21st Entertainment Division Excellence Award
YONETSUJI Taizan [Japan]
PaintsChainer is a web application that automatically colors uploaded drawings using AI. Three types of anthropomorphized AI can be chosen from, coloring models called: “Tan- popo,” a soft, pale gradient; “Sat- suki,” a uniform gradation of color; and “Canna,” a coloring of highlights and shadows appearing against a strong background. After automatic coloring, the user can further change the color tone as he or she wishes by manipulating coloring. The web appli- cation also has a function that turns rough sketches such as pencil draw- ings into line drawings. For instance, it is capable of snapping a photo of a drawing sketched in a notebook, turning the photo into a line drawing, and then adding color. The service signi cantly changes the production method of illustrations and manga for both professionals and amateurs. PaintsChainer was accessed a million times within days after being released and has been used by people from around the world. The developer, YO- NETSUJI Taizan created this service using neural networks and applying a deep convolutional generative ad- versarial network (DCGAN) algorithm. The open source program has be- come the subject of research as an example of the latest in the eld of machine learning.
Reason for Award
It goes without saying that the founda- tion forming the strengths of Japan’s content industry is the culture of dou- jin (hobbyist) creations that relies on uniquely evolved manga and anime- like design stylizing. In a signi cant achievement, that vast accumulation has been turned into training data learned by AI as patterns of “similar illustrations” to produce a support platform capable of automatic color- ing that can be utilized by anyone as an online service. Historically, Japa- nese manga developed under primar- ily black-and-white publications, and coloring is one of the biggest hurdles in amateur illustration. By helping with that process, not only does the web application contribute to production of artwork, but it also enables visual presentation even of drawings that are almost casual doodles. Currently, this service is the nest example of breathing life into drawings as ex- pressions of communication. This ex- ample of technology clearing the way for new fertile elds in an environment where communication and creativity inherently mingle harks back to the birth of HATSUNE Miku. (NAKAGAWA Daichi)