Op-Ed: Disney Animation Stands Against AI with Latest Project

in Movies

Asha (Ariana DeBose) stands looking shocked in 'Wish'

Credit: Disney

The use of AI in the film industry is a controversial topic in the field, but Walt Disney Animation might have just made a massive move for the artists’ favor.

Logo for Walt Disney Animation
Credit: Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Walt Disney Company stands on the bedrock of classic animation; it’s been that way for the past century. Although styles and techniques have evolved over time, there is still a tremendous respect for the days of ink and paint, and there might be a need for it as well.

Related: Disney Removes Original ‘Snow White’ to Avoid Controversy

As programmers continue to experiment with what AI-generated imagery and programs like Chat GPT can do, many creatives feel threatened by the presence of artificially developed artwork. However, Disney’s return to tradition in the upcoming Wish might be what snaps the medium back to what it used to be.

Wish Ends Disney’s CGI Era

The Star from Wish
Credit: Disney

Inside the Magic recently covered how Wish (2023) is predicted to be Disney Animation’s return to their traditional hand-drawn and watercolored art styles. Although this is most certainly done to commemorate the company’s 100th anniversary and win back fans after recent box office bombs, it might also be a tremendous step in the battle against AI-generated art.

Related: ‘Wish’ Reveal Spoils Villain’s Victory

It’s certainly easy for a computer program to generate a 3D image; various industries like film and marketing use it every day. However, a computer will never be complex enough to compete with the human imagination.

For lack of a better description, humans make mistakes, and programs are often created to avoid them. Stray marks, cell dirt, and other imperfections are part of the traditional animation process. CGI might look all neat and pretty, but it often lacks the handmade quality seen in various iconic Disney films.

While the film uses CGI models, it blends them with hand-drawn stylings and watercolor backgrounds akin to Lilo and StitchThe hand-drawn quality can be undoubtedly seen in various places throughout the trailer above, such as the stray pencil marks in the leaves or the stretching outlines in King Magnifico’s angry facial features.

Related: Disney Goes Too Far, One Glaring Issue Ruins ‘Wish’

The bottom line, this isn’t something easily created by a computer program. An artist had to go in and design these characters, backgrounds, and other features with a purpose, and it clearly shows.

Asha's hair blows in the wind in Wish
Credit: Disney

Granted, it’s not as polished or refined as  Tangled (2010) or Frozen (2013), but that’s the point. In this writer’s opinion, Wish will be the film that bridges the gap between both animation styles and its hybrid aesthetic.

Related: ‘Wish’ on Track to Save Disney Animation

The debates concerning AI-generated content are still one of the heaviest subjects in the film industry, especially in the wake of 2023’s Hollywood Strikes. However, it might be that Disney is slowly waking up to realize that an industry built on revolutionary animation can’t survive without a team of trained artists at the helm.

Should Disney return to traditionally animated films? Tell Inside the Magic what you think in the comments below!

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