An ‘experiment' gone wrong as Netflix Japan uses AI to create their newest short film called 'The Dog & The Boy’. The internet has been doing its thing as it calls Netflix Japan out for using artificial intelligence (AI) software to create the backgrounds of the anime.
On January 31, Netflix Japan and Wit Studio proudly announced their newest animated short film on Twitter stating "As an experimental effort to help the anime industry, which has a labour shortage, we used image generation technology for the background images of all three-minute video cuts!" – translated from Japanese.
Their statement infuriated a number of people in the Twitterverse, especially anime artists.
Netflix アニメ・クリエイターズ・ベース×技術開発のrinna株式会社×WIT STUDIOによる共同プロジェクトアニメ『犬と少年』のショートムービー。— Netflix Japan | ネットフリックス (@NetflixJP) January 31, 2023
Many fired comments back at Netflix stating that there are no labour shortages and that it was just Netflix finding an excuse not to pay anime artists accordingly and devaluing their work which has taken years to perfect.
There are also comments pointing out that many animators are out there looking for work and struggling — basically saying Netflix’s excuse was just a cop-out. This is issue number 1.
At the end of the video, Netflix provides a brief visual explanation of how the film’s background images actually started off with human work, used AI generation for the second and third steps and were ultimately finished off by (human) hand.
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Alongside the visuals, the credits listed the background designer as “AI (+ Human)”. This is issue number two; the ‘human’ artist or artists basically weren’t mentioned by name, which fuelled the fire even more.
R we supposed to believe actual artists couldn't this? Expected more rom @WIT_STUDIO. The anime world should be up in arms after being reduced a token "+ human" in credits. This is a slap on faces of lifetime's worth of blood, sweat & tears anime artists spend honing their craft pic.twitter.com/xB5cArJmwq— Jinath Hyder🇨🇦 (@JinathHyder) February 1, 2023
Others mentioned that the backgrounds didn’t look that great and some went as far as saying they are cancelling Netflix altogether.
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AI-generated work has been increasing over the past few months with text-to-image AI platforms, music AI generators and, of course, ChatGPT which has been all the rage — could this chatbot be Mixmag Asia’s newest writer?
Miki Kitasako is Mixmag Asia’s Social Media and Content Producer, follow her on LinkedIn.