Toei Animation and PFN Jointly Test Use of Artificial Intelligence to Streamline Anime Production
PFN-Developed Scenify used for background images in experimental video URVAN
TOKYO – March 12, 2021 – Toei Animation Co., Ltd. (Toei Animation) and Preferred Networks, Inc. (PFN) have jointly conducted trials on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to streamline production of anime. As part of this effort, PFN’s AI-powered background image production tool Scenify™ was introduced for the production of URVAN, an experimental five-minute video published in February 2021 by Toei Animation’s PEROs (Prototyping and Experimental Research in Oizumi Studio) team. Scenify uses PFN’s AI-based image processing and segmentation technologies.
Adobe® Photoshop ® user interface of Scenify
URVAN features scenery from the city of Sasebo, Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan, in two anime styles: basic and cyberpunk. By using Scenify to auto-convert scenery photographs into basic anime-style images, pre-processing time was reduced to approximately a sixth compared to conventional methods. Scenify was used in two-thirds of the background images appearing in URVAN. Thanks to the reduced workload to produce basic background images, Toei Animation artists could focus their creative input on the cyberpunk elements.
Background image production using Scenify in experimental video URVAN
Anime-style image converted by Scenify
Final cyberpunk background retouched by Toei Animation artists
Toei Animation plans to use Scenify for the production of TV anime series and anime films in the future. The two companies will continue combining Toei Animation’s creative expertise with PFN’s technologies to bring innovation to anime production and create new ways of expression in visual entertainment.