Joris Bacquet directs ‘_INFINITY’ for Azel Phara.
All environments were made using Artificial Intelligence.
Words from Joris below.
What was your own introduction to AI-created work?
JB: I was intrigued by an app I’d seen mentioned around the internet called DALL-E. A friend of mine later sent me a link to a collaborative Google file called Disco Diffusion and told me to have a look. When I first opened it, I saw hundreds of lines of code and parameters without any UI. Because I’m not particularly technical, it looked like my biggest nightmare.
Can you talk us through the workflow a bit, and some of the technologies you used?
JB: It all started with the script. The constant track-in camera movement and the idea of different levels of storytelling – the combination of the graphic environment and the AI as a character itself – were the basis of the idea. As the song is a kind of a loop and there’s only one word as lyrics, I started thinking about a sort of multi-dimensional universe concept where humans are searching endlessly for infinity as a place, a kind of holy grail or final quest.
I started thinking about a sort of multi-dimensional universe concept where humans are searching endlessly for infinity as a place, a kind of holy grail or final quest.
Then I started to work with Disco Diffusion on many various environment styles from endless space environments, sand deserts, nano universes, nuclear explosions, subaquatic landscapes… and so on. I wanted to make it look a little strange and vintage, kind of retro-futuristic like the comics from my childhood mixed with a contemporary render. On the side, I started to think about how the AI could become a character and interact with the audience and express feelings through words and interface interactions only.
I was always switching between Disco Diffusion, Photoshop, After Effects, and Illustrator and made dozens of test environments before starting to animate because for my vision of the storytelling everything was linked and needed to fit perfectly like puzzle pieces. It was quite a long 2-and-a-half-month journey shifting back and forth between the different mediums.
What is the value of a piece of work, when it can be easily generated by anyone with access to AI?
JB: I think AI should be considered as a tool, like 3D software, a pen, or a camera. It’s just a new form of expression. If you use it on a basic level, then it’s just the AI working instead of you. But when you’re trying to make it part of your own process as a tool and maybe combining it with other parameters like your own databases or personal adjustments, it opens new creative fields for your own work and brings a new perspective. That’s exactly what I’m talking about when the AI quotes Picasso in the video.
The most important parameter in the technological approach is the human behind it, deciding what and how to create using it.
How do you think the advancement of this kind of technology will impact the future of film specifically?
JB: The future of AI is definitely one of the biggest things for all creative disciplines. Without really noticing it, we’re already surrounded by parameters and are part of databases – we’re already living with it. It just becomes more visible through accessible apps or AI.
I won’t be surprised to see scripts or even commercials written with AI’s help in a near future. I remember not so long ago, director David Wilson shared some music video scripts written by AI on social media and it was already mind-blowing.
I won’t be surprised to see scripts or even commercials written with AI’s help in a near future.
The most important parameter in the technological approach is the human behind it, deciding what and how to create using it. When I’m shooting with a camera, I’m deciding how I want the shot to be, the camera angle, the lights… and then by adjusting human and/or technical parameters you make it your own. It’s exactly the same for AI.
AI is a wonderful new shell that needs to be filled or twisted to become something more than just machine processing. Films made by humans express feelings, emotions, and a soul. I’m pretty sure that creativity can’t be overpassed by technology itself but it can definitely help us to reach new heights.
What are you reading at the moment?
JB: ‘Born On A Blue Day’ by Daniel Tammet once again. The book is a biopic of a man with Asperger syndrome who through synesthetic abilities sees and interprets the world in a different way. It has always fascinated me how unknown and endless human capabilities still are.
- Joris Bacquet