ANIMATION PRODUCTION with ai
AI animation tools:
The latest aI animation software & tools for professional animation production.
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AI Animation Tools
Animation Script Writing With AI
The first (and easiest) way to get an immediate productivity boost with AI is through using the latest generative AI tools in the earliest stages of production to help write animated explainer scripts.
Tools like Bing Chat and Bard can instantly create ‘certainly good enough’ scripts by providing as much or as little guidance as you like with a text prompt. There are also other platforms (some of which use Chat GPT to do the hardworking in the background through its API) that are focused primarily on script writing.
This immediately impacts copywriters and scriptwriters as agencies and businesses who may have called on their services can now create a rather high-quality script in seconds.
I think there is still a real need for talented scriptwriters, researchers, and subject experts to be involved. They can work faster, provide their style and ensure the script layout hits key points, that facts are accurate and that any VoiceOver or onscreen text will complement any planned animated visuals.
On top of this, there is Grammarly, the popular (and excellent) grammar and spelling assistance, which can help writers of all levels to improve their writing. This has the benefit of improving animation scripts. As well as helping studios improve the copy on their website and in proposals. Little doubt this page would be riddled with a thousand typos and grammar errors without its help.
Grammarly, which has been around for a good few years now, is powered by a mix of rules, patterns, machine learning, natural language processing and artificial intelligence techniques. Find out more about Grammarly here.
• You can use AI to generate usable scripts for business animation today.
• Generative AI means you can produce written content quickly and cheaply.
• The content still needs to be checked to ensure it is accurate.
• A talented writer, creative and subject expert are still needed to hone the perfect script for a business project.
• Grammarly is a superb tool for any content creators toolkit looking to improve (and correct) their writing.
One area of animation production that could see a big impact from AI is storyboarding. The first example of an AI storyboarding tool we've seen so far is Storyboard Hero.
StoryboardHero is an AI-powered platform to help with the pre-production process. The platform is designed to help video agencies save time (and costs) in preparing concepts, scripts and storyboards. Video agencies can then discuss their concepts/storyboards with their clients or prospects and iterate quickly to reach a final validation before starting production.
StoryboardHero is developed by a team with experience in tech but also in video production, which gives them an insight into the specific pain points faced by video agencies. The whole ideation process, from concept to storyboards, can take several days in the traditional process and will be shortened drastically with AI. This allows not only to reduce costs but also to come back to clients much faster.
We will update this info once we try out Storyboard Hero at our own animation studio (when the tool goes live) in the near future.
• New AI tools to 'shake up' storyboard production are coming
• Potential to lower production costs and speed up project development
• Could be well suited to animation clients, small video & animation agencies, or freelancers looking to work quicker
• Creative control and development will still be needed from talented storyboard artists and directors. Still, the potential to speed up their output and storyboard iterations with tools like Storyboard Hero is clear.
Plask (motion) is an intuitive AI software that allows you to create high-quality motion capture animation to implement into 3D productions and drive your character's motion.
What makes Plask different from other motion capture options is the fact that it can create the mocap data from a 2D video source. The AI algorithms interpret the footage to create a fully 3D data set for animators to work with.
Whilst there are some limitations to the complexity of the motion capture compared to full motion capture setups the results are highly impressive and make what was once an option for higher-budget film and animation productions available to a far wider audience.
The tool continues to improve and garner wide attention. Plus shows again how AI can provide benefits to animation production, adding further tools and abilities to an animator's arsenal and lowering the cost of production enabling higher-quality content to be produced for all.
• Quickly create usable 3D mocap data to drive animation
• AI interprets 2D footage input
• Intuitive software UI
• An example of AI making more creative options available to all
As well as the popular AI image creation services that have quickly become popular (i.e. DALL-E, Mid Journey etc). There are already platforms offering the creation of animated clips.
Kaiber is one early company offering pure AI-generated animation. Whilst it's still relatively early days and feels more like a collection of individually thought-out AI-generated static images referencing those that come before more of them. With a bit of trial and error, you can achieve some interesting, unique and useable results. They include a slider that impacts the animation to feel more stable or wild. The potential is clear to see as services like this further improve.
Kaiber gives you the option to submit a visual still image as a visual style reference. Before you then provide a text prompt of what you'd like to happen in the clip and in which style.
They've also just introduced the option to submit video clips (Pro users only) and have it updated with an animation style based on your text prompts as well.
It will then quickly create the clip for review. (*At the time of writing there is high demand for their service, and they're working to quickly scale servers to meet demand)
You're able to signup and try out the service for free with 30 credits provided. Plus they have additional paid pro member options allowing for things like the inclusion of audio and the new video feature mentioned above.
Nvidia Picasso - Upcoming animation and video AI tools
A new plugin for Adobe After Effects that will integrate popular AI-powered image creation Stable Diffusion into an animator's Adobe After Effects software. Allowing them to apply image looks to their videos through text prompts.
It's still early days (and currently in a closed Beta), but it's yet another example of how AI-powered tools are being tailored to boost animation workflows.
It is currently a very basic implementation of Stable Diffusion with img2img; more features are in development and will be added to this plugin.
It's an interesting idea, and we'll be watching this space to see how it evolves and see if Adobe rolls out its own implementation of something similar in time.
• The integration of new AI tools into existing industry-leading animation software is happening right now.
For decades computers have been able to read text aloud and they've always sounded, quite simply, a bit rubbish and completely recognisable as digital computer-based voices. The nuance of a human voiceover has been hard to mimic, with authenticity, pitch, pacing, annunciation, clarity, character, accent, and emotion often missing in their speech. However, recent advances in AI trained on human speech have been able to deliver far higher-quality results.
The rise of AI-driven voiceovers is slowly shaking up the market for professional voiceovers, ideal for use in lower-budget animated explainers, e-learning videos and more. Plus as creatives become more familiar with the tools and the quality and ease of use improve even further there's every likelihood of seeing AI-powered voiceovers being used in higher quality and budget productions going forward.
One we've been utilising at our own studio (at least for early placeholder voiceover) is the AI-generated voiceovers from voicebooking.com. Their recently updated UI allows for the quick creation of an AI voiceover by simply pasting the script, choosing from a small selection of female and male voiceover artists and pressing play. With a small monthly fee, you have the option to adjust pacing and add pauses and emphasis to select words.
Even Adobe Auditon, one popular industry sound editing tool has a text-to-speech function that enables you to create a professional and authentic sounding voiceover from a script. Plus you can train the voiceover to sound like anyone with just a few short samples of the real recorded human voice.
Now with many AI drive voiceover tools appearing on the market like Lovo it will be interesting (as a British male voiceover artist myself) to see how demand for real-world, human, voiceovers is impacted in the immediate and near future.
• AI-powered voiceovers are here and already 'pretty good' but not perfect
• The tools make voiceover production cheap and easy for more creatives
• They provide more creative options
• They directly impact the lower-cost voiceover market
• They're handy for creating a quick animation timing track