the revolution will not be televised
April 2024

Rewriting the Rules of Animation with AI: a Q&A with Kyt Janae

Vintage Desktop computer with vines of yellow trumpet flowers with blue skies and white fluffy clouds.

Kyt Janae (She/They) is an Artist, Animator, and Creative Technologist. Joining the Kaiber team recently as Head of Studio, Kyt draws from her background in animation to unearth innovative ways to use Kaiber's products. Her latest experiment blends gray clay animation with the newly upgraded Transform 3.0 feature—read on to learn more about her process and how to achieve similar result.

Q: Can you share a bit about yourself?

Of course. I'm Kyt, the Head of Studio at Kaiber. At heart, I am an artist and creative. I graduated from UCLA in 2014, where I studied media arts. After that, I founded Daisy Studio, where we worked on animation and projects ranging from live concert visuals to collaborations with shows like "Rick and Morty" and Adult Swim.

Q: What sets your approach to animation apart?

A: One important thing about me as an animator is that I've always been non-traditional. My approach is all about being experimental. I love exploring new pathways and embracing cutting-edge technologies. That drew me to Kaiber, where I’ve uncovered some truly transformative workflows.

Q: Could you elaborate on the aesthetic elements that define your work?

A: Absolutely! My animations often feature recurring themes like volumetric light, caustics, mylar, chrome, and reflections—a mixture of delightful color palettes but deeper subjects.

I sit on this line of something visually stimulating and pretty to look at but sometimes has a darker undertone or a different vibe. These aesthetics have recently undergone a refreshing transformation thanks to evolving pipelines that make implementing them more accessible.

Kyt's instagram feed.

Q: How do you view the current animation landscape?

A: Well, this moment in time is interesting for animation because there is so much opportunity to explore and try new things right now.

Historically, animation has been considered one of the most time-consuming mediums. You operate in frames per second. This means that you're responsible for upwards of 30 frames per second and if you're keyframing, you're responsible for every keyframe in a piece. So you spend an enormous amount of time on this kind of work for a very short output. And so this moment in animation is an interesting one to me in terms of what I'm aesthetically and technically called to because there are so many opportunities to try new things and to implement — new workflows and approaches.

Q: How does prompt writing fit into your animation process?

A: Prompt writing has become a real passion of mine. Prompting is like casting spells, where each word holds the power to shape the outcome. By focusing on the emotions I want to evoke, I craft prompts that act as a dialogue between myself and the generative model, guiding it toward the desired result. It’s also important to note that prompting is like spellcasting because what you ask for is what you’ll get- for good or bad. For example, if you prompt a specific camera for a photorealistic style, a camera could visually appear as an element in your output.

Q: Could you see AI being a tool for previsualization in animation?

A: Yes, that’s one of the benefits of being able to iterate and not wait for lengthy renders quickly. You can take grey clay and prompt for different possibilities before putting in all the time for the shaders or textures.

"Gray clay" is the animatic with camera and character movements before any shaders or further effects are applied.

Q: I’d love to discuss the new workflow you uncovered by uploading a gray clay animation to our Transform tool. What led you to make that creative choice?

A: It honestly stemmed from a blend of frustration and necessity. Gray clay animatics are like the skeleton of a scene, a preliminary output. This early stage, involving layout, keyframing, and camera movements, sets the groundwork presented in an animatic for feedback. What follows is a laborious journey of experimentation and iteration akin to refining AI writing prompts.

But here's the twist: rather than sinking time into technical details like lighting and shaders, for this new workflow, I'm engaging in a dialogue with AI, sculpting the output through words. Some may argue this bypasses traditional craftsmanship, but I see it as a new form that equally demands skill and dedication. Gray clay is the foundation, providing movement cues to AI, while collaborative decisions shape aesthetics and tone. It's an iterative process, demanding dialogue and fine-tuning to achieve the desired outcome.

Q: Looking ahead, what do you envision for the future of animation?

A: The future of animation holds so many possibilities. With each new advancement, animation expands, offering boundless opportunities for exploration and expression. As technology continues to evolve, I'll be right there, pushing the boundaries and embracing the magic of animation every step of the way.

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The Future of Animation