Harnessing the power of analysis, augmentation, and automation: Autodesk AI helps artists focus on their art  

5 min read

Media consumption habits have changed forever. The era of streaming, the pandemic and a new generation that considers on-demand, multi-screen, and immersive content as standard have brought about demands to the media and entertainment industry that are increasingly difficult to fulfill with traditional business and production methods. More content, more visual effects, with no more resources are just some of the challenges impacting artists and studios. In this world, harnessing the power of AI is no longer a nice-to-have—it’s now a must to keep up.  

Advancing AI for over 10 years

Autodesk has a long history of developing disruptive technology that makes industries stronger and more resilient. For over 10 years, Autodesk has prioritized investment in AI because we recognize its transformative power for the media and entertainment industry. From keying and sky replacement to beauty work that automates digital make-up and helps actors look their best – Autodesk has offered AI workflows in tools like Flame for many years.  Our approach to AI research and development is guided by one question: how can you use AI to help you focus on the work that matters most? We want to make it easier for your teams to streamline the production process and for your artists to focus on their art. 

That’s why we’re currently developing Autodesk AI, our technology that augments creative exploration and problem-solving, automates tedious and repetitive tasks, and analyzes project data to offer predictive insights. It helps customers meet the moment—not just by increasing productivity, but by providing tools to be more ambitious and creative. Autodesk AI is simply a technology that’s particularly good at completing specialized tasks and getting them done faster. It is an evolution of the tools and workflows you use today. Autodesk AI works alongside you, like an assistant, taking on the mundane tasks, so you can focus on more iterations for higher levels of creative excellence.  

We’re currently focused on advancing Autodesk AI capabilities in three main areas:   

More creativity, less drudgery – Autodesk AI in Maya

We’re investing in AI-assisted workflows in Maya that automate manual tasks for you. Wouldn’t it be easier just to tell your computer what to do, rather than searching and clicking through a series of commands? With Maya Assist, an AI-powered workflow currently in beta, you can automatically manipulate scenes using natural language text prompts. You’ll be able to control workflows such as instantly copying an object, increasing its size by 25 percent, and adding a camera and aim anywhere augmenting your creative experience. 

Autodesk AI will also help you speed up rigging workflows in Maya. As any rigger or animator will tell you, characters with many complicated deformers running live, can quickly become cumbersome and slow to work with. Using AI, you’ll be able to approximate complex deformations on a character, and use that version for quick tasks like layout, blocking, and crowd work. Then, just switch back to the complex deformations to put the final polish on your animations. This tool will be lightning fast and just one more way AI can serve as your creative assistant, allowing you to iterate faster and focus on creating great art. Look out for this to be launched in a future release. 

AI-assisted workflows in Maya

AI-assisted workflows in Maya

Autodesk AI and Flow 

Connected data on Flow, our industry cloud for media and entertainment and Autodesk’s Design & Make Platform is what powers generative capabilities on Autodesk AI. It unlocks opportunities to use artificial intelligence as a force for automation and productivity.   

One example is scheduling, where constantly shifting variables between teams and budgets have long been managed manually, often by one person. With AI-powered Generative Scheduling on Flow (now in beta), we are automating a process that could easily take days, instead delivering faster results in minutes. You can predict, plan, and right-size your resources to make space for creative bandwidth when you need it. When last-minute changes arise, it’s easy to grasp the impact–not just on a single production’s schedule and budget, but across the studio’s entire portfolio.  

Generative Scheduling on Flow

Generative Scheduling on Flow

Since Flow is built with open APIs and open standards, innovative companies can connect their technology with our platform and give you access to more of the latest AI innovation in a seamless and frictionless way. One such company is Wonder Dynamics, who have just released their Maya integration. Their tool animates, lights, and composes CG (Computer Graphics) characters into live action scenes automatically. We’ve worked with the Wonder team to enable our Maya users to seamlessly export CG characters from Autodesk Maya into Wonder Studio. In the future, artists will also be able to export 3D scenes out of Wonder Studio back into Maya, with animation, camera, and lighting data so they can have full creative control of each element. It’s the kind of complex work that only big-budget studios could pull off. Now studios of all sizes can gain the capacity to build epic stories.  

AI-powered future possible maximizing use of data 

As the environment for your data gets better, AI will get better, too: providing you with more intuitive and natural ways of creating things, putting data in front of you when you need it, so you don’t have to search for it, and moving the focus from building assets—to simulating scenes and images. You’ll draw from your imagination and simply tell the computer what to do. You’ll be using the tools—the tools won’t be using you. 

The big picture role of Autodesk AI is to enhance creativity and decision-making and enable you to find innovative solutions to challenges faster and more sustainably. By taking an AI-first, data-driven approach to our Design and Make Platform, we are committed to delivering innovative solutions with speed and scale, while paving the way for unprecedented advancements and breakthroughs for our customers. We believe that when we bring out the best in both computers and humans through AI, the possibilities to design and make a better world are endless.