AI bringing the Flintstones into the modern era
Making cartoons is hard and usually takes a studio full of animators months and months to animate short episodes.
The Simpsons famously took between six to eight months to create a single episode, which meant the show could never tackle meaty current events as it was always months behind the curve. Movie studio Pixar revolutionized computer-generated graphics and many TV shows, like South Park, have adapted the CGI method, but purists would argue that these are not cartoons in the classical sense. Classic cartoons require classic animation, which is time-consuming and labor-intensive.
Researchers at Cornell University are trying to fight this assumption by training an AI to create animated scenes from the Hanna-Barbera classic cartoon, The Flintstones from simple text-based instructions. The AI, named Craft by the researchers, has watched over 25,000 three-second clips all which contained descriptions of who was in the clip and what was going on.
With that training, Craft can put together rudimentary animated scenes including characters, scenes, props, and behaviors from simple text instructions. The results so far have been mixed, but they definitely show promise. For a developed AI, 25,000 clips is a relatively small dataset, which means there is a lot of room for improvement. Watch this space.