D&D 5E Glory of the Giants' AI-Enhanced Art

The latest D&D sourcebook, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants, comes out in a couple of weeks. However, those who pre-ordered it on D&D Beyond already have access, and many are speculating on the presence of possible AI art in the book.

One of the artists credited is Ilya Shkipin, who does traditional, digital, and AI art. In an interview with AI Art Weekly in December 2022, Shkipin talked at length about their AI art, including the workflow involved.

On Twitter, Shkipin talked more [edit--the tweet has since been deleted but the content is below] about the AI process used in Bigby, indicating that AI was used to enhance some of the art, showing an example of the work.

There is recent controversy on whether these illustrations I made were ai generated. AI was used in the process to generate certain details or polish and editing. To shine some light on the process I'm attaching earlier versions of the illustrations before ai had been applied to enhance details. As you can see a lot of painted elements were enhanced with ai rather than generated from ground up.

-Ilya Shkipin​


ilya.png


ilia2.png


Discussions online look at more of the art in the book, speculating on the amount of AI involvement. There doesn't appear to be any evidence that any of the art is fully AI-generated.

AI art is controversial, with many TTRPG companies publicly stating that they will not use it. DriveThruRPG has recently added new policies regarding transparency around AI-generated content and a ban on 'standalone' AI art products, and Kickstarter has added similar transparency requirements, especially regarding disclosure of the data which is used to train the AI. Many artists have taken a strong stance against AI art, indicating that their art is being 'scraped' in order to produce the content.

UPDATE- Christian Hoffer reached out to WotC and received a response:

Have a statement from Wizards over the AI enhanced artwork in Glory of the Giants. To summarize, they were unaware of the use of AI until the story broke and the artwork was turned in over a year ago. They are updating their Artist guidelines in response to this.

Wizards makes things by humans for humans and that will be reflected in Artist Guidelines moving forward.

-Christian Hoffer​

The artist, Ilya Shkipin, has removed the initial tweet where the AI process is discussed, and has posted the following:

Deleted previous post as the future of today illustrations is being discussed.

Illustrations are going to be reworked.

-Ilya Shkipin​

 

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Nikosandros

Golden Procrastinator
I feel that WotC handled this fairly well, given the circumstances. Yes, maybe the art director could have realized what was happening sooner, but as several other posters mentioned, one year ago there was less awareness about those issues and the current schedule is quite tightly packed, so probably little chance of going back to things that are already green-lit.
 

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TheSword

Legend
I was chatting to the professional artist in our gaming group (has his own Patreon as a base + works off commissions).

He felt that artists in TTRPG would adapt by being the people producing the whole products and not just pictures. That just painting a really good picture wouldn’t be good enough anymore. On the other hand he said some people have always tried to get away with paying as little as possible or nothing for art and some people want to work with an artist, throughout the history of publishing and this wont change that fact.

He also was optimistic about the democratisation of art and the fact that more people could use art to explain what they were thinking which is cool.

That led onto a general discussion about putting the genie into the bottle… though I don’t think anyone wants to see what the modern equivalent of the fall of the Roman Empire looks like.
 

I don't know the budget on illustration in an RPG book, but it's often referred as huge on this board, so I've often wondered if anyone had tried to sell two version of a product, the illustrated one and the text-only one. On top of being a nice gesture for visually impaired customers who wouldn't pay for something they won't benefit from, maybe there is enough demand for the content of an adventure to make it commercially viable. I mean, sure, illustrations can be nice to look at, but it's not like it's useful in game (unless you guys arent describing the bad guys but just showing "there" (which I very rarely do). But maybe a non-illustrated book is a product too stern for our times. And in that case, AI could be a middle ground. Making nice looking illustrations requires work on top of having AI-generated images, so there will be work to do, but an intermediate product with quick-and-dirty illustrations generated by the author himself could maybe work commercially, as an alternative to using stock images that everyone has seen already.
 
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Joe Pilkus

Explorer
I'm honestly intrigued by the entire conversation, but would certainly not prevent myself from purchasing anything that had AI artwork if I genuinely appreciated the artwork. While I'm certainly sensitive to "creatives" as I'm a board game developer and my daughter is a professional stage director, but the tools in our hands now allow us to do things we could never do. The issue is no doubt fraught, and I'll continue to read whatever I can on the subject.
 

I don't know the budget on illustration in an RPG book, but it's often referred as huge on this board, so I've often wondered if anyone had tried to sell two version of a product, the illustrated one and the text-only one.
Artists are usually paid a set price per illustration, So having 2 versions isn't going to reduce the cost of developing the book. Printing the text-only book would be cheaper than the illustrated one, but the savings on that would largely be offset by the increased overhead of having to stock and distribute two different books instead of one.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
It's called Monday Morning Quarterbacking, and the rest of your post is a non sequitur.
It called even a small group of people can't agree on a standard. Thought I would give you another real world example. Like MTG, and D&D departments having separate policies at the same time, even when working in same building.

Lois, “This is Lois reporter for weekly tablet. I am covering the first annual art convention where there seems to be a near riot. The community is split and taking sides. Excuse me artist two what is the problem?”

Thog, “I used berries, egg white, and oil. Make nice painting.”

Thag, “ROCK HAMMER CHISEL. Art should Rock, hammer, chisel only. If was good enough for papa, it good enough…”

Suddenly a herd of T-rex stampede through the crowd.

Thud, “I am greatest visual live artists ever. I got herd of T-rex to eat old ones.”

Lois, “We now take you back to daily starvation.”
 
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It called even a small group of people can't agree on a standard. Thought I would give you another real world example. Like MTG, and D&D departments having separate policies at the same time, even when working in same building.

You're missing the point and making up random examples. Not sure I can make the point any simpler or clearer that it already has been made by myself and many others.
 


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