Akira Akira

Using Adobe’s new AI features, a user has given Katsuhiro Otomo’s classic feature Akira a new aspect ratio. The alteration to the film is an alarming example of how individuals and companies will use AI to alter existing work by animation creators.

The AI user Eric Groza, who identifies himself as both a creative director and neuropsychologist, explains that although Akira was “hand-painted with a level of detail would make Disney blush,” the film’s horizontal format “means on today’s vertical screens you would miss out on the insane details.”

Groza’s solution was to use AI to extend the top and bottom of the screen image. He explained:

Using Adobe’s Beta AI, I was able to extend the 16X9 backgrounds to a full-vertical shot. Complete in the art style of the original background paintings. Then I recomposed the scenes and edited it as an additional video layer. Why is this a big deal? Because this not a blurry-out-of-focus photo, its a distinct style which the AI was able to replicate after lots of tinkering and error.

Groza asked for the test to be widely shared because he believes the technology can help brands, studios, and individual artists:

This is why real artists will learn to love AI. … Brands, productions and animation studios often just crop into a horizontal image to make a vertical format – which cuts out part of the action and often reduces image quality. For artists, it means, that they can augment their style and scale their work. It’s a win for the creative individual who wants to do more with their own hands. Already today, an artist can invent worlds and expand on them with a couple of clicks (and a lot of trial and error).

While the reaction has been largely positive, some commenters on Groza’s Instagram and Linkedin have pointed out that layout and composition are intentional elements in filmmaking and that haphazardly adding new imagery above and below the existing frame alters the filmmaker’s original vision.

Such criticisms haven’t fazed Groza, who commented that he is now considering a Kickstarter to alter the entirety of Akira.

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