Life after real-time: The next logical step for VFX artists is to embrace A.I.
I co-wrote this article with our cherished friend and counselor, Johannes Saam. In the film industry, his pedigree is that he is the “future guy” of Framestore; he holds an Academy Award for Technical Achievement for his work as a VFX artist, and he is also the father of dunkz.xyz, an A.I.-generated NFT collection created with a virtual artist.
We wrote this article because we’ve found that the VFX world seldom welcomes (generative) A.I. with open arms. We understand and respect this. After all, isn’t the movie industry the reason why we are so afraid of A.I.? Isn’t it movies like Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Transcendence, WALL-E, Matrix, et al. that programmed us to believe that A.I. is there to replace, dictate, and annihilate us? Isn’t it natural for VFX artists — those who created The Skynet, H.A.L., V’ger, and V.I.K.I. with their own hands — to believe that A.I. will be our undoing?
Do you recall how the set felt around 2001, when these insane filmmakers introduced digital cameras and cinematography? Films such as The Last Broadcast (1998), Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003), and Attack of the Clones (2002) played a vital role in the broad adoption of digital cameras. Was everything perfect in 2001–2002 when digital cameras hit the sets? Far from it. Bulky batteries, antiquated gear, low-resolution capture, and skewed color capture. Even though these changes were annoying at first, they were nothing compared to having to carry around miles of celluloid film in the camera. One could argue that analog cinema is much more beautiful than digital film. Yes, absolutely; that’s why Nolan and Pfister shot the Batman Trilogy on film, even though they could do it digitally. Then why do men prefer wearing hoodies in 2022 over 3-piece wool suits as they did in 1920? Some people do, which is terrific, but the vast majority of humanity chooses practicality over sensuality.