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WotC facing controversy over AI artwork in DnD sourcebook

Wizards of the Coast is under fire for the use of AI artwork in the upcoming Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants sourcebook for Dungeons and Dragons.

Using artificial intelligence has become one of the most contentious topics in the creative world. The technology has been refined remarkably quickly and companies are trying to take advantage of this at the potential expense of artists, actors, and writers. There’s little in the way of regulations or even guidelines on how to use AI ethically or effectively, something that has made it a sticking point in the ongoing Writers Guild of America and SAG-AFTRA strikes.

Despite being a controversial practice, many companies are using AI to put out creative works faster. Wizards of the Coast is among that lot and the use of AI art in an upcoming sourcebook has TTRPG fans looking at some DnD alternatives

What is the latest DnD controversy?

Wizards of the Coast is facing criticism for using art that was partly created using AI in an upcoming DND sourcebook.

Ilya Shkipin is an illustrator who contributed to Dungeons and Dragons’ upcoming Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants sourcebook. Shkipin openly uses AI tools in his work and some of his recent pieces have fans pulling out a proverbial magnifying glass.

Teasers and marketing materials for the sourcebook contained concept art by Shkipin, which fans noticed as having some of the telltale signs of AI artwork. AI artwork has advanced rapidly but has struggled to make realistic feet or hands. Multiple pieces of concept art in the book had this issue, particularly his frost giant ice shaper with an odd left foot and a wolf that seemingly had human feet.

Shkipin acknowledged using AI to do much of the detailing in his artwork and demonstrated this on Twitter. In now-deleted tweets, he showed side-by-sides of his own hand-drawn sketches with the final product. Shkipin seemingly used AI to create much of the detail in the pieces.

The artist later clarified that the illustrations were set to be reworked, but this came less than two weeks before the sourcebook’s release date. Odds are that the physical copies of the book have already been printed at this point.

Does WotC use AI artwork in DnD?

Wizards of the Coast has included artwork made with AI on multiple sourcebooks for DnD 5th Edition.

Ilya Shkipin uses AI to augment his hand-drawn artwork and has contributed to a number of DnD materials including the 5th Edition Monster Manual and Dungeon Master’s Guide. His work on Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants garnered controversy when fans discovered his use of AI in some of the concept art, which Shkipin acknowledged.

It is unclear whether Shkipin’s past work also used AI enhancement, or if other artists who contribute to DnD sourcebooks do the same. Wizards of the Coast does not have a policy against using AI artwork.

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Written by Steven Rondina

Steven Rondina has been playing video games since he was a toddler and appreciates every genre out there. He has earned the platinum trophy in every Soulsborne game, is regularly Master Ball-ranked on the competitive Pokemon ladder, and has spent thousands of hours missing shots on Dust 2.

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