AI in Animation


Much of the AI used in day-to-day animation production is relatively invisible, behind-the-scenes work: colourization, removal of unwanted objects, denoising, rotoscoping (animating a character or scene to match a live action reference), lip-syncing, automating workflows, adding 3D depth or new features to still images, etc. Although these areas are important in current animation production, they are not represented here precisely because they are, by design, largely invisible.

AI is an ever-evolving concept. What was considered AI ten or twenty years ago may no longer be a part of contemporary practice or research. For the purposes of this survey of AI in animation, we have used a broad definition of AI to present a wide variety of approaches, including: the latest neural network techniques; computer simulation of materials; algorithmic animation defined partly by the computer; and autonomous agents that collectively create crowd or battlefield scenes. Each of these featured animations is the result of a collaboration between human artists and animators and their computer and software tools, which in various ways augment and automate the animation process.

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Colors and the Kids (CATK), Shroooms (excerpt), 2016–19, video animation, Courtesy of Colors and the Kids (CATK)

Deep Dream Generator, The Gate to a Deep Dream (excerpt), 2020, video animation, Courtesy of Deep Dream Generator

Sil Van der Woerd and Jorik Dozy, Studio Birthplace, Park Village, Wasteminster: A Downing Street Disaster (excerpt), 2021, video animation, Courtesy of Studio Birthplace

Nerdy Rodent, AI Generated Animations (excerpt), 2022, video animation, Courtesy of Nerdy Rodent

Ouchhh Studio, AI Van Gogh (excerpt), 2021, video animation, Courtesy of Ouchhh Studio

Tobias Gremmler, Kung Fu Visualization (excerpts), 2016, video animation, Courtesy of Tobias Gremmler

Ouchhh Studio, “Say Superstrings” (excerpt), 2019, video animation, Courtesy Ouchhh Studi

Rupert Burton, Method Design,  AICP 2016 Sponsor Reel (excerpt), 2016, video animation, Courtesy of Method Design