WotC WotC: 'Artists Must Refrain From Using AI Art Generation'

After it was revealed this week that one of the artists for Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants used artificial intelligence as part of their process when creating some of the book's images, Wizards of the Coast has made a short statement via the D&D Beyond Twitter (X?) account.

The statement is in image format, so I've transcribed it below.

Today we became aware that an artist used AI to create artwork for the upcoming book, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. We have worked with this artist since 2014 and he's put years of work into book we all love. While we weren't aware of the artist's choice to use AI in the creation process for these commissioned pieces, we have discussed with him, and he will not use AI for Wizards' work moving forward. We are revising our process and updating our artist guidelines to make clear that artists must refrain from using AI art generation as part of their art creation process for developing D&D art.


-Wizards of the Coast​


F2zfSUUXkAEx31Q.png


Ilya Shkipin, the artist in question, talked about AI's part in his process during the week, but has since deleted those posts.

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 Shlipin​

 

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Got some evidence?

I mean largely circumstantial, but I've been pretty open that this is my personal feels. Though I feel also it's just as valid as everyone trying to claim this was an innocent mistake. I mean, we know that the D&D side of things did not previously have the same sort of aversion to AI art that MTG does because MTG actually banned it. This has been noted by multiple artists even though it doesn't seem to be a public statement:


The lack of these tells me that they either didn't choose a side or were at least somewhat open to the idea. I also still believe that it is hard to look at those pictures and not at least know something is up. God help me, I'd like to think they are more competent than that, because that human with what kind of resembles a bow poking through the muddled stump that might be a closed hand is... well, it feels insulting that they didn't know.

And honestly, I kind of don't really see a difference given that other companies have taken an active stance on this (including their other major brand!); not taking a stance and allowing it to happen through laziness is just as bad as planning it. I just choose to believe this was an active experiment, even if it were a small one, rather than them being so lazy that they are letting that sort of stuff pass through.
 

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Eubani

Legend
That's because you're missing the point. It's not about 'technology replacing jobs'. It's about art being plagiarized and copied without renumeration, sometimes even to the point where you can see the actual signatures of artists in the final piece. The issue is the data sets.
I understand that point, I was discussing another point. At any rate I agree you do the work and you get paid for it till copyright runs out.
 

That's because you're missing the point. It's not about 'technology replacing jobs'. It's about art being plagiarized and copied without renumeration, sometimes even to the point where you can see the actual signatures of artists in the final piece. The issue is the data sets.
I don't think many artists would be happy about being put out of work by generative AI even if that AI was trained on an ethically sourced dataset. In 10 years we may have a situation where some established artists are getting rich off residuals from their contributions to AI datasets, while anyone new trying to enter the field as a professional artist is just SOL.
 

Art Waring

halozix.com
One concern that I have as an analog visual artist are lead times and the production time for actual art.

Real art, analog or digital (& I do both) takes time. A lot of time, effort, and a lot of trial and error to get to the point where something feels unique.

Some easier pieces can take up to two weeks, involved pieces a few months, and some of my art has literally gone through multiple stages over the course of years to reach a state of completion.

ai-tools can do all that in a few short moments, and as an analog artist it's pretty depressing (the fact that people only care about the final output, not the work it takes to get there).

I have devoted years to producing my own ttrpg, commissioning multiple artists over the past two years, and I am still commissioning more art and I am currently about halfway through the process with the current artist I am working with, with realistically at least another five to six months to go for that step in the process.

The OGL debacle also set me back by at least a year as I have had to abandon my previous OGL-based project completely to work on my own in house system. With all these setbacks, I don't see that it's possible to compete with a creator that decides to cut corners and use ai-tools. I also can't afford make a full-color interior book, so its going to be black and white (with possibly a bit of color), another mark against the project when trying to compete with full-color ai-generated images.

While I try and do right by the artists I work with, I don't know if the project will succeed by its own merits. I am largely unknown, and this is my first ttrpg project, so I don't have the same support as an established creator. I'm cool with that, I am just expressing the difficulty of getting your work out there and finding an audience.

-Final Note: As an experienced artist of over 23 years, I can tell you that ATM its almost impossible to get your work noticed if you aren't making art that is mainstream-pop art (both due to public preferences and algorithms). If its impossible now, how are working artists expected to compete with the potential deluge of ai-generated content in the future?
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
It's amazing how with some jobs being replaced by technology the answer by the public is a shrug of the shoulder at most whilst with others it is pitch forks and torches.

Has a whiff of entitlement to me tbh. Luddites. Few posters opposed to it seen to have no problem with various other issues (eg Apple, Amazon, hell WotC) and theyre playing the ethics card.

The basic issue with generative AI is not simply about loss of jobs.

It is about how generative AI depends upon prior art. Generative AI does not function if not trained on real data, which to date has generally been acquired by breaking copyright. They are, in effect, stealing from artists to make themselves independent from artists.

That's where comparison to most other automation fails. Automation that replaces, say, physical labor, does not actually need prior physical labor to function.

If those who trained these AIs had asked for, and paid for, proper license to use prior work, this would be a different conversation. If Disney pointed a generative AI at its own library of content, that it owns, there'd be little basis for complaint.

And it is kind of telling that apparently much of the typical training data as been scraped off the internet, from smaller artists who have little effective way to protect their rights, rather than taken from, say, Disney. If this was entirely unquestionable, ethical, and legal, there'd be no need to avoid content from companies with significant legal departments.
 
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nevin

Hero
Something folks may not be considering is that AI tools like this are trained on other artists work without those artists being compensated.

This results in a situation where someone can undercut the rates of the very artists they are using the AI tool to mimic.

Practical example: Lets say it takes Artist A three days to do a full illustration in their unique style, so they'd bid their work for enough to account for that time. Artist B has an AI tool that they can feed Artist A's work into (found off Artist A's online portfolio) and can use that to take a rough sketch to final quality in under 60 minutes.

Artist A bids for 24 hours (8 hour work days over 3 days)
Artist B bids for 18 hours (45 minute sketch, ~15 minutes playing with AI Tool, then 17 hours worth of pure profit baby, woohoo!)

"Artist" C is like, damn, I could mimic that work with an AI Tool in less then an hour, bid for 10 hours, and still make a big profit for my time.

"Artist" D is like, hell, I want in on this, I'll bid for 5 hours, still a profit for me.

So it goes.
Jut like the calculator it will be the enemy till it becomes the norm.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
And of course, when artists can no longer functionally exist as viable career, and AI simply regurgitates existing art instead of making new art, we end up in a world where new art ceases to be created. I'd suggest that it's not in humanity's interests to create that world, and that unlike mechanisation of labour, this does not actually advance or benefit society in any way.

I also think that this slide is not as inevitable as some folks suggest and that legislation can redirect this into a more ethical path. Already companies like Kickstarter and DTRPG etc. are enacting policies, and that is becoming more widespread; and legislatures can do likewise. Requiring disclosure of data sets, opt-in for artists, and compensation when their work is regurgitated, is not exactly an unreasonable or far-fetched possibility.
 

wedgeski

Adventurer
I'm surprised by the proportion of commenters who seem okay with AI replacing human-generated art. Certainly the OGL outrage earlier this year suggested that we, as a community, like to project that we care about the little guy, about people's livelihoods, and the value of independent creators. Or was that all for show?

When ChatGPT inevitably morphs into GMGPT and spits out high-quality D&D modules at the push of a button, I assume we'll be making the same ruckus?
 

nevin

Hero
The basic issue with generative AI is not simply about loss of jobs.

It is about how generative AI depends upon prior art. Generative AI does not function if not trained on real data, which to date has generally been acquired by breaking copyright. They are, in effect, stealing from artists to make themselves independent from artists.

That's where comparison to most other automation fails. Automation that replaces, say, physical labor, does not actually need prior physical labor to function.

If those who trained these AIs had asked for, and paid for, proper license to use prior work, this would be a different conversation. If Disney pointed a generative AI at its own library of content, that it owns, there'd be little basis for complaint.

And it is kind of telling that apparently much of the training data as been scraped off the internet, from smaller artists who have little effective way to protect their rights, rather than taken from, say, Disney. If this was entirely ethical and legal, there'd be no need to avoid content from companies with significant legal departments.
The bigger problem is the big departments like Disney do it every day and get away with it because the little guys can't afford to fight them. Many large companies operate on a mentality of let them sue me, I pay the lawyers anyway. they don't care unless the person or company that sues them has enough money to actually make it to court. It happens with patent law too. many a smart person invents something totally new and unique in our modern world and finds out AT&T, GE or SpaceX has copywrited every idea close to theirs and even though they have never done any research they actually own part of the actual new idea, or they claim they do, start a multimillion dollar lawsuit and force the person into bankruptcy. I'm sure if we don't get our technology regulations under control in a 100 years or so there wont' be any real artists, or actors anymore. They'll have 200 years of film to train the AI to make movies and movie production will be cheap and almost human free.

but it's not just artists. Before AI smarter programs were outsourcing entire legal teams paralegal and junior lawer's out of jobs. Imagine what AI and when it gets here actually intelligent AI will do. We have robots doing minor surgery. Eventually they'll be able to perform as well as or even better than human doctors because they won't get tired and they'll be able to access the entire history of surgery in milliseconds while operating. I'm in IT. When I started a large Data Center took 40 or so people to run it 24 x 7. Now it takes 3 people and software. Even customer service jobs that were going to be the "backbone" of the job force because they couldn't be farmed out to technology are being farmed out to our current "non intelligent" AI. Welcome to the world where modern production ideas are doing to the white collar world what they did to the blue collar world.

But all that said I'm actually hopeful that now that tech is starting to affect the top half of the workforce the people who actually run the world will begin to see that even their children will have no place in the new order if we don't start getting our act together and make sure there is room for people in our new high tech world. Now that doctor's, lawyers and politicians kids are being affected people are starting to notice it's not fair and never has been.
 

MGibster

Legend
The amount of non-artists preaching and pontificating on this issue is alarming, though I guess it shouldn't be surprising...
I'm sorry, are we supposed to stay out of the discussion? We have no place at the table here? As far as good art goes, I'd like to remind you that a very successful human artist gave us this.

Captain America.JPG
 

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