Pokemon artist catches people using AI to (mis)copy his art

Concept artist RJ Palmer has worked on many projects, but he’s best known for his hyper-realistic Pokémon creations, last seen on the big screen in 2019. Pokemon: Detective Pikachu. These realistic Pokemon designs are so popular, in fact, that some have started using artificially intelligent image generators to mimic its style, to disastrous effect.

Palmer recently took to his Twitter account (@arvalis) to share screenshots of AI users discussing the most effective ways to recreate his work using programs like Midjourney. The users captured in the screenshot both mention Palmer by name, and one of them shares images generated from an AI image generator from the words “realistic charizard, RJ Palmer, trending on artstation, trending on deviantart”. The images are weird and distorted and don’t look much like Palmer’s impressive work.

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Palmer was quick to point out the dramatic disparity in quality between his work and that of the AI. In a later tweet in the same thread, he shares a direct comparison between one of his own Pokémon illustrations and one of the AI-generated images. The former is an impressive rendition of what Charizard might look like in real life, while the latter looks like it doesn’t have eyes in its head, which is also most of its body.

AI art has been the subject of much controversy over the past few months following the explosion in popularity among image-generating software like Midjourney and DALL-E. Some pointed to the technology’s ability to replace freelance illustrators, while others noted that situations like Palmer’s, in which users attempt to use AI to directly mimic the work of artists, can veer painfully plagiarized.

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That hasn’t stopped some from using the technology to achieve otherwise difficult-to-reproduce images. AI image generation was used to create everything from new Dungeons & Dragons monsters to mildly horrifying performances from Henry Cavill as Wolverine. It’s hard to say for sure where the ethical conversation will end up when it comes to AI image generation, but for now, it’s still a contentious topic.

Those interested in seeing more real art from RJ Palmer can find it on his Twitter account, @arvalis. Many of his realistic Pokemon creations can be seen in the film Pokemon: Detective Pikachuwhich is available for rental or purchase on most digital video storefronts.

Source: Twitter

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