Wizards of the Coast's Monster Manual
Image: Wizards of the Coast

Dungeons & Dragons has addressed a controversy involving the artwork for its forthcoming Bigby’s Presents: Glory of the Giants expansion. The artwork was commissioned over two years ago from Ilya Shkipin, a well-established artist who has collaborated with the franchise in the past. He has worked on the Dungeon Master’s Guide, Monster Manual, and The Wild Beyond the Witchlight, among other art projects for the company.

However, Shkipin has admitted to using AI to enhance his work submitted for the forthcoming expansion in the series, which has spurred community backlash and disgruntlement. Shkipin did not use AI to produce the art pieces, but rather utilized software to enhance and improve his original work before turning it in. The issue with that is that the artwork still had some giveaways of AI artwork, and specifically unnatural fingers and identical joints which was quickly picked up by the community and fellow artists.  

One Reddit user argued that the final product felt more so like laziness rather than an enhancement, which was the issue. Other users have pitched in and argued that the real issue was for companies such as Wizards of the Coast supposedly “endorsing” such artists.

Shkipin has confirmed the use of AI to improve his pieces and give them a final polish rather than utilizing the technology to replace him entirely in the process. However, Dungeons & Dragons has not been happy with the negative feedback received from the community, and is now in talks with the artist, which probably means that the pieces will be overhauled and given a final touch by Shkipin himself.

Meanwhile, the artist community has been vocal about the ban of AI, which is now capable of producing art that is almost indistinguishable from the work of the best and most experienced artists in the genre. Apart from Wizards of the Coasts, Paizo, a maker of RPG games, has also warned his artists against the use of AI.

Pathfinder, Paizo’s best known brand, and Dungeons & Dragons have both stated that they would consider stricter course of actions in instance where AI art had been submitted by human artists under false pretenses. Dungeons & Dragons has already updated its Artist Guidelines to ensure that such submissions are not going to happen in future.

Stoyan Todorov

Stoyan entered the hobby over seven years ago and his collection has been growing at a pace his spouse has described as “concerning.” Willing to push the boundaries of the connubial bliss to its extremes, Stoyan is here to bring you the latest updates and developments from the world of board games.


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