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The Gathering maker admits using AI-generated art, despite standing ban

Wizards of the Coast, the makers of Magic: The Gathering and MtG, has apologized for a “mistake”. The company admitted that it published a promotional picture which included artwork generated at least in part using artificial intelligence. WotC’s policy prohibits the use of AI tools in their art. The controversy caused at least one artist publicly to announce that he was “done” working with the company.

While the image appears unobjectionable on first glance, careful observers soon focused their attention to specific. The following are some examples of how to get started: out of place background details that were in the laboratory. This revealed telltale mistakes typical for some AI image generators. The human authorship of art on cards has not been questioned.

Wizards of the Coast is sensitive to the suggestion that AI tools were used for a promotional image. The company has relied for years on human artists to create tens of millions of iconic images, both for its Magic and Dungeons & Dragons products (D&D). When a long-time D&D artiest was discovered to have used AI tools to create commissioned pieces in August last year, WotC stated it was updating its artist guidelines.

WotC publically reaffirmed in December amid the wave of layoffs which included many human artists. “We require that all artists, writers and creatives who contribute to the Magic Trading Card Game refrain from using AI-generated tools to create final Magic product.”

WotC responded to the growing accusations that AI was used in the creation the promo image on Thursday by posting multiple defenses (including the archived post), insisting the art “was created manually and not by AI.” Dave Rapoza was a veteran MtG illustrator who had created artwork for dozens Magic card over the years.

Rapoza posted on social media Saturday, “And with that, poof… I’m no longer working for Wizards of the Coast.” You can’t claim to be against AIThe following are some examples of how to get started: then use it to promote your product. You can’t say you stand against something and then use AI to promote your products.

 

WotC retracted its claims on Sunday afternoon. The company said on social media it “made an earlier mistake when we stated that a marketing picture we posted was created without AI.” WotC clarified in the same thread that the art was created by an external vendor and included “some AI elements that are popping up now in industry standard software like Photoshop…even if the overall image was created by a person.”

In a statement that accompanied the website, WotC expressed its gratitude to the “diligent” community for noticing the problem and announced it would “rethink our process in how we work with our vendors to create our marketing creative…We can’t promise perfection in such a rapidly-evolving area, especially as generative AI is becoming standard with tools like Photoshop, but our goal is to always be on the side human-made artwork and artists.”

Rapoza stated in a message sent Sunday evening, that he “would not return to work” at WotC despite WotC’s explanation. He wrote, “Let’s wait and see what happens.” “I hope they keep their word, but it seems that everyone is heading in the same direction. I’ll wait for a while.”

WotC’s handling of this controversy has shown that it is difficult to enforce an outright ban against AI-generated artwork, even when companies like WotC claim to want to collaborate with human artists.

Jason Rainville , a MtG freelance artist, wrote on social media: “My position is that the bigger the entity and the further AI develops the harder it will be to detect.” It’s going on, especially given the number of freelancers working outside of home.”

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