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Dungeons & Dragons cracks down on AI-generated artwork in its official publications

Dungeons & Dragons cracks down on AI-generated artwork
Dungeons & Dragons cracks down on AI-generated artwork Copyright Jason A. Frizzelle/AP
Copyright Jason A. Frizzelle/AP
By Luke Hurst with AP
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The company behind the popular RPG game said an artist it has worked with since 2014 was found to have used AI to generate images for an upcoming book.

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Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is making it easier than ever to create illustrations and artworks, with programmes such as DALL-E and Midjourney capable of spitting out complex images in a matter of seconds.

The emergence of this generative technology has sparked heated debate and legal challenges in the world of image creation - and now the world’s most popular tabletop role-playing game franchise has been caught in the headlights.

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a game series owned by Hasbro, admitted it had only found out on Saturday that an illustrator it has worked with for nearly a decade had used AI to create commissioned artwork for an upcoming book.

It was alerted to the issue when a number of people pointed out on social media that at least one image of an axe-wielding giant looked a little too strange, and they questioned whether the image was made by a human.

The franchise, run by Hasbro subsidiary Wizards of the Coast, said in a statement it had talked to the artist and was clarifying the rules - adding that AI will not be used as part of the art creation process for D&D art in the future.

A statement posted on the social media platform X - formerly known as Twitter - on Sunday read: “Today we became aware that an artist used AI to create artwork for the upcoming book, Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants. We have worked with this artist since 2014 and he’s put years of work into books we all love.

“While we weren't aware of the artist's choice to use AI in the creation process for these commissioned pieces, we have discussed with him, and he will not use AI for Wizards' work moving forward”.

AI-generated art or images often reveal clues that it was generated by a machine and not a human, with things like distorted limbs and hands with more than five fingers giving them away.

Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast didn’t respond to Associated Press’s requests for further comment on Sunday.

Hasbro bought D&D Beyond - the official digital companion for the role-playing game - for $146.3 million (€133 million) last year.

The art in question is in a soon-to-be-released hardcover book of monster descriptions and lore, called “Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants”.

The digital and physical version of the package is selling for $59.95 (€54) on the D&D website and is due for an August 15 release.

The use of AI to generate images and other creative work has raised copyright concerns in a number of industries.

Some visual artists are suing AI companies for training their algorithms on their work without their permission.

Hasbro rival Mattel used AI-generated images to help come up with ideas for new Hot Wheels toy cars, though it hasn't said if that was more than an experiment.

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