The thought experiment I've been using with AI is what if AI writes the best movie ever made? The first time I thought about it, I came to the immediate conclusion that I wouldn't give a fuck. The interesting thing about art is people expressing themselves. Sometimes art says something enlightening about the human condition. Sometimes it says something funny. Sometimes it doesn't say anything of value at all.

I'll grant you action figures aren't a 1:1 with a great screenplay. Action figures, at least in my view, are mostly merchandise. That said, there is artistry in it. It's sculpture. It's paint. It's (generally) recreating a 2D image in 3D form.

There may come a time when if I want to buy an action figure, it will be impossible to buy one that hasn't been made--at least in part--by AI. But for now, I'm comfortable in saying I'm not interested. Make the best action figure around. If it's a job humans want to do then we shouldn't give it to a machine.*

* especially a machine that steals all it knows without paying royalties

 


   
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Niko (formerly Jead)
(@protozoalord)
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@tsi I do have my worries, I am an underpaid freelancer myself, but I theorize that when AI writing is passable enough to replace writers or other artists, there will be strikes that may result in laws should they be successful. And hopefully those will be vague enough to catch most artistic industries before it's even a possibility for toys and collectibles. Too hopeful of me? Probably, bad habit. We'll see!

I'm with you though. With action figures, movies, television, novels, comics, whatever, the appeal for me is how the human soul is expressed. If the industry actually replaces the artists with a factory line, I'm out. Though I'm happy saying that isn't any time soon.


   
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(@salemcrow)
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Considering there are PEOPLE who can't properly design action figures, and they STILL get work, I'm willing to see what AI could generate as a base offering.


   
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(@mrboshek)
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Back when the Street Humans Kickstarter was ending I brought up using AI to brainstorm or get ideas for action figures.  I thought I had dozens of decent mock-ups at lunch while eating a sandwich.  At the time, I was thinking about the AI as a tool to inspire some decent action figure tropes rather than dudes in tank tops and cargo pants/jeans.

The hands are getting better

It's impressive how it's been less than 18 months of widely available image generators.


   
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