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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Layer AI raises $1.8M to deliver AI to sport artwork manufacturing

AI is coming to disrupt sport artwork manufacturing whether or not artists prefer it or not. And Layer AI is the newest startup to lift $1.8 million to deliver AI to sport artwork.

Layer AI raised the spherical of enterprise capital funding from buyers resembling The Video games Fund to create what it says is a cutting-edge AI-powered productiveness software.

The San Francisco firm, identified for its revolutionary options, has attracted a sturdy assist system from trade stalwarts and buyers within the gaming and AI sectors, with case research right here.

The workforce is led by a cadre of trade professionals with in depth expertise in AI, gaming, and laptop imaginative and prescient. Volkan Gurel, the CEO, brings a background in engineering and administration from MIT, Hunch, and Coinbase.


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Supported by Burcu Ozcengiz, the CRO, and Kuo-chin, the CTO, Layer AI boasts a workforce with a strategic combine of experience and expertise throughout numerous domains, all dedicated to advancing gaming artwork manufacturing by way of AI. The corporate has 4 workers now and it’s hiring.

Traders within the spherical included prime serial entrepreneurs and trade legends like Jim Payne, gaming angels like Akin Babayigit, Michele Attisani, Dilpesh Parmar and gaming VCs like The Video games Fund, The Video games Syndicate, GFR Fund, Laton Ventures together with different AI/Tech VCs and angels like 500 World, Elena Silenok, Taimur Rashid. Moreover the workforce additionally obtained a strategic funding from the US-based prime artwork manufacturing and expertise home Devoted Studios.

Layer canvas

Gurel, CEO of Layer AI, stated in an announcement, “Identical to Internet 2.0, Cloud computing or cellular unlocked novel
functions that beat incumbents and different startup opponents based mostly on an excellent product expertise, we consider the AI revolution will probably be no totally different. AI has unlocked many new functions that will probably be constructed on prime of this new tech stack and we plan to win by constructing the very best product expertise for artists within the enterprise leveraging the ability of all the nice foundational fashions and instruments launched by OpenAI, Meta, Stability AI and others. We’re creator-first, enterprise-ready and can stay model-agnostic.”

The newly secured funds and strategic investments have fortified the corporate’s imaginative and prescient to reinforce sport artwork manufacturing. The software, identified for its seamless integration into artwork pipelines and intuitive workflows, goals to empower creators throughout talent ranges, permitting them to discover new concepts and artwork types.

Tripledot’s view of Layer.

In an trade the place AI instruments typically concentrate on common use circumstances or standalone options, Layer AI stands out with its dedication to serving on a regular basis use circumstances in a user-friendly and enterprise-ready method. Testimonials and detailed case research attest to the productiveness increase and enhanced person expertise that Layer AI provides to sport creators. It’s getting used at studios like Tripledot Studios, APPS Teknoloji and Video games United.

“Layer.ai Supercharged Tripledot’s artwork creation, tripling our manufacturing pace and elevating high quality. By decreasing our reliance on outsourcing studios, we’ve not solely saved important prices but additionally introduced the magic of artwork manufacturing in-house. We’re extremely enthusiastic about this expertise and eagerly await additional updates,” stated Andriy Matviychuk, vp of artistic at Tripledot Studios, in an announcement.

“Being deeply rooted in sport growth we see pivotal modifications coming to manufacturing with gen-AI instruments coming into play,” stated Maria Kochmola, Common Associate at The Video games Fund, in an announcement. “We’re not massive followers of the concept of flooding the market with soulless content material and Layer.AI units itself aside by aiming to reinforce, not substitute, human artistry, liberating creators from mundane duties. That’s what all of us consider in. We additionally like that their focus is on enterprise shoppers and their actual wants for seamless integration into current manufacturing pipelines.”

Trying forward, Layer AI plans to develop its choices past 2D era in gaming to cater to backbone and sprite animations. The workforce envisions integrations into non-gaming workflows like advertising and marketing and promoting, making certain a easy transition and enhanced productiveness for creators.

“At a excessive stage, Our artistic course of begins with sketching, continues with draft coloring, and lasts with remaining coloring,” stated Bulut Korzay, chief product officer at Fortune Mine Video games,” in an announcement. “Usually, we’re producing one stage for our sport in 15 days. With the assistance of Layer AI, we decreased this time to five days Our purpose is to make it 3 days with the upcoming new options Layer workforce has deliberate to ship.”

The corporate has already begun serving top-tier shoppers like Tripledot, Sciplay, Magazine Interactive, and quite a few skilled artists since its launch in February 2023. Layer AI is dedicated to additional strengthening its safety and reliability by way of SOC 2 and ISO certification, making certain a sturdy providing for enterprise shoppers. The workforce is hiring. You’ll be able to go to Layer AI’s careers web page for particulars.

“AI unlockedcmany alternatives for gaming and we would like Layer to be the best software to get onboard with and the quickest to ROI “ stated Ozcengiz, the CRO. “Layer is already serving quite a few top-tier shoppers like Tripledot, Sciplay, Magazine Interactive and a whole bunch {of professional} artists since launching in February 2023. Layer can also be working to shore up their compliance program and can obtain SOC 2 and ISO certification to additional cement the safety and reliability of their providing for the enterprise.”

Gurel stated the corporate’s aim is to be a creator-first and enterprise-ready product.

“We consider AI will change artwork creation it doesn’t matter what, and we need to be those doing this in essentially the most accountable and artist-friendly manner, and in a manner that offers confidence to enterprise clients in relation to copyright,” he stated.

Relating to copyright regulation, Gurel stated in an electronic mail to GamesBeat, “We respect copyright and need to shield the mental property of artists. We consider content material generated with no artist involvement or steerage will not be copyrightable. Layer tries to remain according to established norms within the trade round what’s copyrightable work and adapts these norms to the age of AI. Two examples of this are ideation and producing remaining property.”

Layer indie property.

He added, “Right now, when a workforce of artists begins a brand new mission, they do idea growth by making a temper board, gathering content material generated by different artists. The aim of this train is to attract inspiration and develop a singular fashion for the mission. No artist would say placing such content material within the temper board violates somebody’s copyright, since this content material will not be put straight into the ultimate product. Layer helps this use case by offering generic AI fashions like SDXL or DALL-E 3, and we encourage our customers to make use of these for ideation and idea growth, and to not use the outputs of those fashions straight of their remaining product.”

And he stated, “As soon as the workforce develops a singular, unique, ‘copyrightable’ fashion, then Layer offers a manner for them to finetune AI fashions based mostly on reference photographs on this fashion and these finetuned fashions use common world information and mix it with the fashion within the reference photographs to output different photographs in that fashion. This makes Layer a productiveness booster to be used circumstances the place a sport studio needs to create many property of their fashion. On this use case, the creativity and originality nonetheless comes from the artists themselves, and the generated property should not 100% prepared in lots of circumstances, and the artists and artwork administrators nonetheless have to get the ultimate property to 100% manufacturing readiness.”

Relating to the risk that AI poses to jobs, Gurel stated that it’s true that AI will remove some jobs, however it should create many extra increased high quality jobs.

“We consider most artists’ jobs gained’t be eradicated, however they are going to evolve – eradicating the fundamental and repetitive components of their work and opening up new prospects for creativity,” Gurel stated. “This has occurred many occasions earlier than with different technological revolutions up to now and regardless of all of the hype with AI as we speak as if it’s distinctive in historical past, it’s in the end a large technological revolution and we are able to draw a whole lot of analogies from the previous.”

He added, “Images, digital artwork and even tube paint have been all controversial after they have been first invented, however what ended up taking place is demand for artwork exploded together with these innovations, as a result of the fee to create artwork went down and artists’ productiveness went up. We consider this time will probably be no totally different – artists’ creativity and productiveness will enhance by an order of magnitude and the demand for this artwork will enhance much more as much more prospects open up.”

Layer AI workforce

And he stated, “With our clients we’re seeing that with elevated productiveness, as a substitute of reducing jobs they’re delivery extra sport content material in shorter time durations. And this is smart – if a studio is artistic and limitless of their creativeness, they are going to take a software like Layer and easily make extra top of the range video games that their customers need, and thus generate extra income. This isn’t a zero sum sport.”

As for protecting prices for AI low, Gurel stated, “The associated fee has not been an actual subject for us for 2 causes.
First, our workforce is kind of skilled constructing ML infrastructure, and we used this expertise to architect a best-in-class system that’s scalable, environment friendly and tremendous quick. For example, our picture era speeds are an order of magnitude quicker (~3 seconds per batch) than any comparable software.”

And he stated, “And second, we’re targeted on the enterprise phase and enterprise person flows are much more predictable. Our customers come to Layer, get the content material they want, and go away completely happy. Client targeted instruments alternatively could be having a whole lot of price associated points and considerations because of the unpredictable nature of their wants and the way there may be much more content material created “for enjoyable”.

The corporate began in November 2022 and it launched its first model in February 2023 after seening early success. The corporate integrated in July 2023.

“For an organization like us who is targeted on Merge-3 video games like Merge Park, Layer has helped multiply our artwork libraries and manufacturing powers, we’re 240% extra productive due to Layer,” stated Yagiz Gur, manufacturing lead at Video games United, in an announcement.

Relating to accuracy, Gurel stated the corporate can ship two to 3 occasions extra productvity, based mostly on actual customers.

“Layer’s contribution to our artwork pipeline has been super. We’re in a position to produce property for our video games  with 100% extra productiveness. In different phrases, it takes half the time it used to take to provide the identical property. Earlier than Layer, we used to create 3D fashions> Pose the mannequin then get a render. If we needed to edit an asset we wanted to return to the mannequin and take one other render to edit the asset. Utilizing Layer’s Asset Studio, making edits takes just a few minutes. Not solely it saves time, nevertheless it additionally multiply our skills to suppose creativity by offering just a few variations to select from obtain outputs we couldn’t take into consideration earlier than,” stated Samet Soylemez, sport artist at Apps Teknoloji, in an announcement.

“At PlayPack, we have been searching for a user-friendly answer that might simply onboard the workforce for generative AI pipeline integration and workflow, and Layer.ai was the software that the workforce merely selected over all different opponents because of the greatest person expertise. This actually allowed us to hurry up the manufacturing of our merge video games and save a whole lot of sources, enabling us to maneuver ahead with content material growth,” stated Tatjana Kondratyeva, CEO at Playpack, in an announcement.

As for the inspiration, Gurel stated that the workforce targeted AI, MLOps and Gaming. In the summertime/fall of 2022, DALL-E 2, Steady Diffusion have been launched, and the Dreambooth paper got here out, which triggered large curiosity within the AI artwork hobbyist neighborhood in finetuning fashions to create content material in a selected fashion.

“After we noticed this, and mentioned it intimately in a brainstorming session, we immediately acknowledged that if it really works as promised, it might clear up some critical ache factors within the artwork creation pipelines throughout sport growth that we have been very acquainted with,” Gurel stated. “Inside two weeks of beginning the mission, we had some early clients from wo studios that had hundreds of thousands of customers and that served each as validation of the concept and as steerage for additional growth.”

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