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Tuesday, March 14, 2023 

Japanese mangaka creates with AI

CNN has a story about a mangaka in Japan who's produced a story illustrated with artificial intel:
In his latest comic "Cyberpunk: Peach John," manga author Rootport imagines the Japanese folklore hero Momotaro — who is said to have been born from a giant peach — living in a dystopian future. But while the writer created the storyline and dialogue, his sci-fi-inspired imagery was produced entirely by artificial intelligence.

In fact, the 37-year-old has never drawn a comic by hand.

The publishing house behind the work, Shinchosha, believes that "Cyberpunk: Peach John" is the world's first complete AI manga work. On sale in Japan from Thursday, it was illustrated using Midjourney, an online image generator that can produce detailed pictures based on users' prompts.
Good for him, but this shouldn't be the future of manga any more than western comics. Mainly because, for all its advantages, AI still has some considerable disadvantages:
AI imaging tools also infamously struggle to accurately render human hands, which often appear with too many (or too few) fingers. For this reason, Rootport said he made a "significant compromise" by limiting scenes that pictured characters' hands.

"Hands were difficult to draw, and details tended to appear as if they were melting," he said.
See, this proves AI can't and shouldn't be the answer to everything. If you can't feature as many hands as you'd like, it's clear something's wrong. Yet the writer insists:
Rootport, however, believes that AI technology will ultimately liberate artists from the "grueling process" of creating manga, which he said often entails onerous deadlines that see artists suffering ill-health due to overworking. Tools like Midjourney could, he argued, improve the industry's "inhumane working conditions."

"It would not only make things easier for manga creators, but also has the potential to improve the quality of the stories themselves," he said.
No, that's disputable. Besides, even comic strip cartoonists in the USA have had problems with illness that's forced them to take time off from their work. Plus, wouldn't shifting more to AI mean less responsibility in taking the challenge of being an artist yourself? Exactly why AI shouldn't be viewed as a complete alternative or replacement for human art - because then, humans won't learn how to do certain things themselves. And I thought it was lazy enough if some car and truck drivers preferred automatic transmission to manual.

Update: a writer for Anime News Network says you can't make anime with AI, and that's surely got to be very accurate an observation.

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