AI-augmented pipeline delivers stellar universe for CROWD1
We’ve all seen the dystopian sceneries of Blade Runner and Minority Report, the otherworldly landscapes of Dune or the Utopian worlds of Tomorrowland. And up until recently, these vast worlds took a huge amount of planning, computing power, and visual effects artists to bring them to life. These godly resources translated to budgets that were out of reach for the mere mortals of the ad industry. That is, until now.
Enter Artificial Intelligence
Not the malevolent HAL from Space Odyssey, or the random Wall-E but the kind that, with the guiding hand of an experienced artist, can churn out multiple iterations of futuristic cinematic vistas, on time and on budget, under one roof. This is great news, especially for web3 products, crypto services, and Metaverse businesses that typically aspire for a larger-than-life quality in their communications.
We wanted to share some highlights from our recent work on a CROWD1 commercial directed by Juice’s own Michal Misiński and his ingenious use of AI in the production pipeline. In its quest for generating awareness for its near-sci-fi financial vision, and outstanding brand image, CROWD1 found in Juice the ideal partners. Let us explain.
Rocket Commander Seats – interior concept art & final footage
Rocket Launch District overview – exterior concept art & final footage
City View, Launch District – exterior concept art & final footage
The key was AI-enhanced pipeline
We have been looking forward to testing AI-augmented tools for a while now. For this project, firstly as a talent extension to enforce concept and assets stage. Then to improve the way we gather feedback and take care about relationships with clients.
“We started our conversations about artificial intelligence possibilities back in 2021. Our visions for the future were exciting, but available models at the time were simply not advanced enough to integrate them into a commercial pipeline. When the CROWD1 project came up, we decided this was our chance to see in real life if we were ready for new ways of doing things.
We met with our artists and redesigned the processes together by adding generative AI to the existing framework. It’s not easy when you’re trying to reinvent mechanisms proven over the last two decades and can no longer rely on traditional processes that everyone knows and understands, for an alternative workflow search. But we learned where it works best and when fitted right, AI can work in concert with artists, follow their styles and extend their abilities in ways that are even hard to comprehend.
CROWD1 is a milestone, since it will be marked as the first time we fully integrated AI assisted alt flow into a commercial project, and quite frankly I can’t imagine going back.”
– Patryk Habryn, VFX Supervisor
So yeah, some may say that you can get 7 days worth of art creation in the span of one day. However, AI on its own is too wild and unpredictable. At the moment, without a skilled artist to add a clear intention and adapt the action to what other humans expect to see, it’s pretty useless beyond the moodboard stage. You can think about AI as a powerful microwave oven that can cook a bowl of ramen in 1 minute but a human has to prep the ingredients and then taste the final product.
Here too, it’s the human artist who prepares the initial prompts, and base artwork, it’s the creative team who makes important decisions around it and the human artist again who has to alter, tweak, adjust, and futz around with numerous variants in order to deliver something that looks realistic enough and can then get through the animation process and come out the other end looking photo-realistic and totally believable. But hey! Let’s wait and see what GPT-4 brings us!
Michal Misiński, Director: “Just like no one thinks that Avatar could’ve just popped out of a machine without James Cameron at the helm, no one here thinks that this is the end of human creativity but rather the beginning of a new degree of creative freedom. We want to make great visual communications, and tell compelling visual stories together, as a human team, and for that we need to discuss what works for us and gradually add it to the already great thing that we have going here.”
Unlocking Creativity and Collaboration
If it wasn’t clear, the benefits to clients are huge: more possibilities, greater freedom to branch off of the main concept and explore more iterations in less time, and a fantastic opportunity for client involvement for those who have the time and desire to be part of the artistic process. We no longer have to settle for wordy descriptions and reference shots that leave much to be desired and plenty of room for confusion. We can manage expectations much more tightly both during the concept art stage and down the line when we get into production. So next time you’re sitting down to imagine your hero and their environment don’t settle for “Young woman, standing in the middle of a futuristic-looking street”. Instead, shoot for floating airborne cities with transparent tubes in place of roads and sidewalks, or an underwater urban landscape with submerged glass vehicles amidst tropical vegetation.
In short, let the fun begin.
“It was a pleasure to work with Juice because they deliver so much creative value on the dollar. As a client, we love to have our hands in the creative process and we found willing, and super caring, partners in the design and production teams at Juice. They have an uncanny ability to solve virtually any problem and turn it into a creative triumph. Michal brought tremendous value to the pre-production and production stages, mainly for his ability to elaborate on an original idea and simply make it better without losing the original message. I can’t wait for another opportunity to spend time with these passionate people.”Harold de Bellefroid Creative Production Manager, CROWD1