Dreamworks Co-Founder Envisions 90% Reduction in Animation Labor Through AI Revolution


  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, co-founder of Dreamworks, advocates for AI to cut 90% of animation labor in the future.
  • The Animation Guild (TAG) faces a potential strike in 2024 over concerns related to AI replacing human artists.
  • Creators in the animation industry express early calls for protections against AI, citing potential threats to their livelihoods.

In a revelation that could reshape the very foundations of animated filmmaking, Jeffrey Katzenberg, the co-founder of Dreamworks, has boldly endorsed the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the animation process. Speaking at the Bloomberg New Economy Forum in Singapore, Katzenberg unfolded a vision where AI could potentially reduce animation labor by a staggering 90%.

With a historical perspective, Katzenberg reflected on the evolution of creative tools, from pens and paintbrushes to the present digital era, asserting that the animation industry is on the precipice of a transformative change. His assertion that the time it takes to create a world-class animated movie could plummet to a mere 10% of the traditional timeline within the next three years sends ripples through an industry that has long relied on human creativity and craftsmanship.

TAG faces potential 2024 strike over growing AI tensions

Katzenberg’s proclamation reverberates within The Animation Guild (TAG), which finds itself on the brink of a potential clash over the impact of AI on animation labor. As the 2024 expiration of TAG’s contract approaches, the specter of another strike looms large, reminiscent of the recent battles fought by the Writers Guild of America (WGA) and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) against AI intrusion.

The AMPTP, led by industry figures like Katzenberg, aligns with the pro-AI stance, setting the stage for a contentious negotiation as TAG endeavors to protect its members from the ramifications of automated animation.

Ahead of 2024, animators rally for AI protections

While the deadline for TAG’s contract is still months away, animators are not waiting for the storm to arrive; they are preparing for it. Figures like Giancarlo Volpe and Michael Rianda, with their extensive experience in the industry, take to social media to rally their colleagues against potential job losses to AI.

Volpe, known for his contributions to series like “King of the Hill” and “The Dragon Prince,” urges animation crews to take note of the recent victories by the writers and actors guilds against AI. Rianda, director of “The Mitchells vs. the Machines,” goes a step further, emphasizing the need for a stringent standard preventing studios from replacing even a single artist with AI, framing it as an existential threat to the animation industry.

Katzenberg’s vision sparks animation creators’ reaction

In the wake of Katzenberg’s controversial vision, animation creators respond with a mix of defiance and urgency. José B. Rebolledo, animator for “Helluva Boss,” issues a bold challenge in response to reports, encapsulating the collective defiance within the industry. Academy Award winner Matthew A. Cherry, known for “Young Love,” advocates for TAG to follow in the footsteps of the writers and actors guilds, emphasizing the imperative for a strike to secure the future of animation. Chandra Thomas, a WGA Captain, sheds light on ongoing discussions within TAG leadership, affirming the necessity of immediate action against the potential threat posed by AI.

As the animation industry stands at the crossroads of technological innovation and labor concerns, the looming possibility of a TAG strike in 2024 raises critical questions. Can the animation industry find a delicate balance between embracing technological advancements and safeguarding the livelihoods of its creative workforce? The clash between AI and artistic expression appears inevitable, and the coming years may define the future of animation as we know it. Will the industry adapt or resist, and what impact will this decision have on the art and artists that breathe life into animated worlds?

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Aamir Sheikh

Amir is a media, marketing and content professional working in the digital industry. A veteran in content production Amir is now an enthusiastic cryptocurrency proponent, analyst and writer.

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