Nowadays, AI (artificial intelligence) is the top technological subject, and as suggested by Alan Warburton (2024), its consequences are compared to those of personal computers when they were introduced into our lives. However, the AI revolution is more profound due to its structural nature, so the comparison is not accurate. Moreover, despite the care of artists and scholars who have dedicated themselves to this new technology, we have also often witnessed those who approach this technology without proper attention to or consideration of its aspects. Such division demands that we get out of our comfort zone and take a stand. This text is part of several questions in my mind that I would like to propose to the animation community. 

Generative AI got my attention when the Volkswagen’s 70th anniversary advertising, by agency AlmapBBDO, used the face of the long-passed Brazilian singer Elis Regina (AlmapBBDO, 2023). Her inheritors agreed to the use of their mother’s face—her daughter Maria Rita took part in the same advertising. However, in the 1960s, Elis Regina was one of the strongest voices against the dictatorship in Brazil, while the car manufacturer Volkswagen supported the regime. Therefore, a question arises: would Elis have agreed with her image being used in this context? Here, we are faced with a strong ethical issue.

A similar concern is also mentioned in the film Envisions: exhibited at the Goethe-Institute’s 2021 AI Festival: Reclaim Our Future—Generation A=Algorithm: “Could [we] exist as avatars of ourselves after we die? Do we even have the right to our images once we’re dead? What if algorithms could be empathetic?” Such questions are not absurd since, as pointed out in The Congress (2013) by Ari Folman, a big studio can use its actors’ images forever. This is also our reality because anyone can change anyone else’s face using an AI software named FaceShift that captures faces and adapts them to another person. Is it “good”? I consider that it depends on the application of this technology. For example, the same actor can play the same character throughout the entire film, showing different ages. This kind of technology has been used in cinema and marketing as shown in the Volkwagen’s ad and the film The Irishman (Martin Scorsese, 2019). However, this software can also be used to create fake news. Mihaela Mihailova brings this ethical issue up for discussion in her lecture about deepfakes at Stanford Humanities Center for their Digital Aesthetics Workshop series. She suggests that“[…] the fact that portrait rights have left the realm of science fiction and entered industry discourse raises questions about Hollywood’s legal preparedness, not to mention the ethical capacity to handle the intricacies of such arrangements in a way that will protect performers’ rights.” (Mihailova, 2023, 0:16:50).

Now moving on to animation. Alan Warburton (2024) points out that proficiency in this medium requires the acquisition of practical skills, even in 3D animation, for those who think that computer animation is similar to generative AI because it deploys computers and software. Moreover, there is over time a progression in the animator’s work. So, when considering the aspect of animation skills, what kind of progress can someone acquire from inserting prompts to AI as a modus operandi? Of course, generative AI can have different benefits, such as helping an animator to animate a character. For instance, this technology has been integrated into software company Adobe’s Character Animator. In advertising this application, the company stated that: “Body Tracker [embedded in Character Animator], powered by Adobe Sensei AI, makes it easy to animate the entire body at once. Just track your movement and your puppet will follow in your footsteps.” (, 2024a). In other words, this tool does not seem to reveal obvious ethical problems related to animation authorship and is meant to streamline the animation process.

To elaborate on the authorship question, where do we position AI-generated animations in relation to other animation formats? AIs that work with prompts, stritu sensu, do not create movements, which the use of animation techniques does. They generate each frame as a whole without input from animated or live-action work. Ian B. Crosby, partner at Susman Godfrey L.L.P. and a lawyer specializing in intellectual property, stated to Bloomberg TV: “What they’re really doing is creating a collage out of little teeny bits of the original expression. And that the models themselves don’t have within them anything like a general idea of the underlying facts.” (Bloomberg TV, 2024, 0:04:16).

Nevertheless, I understand and recognize the importance of the development of technology, and that it must be adapted to our professional field, but this must be done with caution and without recklessness, trying to be fair to animation authors. Perhaps a specific category for generated videos in animation festivals would alleviate some of the disagreement on this issue. The president of Association Internationale du Film D’Animation (ASIFA) Deanna Morse observed that: “Today, our challenges are similar and also different. We face changing technologies, like AI, and authorship and ownership challenges. ASIFA was recently asked to weigh in on where AI fits in animation. As you can imagine, we are having a robust discussion.” (Morse, 2024, 0:05:13).

I would like to share my point of view. Whether a generative AI is used to generate a film, the “prompter” turns into more of an art director rather than an animator. Moreover, there is no actual cinematographer or animator involved in the process but an AI generator. That should also be properly listed in the film credits. Although, this would not be possible considering the lack of transparency around generative AI training sets. Some AIs are allowing the user to use images with royalties-free, public domain, or expired copyrights, and others are using their own image banks, such as Firefly by Adobe (2024b). With such options offered by AI enterprises, they are trying to avoid future ethical issues. Furthermore, anyone can also use AI to adapt any style to one’s generated image. Last year, BBC News reported that Karla Ortiz, a reputable Puerto Rican concept artist, had her artistic style used by Stable Diffusion’s AI model without her consent. Her solution was to get part of her work off the internet and file a class action lawsuit against AI’s unsanctioned use of artistic works.

Ex-Disney supervising animator Aaron Blaise (2023) had expressed both concerns and excitement about AI tools for stylization after he had watched Anime Rock Paper Scissors (2023) by CorridorCrew: “I want to address the elephant in the room, and that is AI training on other artists’ work without their permission. That’s been the big uproar, and I absolutely agree with that. […] Now, if you can create a style for a film and you can train that AI in that style, then what’s to keep you from doing that? ” (Blaise, 2023, 0:15:13). See figure 1.

Figure 1. Screenshot from Anime Rock, Paper, Scissors (Niko Pueringer and Sam Gorski, 2023). Watch the entire animation here.

Finally, some thoughts on how AI has become a crucial issue for the wider field of animation. Personally, I am not against AI, although I am suspicious of any technology that tries to overrule my choices, and we know that prompts rarely generate exactly what someone expects. Returning to Karla Ortiz’s case about Stable Diffusion using her artistic style for their AI model, Professor Ben Zhao from Chicago University replied to the artists’ complaints: “Honestly we just never had any idea that it was such an impactful problem” (BBC, 2023, 0:02:14)—that is an example of what I have mentioned in the beginning of this text. Professor Zhao and SAND Lab announced a “solution” for the artistic style cases used by AIs, the Glaze AI. According to Shawn Shan, a Computer Science Ph.D. student who is working at SAND Lab, Glaze is indented to assist in modifying the image style that is being used as the model to be applied to other images by detaching it from the original artist’s style. However, in fact, it does not work as expected. As reporters Cassandre Coyer and Aruni Sonie (2024) also announced on the online news site Bloomberg Law, Adobe has been faced problems due to their terms of conditions: “Specifically, the “worldwide royalty-free” license in the terms of service that users grant Adobe “to use, reproduce,” and “create derivative works based on” churned some of the nervous backlash on the social media platform X.” Our history tend to show that humans frequently overlook important technology “details” to attain financial and control goals. So, we need to be attentive in our field.

References (2024a). See what new can do. [online]. Available on

Adobe (2024b). Drive business results with Firefly generative AI. [online]. Available on:

AlmapBBDO (2023). Volkswagen’s 70th anniversary in Brazil campaign. [online]. Video available on:

Anime Rock Paper Scissors (Niko Pueringer and Sam Gorski, 2023). [online] YouTube. Available on:

BBC News (2023). Can artists protect their work from AI? [online] YouTube.  Available on:

BBC News (2024). AI: Five things you need to know. [online] YouTube. Available on:

Blaise, A (2023). Disney Animator REACTS to AI Animation! [online] YouTube. Available on:

Bloomberg Television (2023). Can Copyright Law Stop Generative AI and ChatGPT? [online] YouTube. Available on:

Coyer, C. & Soni, A. (2024). Adobe Responds to AI Fears With Plans for Updated Legal Terms. Bloomber Law. [online] Available on:

Folman, A. (2013). The Congress. Israel et ali: Bridgit Folman Film Gang, et ali.

Goethe-Institut (2021,). Envisions:. [online] Video in AI Festival: Reclaim our Future – Generation A=Algorithm. Available on:

Mihailova, M. (2023). Acting Algorithms: Animated Deepfake in Contemporary Media. Digital Aesthetics Workshop series, Stanford Humanities Center. Video available on:

Morse, D. (2024). Where is the I in ASIFA? [online] YouTube. Available on:

Warburton, A. (2024). The making of The Wizard of AI. Ecstatic Truth VIII: Animation and Documentary in Times of Artificial Intelligence, Lusófona/Lisbon.

Eliane Gordeeff is an animator, professor, and researcher at CIEBA in Portugal and LAAD in Brazil, and holds a Ph.D. in Multimedia from Lisbon University in Portugal. She is a member of ASIFA, Society Animation Studies, and Casa da Animação. In 2018 she edited the book Aesthetic Interferences: The Stop Motion Technique in the Animation Narrative and became the Portugal, Spain, and Brazil correspondent for online animation journal Zippy Frames. Gordeeff has published more than 70 academic and non-academic texts with most of them available online on Research Gate with more than 13,000 readers. Besides, she also coordinates a Portuguese language “index” named Acadêmicos da Animação with academic texts edited and published in Brazil.