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How AI is changing the outlook for illustrators

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Tomm Moore needed to vent his annoyance. The filmmaker’s Ireland-based animation studio, Cartoon Saloon, spends years crafting Oscar-nominated films that ripple with illuminated beauty. Yet here was a Twitter user who wanted an easy “hack” to copy the studio’s art style — thanks to the exploding public use of artificial intelligence.

The user posted a tweet seeking help to “emulate” the look of such acclaimed movies as “The Secret of Kells” and “Song of the Sea,” writing in December: “Is there a trick I don’t know about?” Could such an imitative image be produced using AI?

Moore tweeted his pithy reply: “Or you could learn to draw.” The cutting remark stirred a flurry of responses, striking at the center of the roiling controversy over AI generators that allow users to enter text prompts to produce algorithm-driven images, sometimes to mimic specific artists’ styles. These software tools have sparked such questions as: Are they ethical? Are they legal? And just what defines a digital image as art in a pixelated age of…

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