Hellboy AI Character Design Controversy: Is Using AI Really That Bad?

Hellboy Director Brian Taylor Denies Using AI for Character Design
Image Courtesy: IMDb
In Short
  • Brian Taylor, Director of the new Hellboy movie, Hellboy: The Crooked Man has been accused of using AI in the movie.
  • Taylor has denied the accusations and cleared that the statement made by Millenium Films president was for another movie titled "The Offering"
  • Brian called out the media house that published the report stating that maybe their report is written by AI.

Sometime back the world of Hollywood came to a halt when the SAG-AFTRA strikes broke out. One of the major points put forward by the men and women working in Hollywood was creating proper guidelines dictating the limitations on the use of AI in filmmaking. A similar controversy has surfaced regarding the upcoming Hellboy movie after it has been a while since this incident. The director of Hellboy, Brian Taylor, has been accused of using AI for character design but how true is this and is it really that big of a deal? Let’s talk about that.

Is Hellboy Really Using AI for Character Design?

In an article published by motionpictures.org, it has been stated that the new Hellboy movie, titled Hellboy: The Crooked Man has used AI to develop some of the character designs. President of Millennium Films, Jonathan Yunger, the studio making this movie stated that after using practical effects to create monsters for Hellboy, he was not satisfied with it so he turned to Artificial Intelligence for the job. In his statement, he said-

“After shooting a demon character practically (for a film called Hellboy due out later this year) that didn’t look great, he turned to AI to come up with a new design, on a platform he built himself. I was able to make 3000 creature designs in an hour. So now I can start to cherry-pick and edit those and then send it to visual effects.” – Jonathan Yunger

When people got to know about this, the use of AI became a controversial topic among people who cornered Brian Taylor with a storm of tweets and other social media posts projecting their disappointment in the director. After all this, Brian Taylor reacted to this and stated that Hellboy: The Crooked Man has not used AI in character creation even in the slightest and all the effects to be seen in the movie are going to be practical.

In response to the article published by Motion Pictures, Brian said that the comment was made for a different film titled “The Offering” and took a rather sarcastic approach and called out the media house.

“The comment was referring to a different film, THE OFFERING. Rest assured there is zero AI used & our gloriously practical Hellboy looks phenomenal. probably the article was written by AI.” – Brian Taylor

But Is the Use of AI Really That Bad?

Now since the director has cleared the topic of AI being used in Hellboy, let’s talk about the moral accusations made on him. After the SAG-AFTRA strikes, a new set of guidelines was made that allows filmmakers to use Artificial Intelligence as a tool but also forbids them to use it as an absolute workforce. So, if a filmmaker does use it as a tool to improve upon their ideas, what’s wrong with that?

I want to make it clear that I’m not in favor of using AI to replace the workforce but the use of technology to expedite a tedious task is what could be termed as a fair use. As long as the writers, and artists disclose the use of AI or other technology and obtain consent from the involved parties, AI can be put to good use.

One important point that many of us missed in the Hellyboy AI controversy is that Yunger said he created the design “using something he built himself”. This points that the ideation part was done by the director himself and he simply want to improve the idea and bring out something that was more creative and appealing for the audience.

However, I feel that filmmakers should bring about a change in the Hollywood industry as a whole where the use of AI should be openly disclosed to the public in the end credits of the movie/ TV show.

Well, this is just my point of view but what do you guys think? Do let me know in the comments and stay tuned!

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