The Looper Projects

Redirection: Sylvester’s Portrait

Director Eric Edwards initially set out to explore the technological progress of Artificial Intelligence on animation. The result could only be imagined by a human mind.

Something that is a common challenge in design and animation is creating a moving painting. The 1998 film “What Dreams May Come” was one of the first attempts, utilizing computer-aided animation. Since then, technology has gotten more sophisticated and the effects with it. Now with the inclusion of AI, we can expect another leap forwards. 

This is Silvester’s Portrait for the Redirection theme of The Looper Projects.

Animation | Design | Color Correction

Unpredictable singularity

Director: Eric Edwards
Design: Eric Edwards
Animation: Eric Edwards
Color: Eric Edwards

The Process
This idea stemmed from the notion that it would be really amazing to see a cell animated detailed oil painting. Considering the massive amount of work involved in painting frame by frame, it’s pretty rare to see an execution. Let alone a good one.

In the last few years, the emergence of using AI and “Deep Fake” technology as an animation medium came about. Indirectly that tech made it possible to animate an oil painting.

The specific AI used here is made for portraits. It contains a reference library of live-action shots of people looking around, which drives the animation. Using machine learning to analyze vast amounts of photos and videos, the AI accurately animates facial movement.

During the process, Eric experimented with animating several different styles of portraiture, from vintage and modern photography to paintings. He even tried photos of statues. The final result is an AI animated oil painting.

For the redirection moment, good old After Effects animation comes into play. Using masks and keyframe animation to create a dark, psychedelic, sci-fi version of itself.

Early Tests

There was a long series of trial and error exploration while ascertaining the strengths and limitations of the Artificial Intelligence technology. Different positions, camera angles, and expressions were run through the process as part of this exploration. Take a look at the results, some are really eerie.

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