April 12, 2024

Archie Wertheim

Technology Integration and Foundations for Effective Leadership

D&D Updates Bigby to Replace AI-Enhanced Images

3 min read
D&D Updates Bigby to Replace AI-Enhanced Images

Earlier this year, Dungeons & Dragons released the supplemental lorebook/bestiary, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. Fans were quick to point out that some of the illustrations looked… off. After answering some questions on X/Twitter, artist Ilya Shkipin explained that yes, he did use generative AI to assist his illustration, saying that he used a program to add “detail” and “polish” to his work.

Image for article titled Dungeons & Dragons Updates Bigby to Replace AI-Enhanced Images

Screenshot: Ilya Shkipin/X

A lot was made of the giants that Shkipin drew, but other people spotted a very wonky dinosaur in the bestiary of the book. The Altisaur was one of the illustrations that looked like a particularly egregious example of AI art. It had strange artifacts, odd patterns, vestigal limbs, and poorly rendered texture, with very little definable musculature.

Image for article titled Dungeons & Dragons Updates Bigby to Replace AI-Enhanced Images

Image: Wizards of the Coast

You can se the clear similarities to the concept art, as it shown below. While many of Shkipin’s other works were shown to have been demonstrably constructed through his own art process first, three of the four dinosaurs that were replaced (Altisaur, Ceratops, and Regisaur) previously had extreme similarities to the concept art. Again, most egregious is the Altisaur, which looks like it was simply reversed and thrown through a generator that turned it into AI soup.

Image for article titled Dungeons & Dragons Updates Bigby to Replace AI-Enhanced Images

Image: Wizards of the Coast | April Prime

io9 reached out to Dungeons & Dragons via a press representative to see if they knew the exact methods that Shkipin used to create his illustrations beyond “enhanced by AI,” as described in the now-deleted tweet. io9 has further asked for specific clarity around their new policies that will prevent artists from using AI in the future. They directed io9 to the August update and did not provide additional comment. Ilya Shkipin also did not return our request for comment at the time of publication.

According to Wizards of the Coast, only work previously done by Shkipin had to be replaced to comply with the no-AI policy. He is no longer listed in the credits. Of the four dinosaurs that were replaced, three are credited to Claudio Pozas and one to Quintin Gleim. Other artists that were tasked with replacing the AI generated work include Linda Lithen (Frost Giant Ice Shaper), Daneen Wilkerson (Frostmourn), Daarken (Maw of Yeenoghu), and Suzanne Helmigh (Stalker of Baphomet).

AI-generated art is tricky because there are a lot of ethical and moral issues tied up in the library of data that has been used to train the algorithm. Most programs have not sought permission or offered compensation to the artists who had their work scraped. Some contemporary programs—like Adobe’s new AI generative fill tool, Firefly—do use ethically sourced images. There’s also an issue of copyright; very few AI art cases have made their way through the courts, and those that have seem to err on the side of protecting human-made art, rather than machine output.

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel, Star Wars, and Star Trek releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV, and everything you need to know about the future of Doctor Who.

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