Say what you want about Hayao Miyazaki, but never call him dishonest. The critically acclaimed animator is well-known for dozens of films like Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Miyazaki, who co-created Studio Ghibli, is an authority on all things animation given his incredible success - and he’s not one to curtail his critical eye. In a recent Japanese television special, Miyazaki was quick to criticized an experiment featuring AI CG animation and even called it an “insult to life itself.”
The whole ordeal began with Miyazaki and a former Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki were shown a presentation by the CGI team from the Dwango Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. The group was headed up Dwango’s president Nobuo Kawakami, a trainee producer at Studio Ghibli, and board director from Studio Khara. The presentation was over an animation experiment the team has been conducting where an AI program learns how to animate after observing a human model.
If you watch the presented video, you can see why Miyazaki feels upset. The experiment is interesting, but its product feels a little unsettling. The AI CG animation produced a humanoid figure who looks horribly disfigured and can only move its body using its head. The lumbering, zombie-esque create was pitched for possible horror projects, but Miyazaki said he would have nothing to do with it.
The critical animator was quick to dress down the presentation team. Miyazaki said he could not support an unfeeling, mechanized method of animation that doesn’t account for human pain. The artist was particularly incensed because a close friend of his has a disability, and Miyazaki felt like animators may left people like his friends down should the experiment be used.
“I am utterly disgusted,” he told the room, summing up his feelings about the entire presentation.
Of course, it may sound like Miyazaki has a personal vendetta against technology-based animation, but that is not the case. It is true that Miyazaki is not a personal fan of hi-tech gadgets like tablets, but he has stressed there is no more merit to hand animation than there is in computer animator. However, the artist does think the former is a dying skill and hopes new artists will continue the tradition as time moves forward.
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In the coming years, fans might be inspired to follow after Miyazaki’s own art style as the director is poised to make a comeback. Miyazaki will released an animated short-film titled Boro the Caterpillar in 2017 for an exclusive run at the Studio Ghibli museum in Japan. The director has said he then hopes to adapt the short into a full-length movie since he has been drafting Boro since he was working on Princess Mononoke in 1997.
[H/T] Anime News Network