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Card Game Developer Pays AI Artist 90K: The Future is Here, Like It or Not

Updated: Jun 28

The internet erupted in controversy after a game company revealed it had paid an AI artist $90,000 to generate card art, boldly claiming "no one comes close to the quality he delivers" and letting the impressive results speak for themselves.

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The recent revelation that the digital trading card game Champions of Otherworldly Magic paid an "AI artist" $90,000 to generate over 1,000 illustrations has reignited the heated debate around the use of AI for art creation. The game's developers are unapologetic, stating "no one comes close to the quality he delivers" and challenging traditional artists to try to match the AI's output in just 48 hours.

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This bold embrace of AI art generation is sure to ruffle feathers in the artist community. Many artists feel using AI robs humans of income, represents a form of plagiarism by regurgitating elements of an AI's training data, and lacks the human soul that separates art from utility. Popular YouTuber Matt Wolfe whose channel is dedicated to covering AI even made a point to say those leveraging AI tools should be called "AI-assisted artists" rather than "AI artists."

However, this resistance is nothing new - it mirrors the pushback against adopting new art technologies of the past. When the camera was invented, painters fought against the idea of photography as an art form. Adobe's digital editing tools were decried as cheating when digital art started gaining acceptance. Every new innovation that made the creative process easier and more accessible was initially rejected by purists.

The reality is that AI art generation, like all these previous technologies, is simply a tool, albeit a powerful one. Just as Adobe did not replace human artists but instead provided new capabilities, AI can augment and accelerate the artistic process for those willing to embrace it. Champions' developers likely could not have produced such a vast volume of passable artwork through traditional means on their modest $500K budget.

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While the moral and ethical debates around AI will undoubtedly rage on, one thing is clear - AI is becoming increasingly capable in the artistic realm. The AI-generated card art for Champions of Otherworldly Magic doesn't appear to come with any of the normal drawbacks of some AI art, no extra fingers, no generic designs, no mistakes and exhibits consistent evolutions, skins, alt art styles on par with work from a skilled human artist. With this level of output it's only a matter of time before other games and media companies follow Champions' lead out of necessity to meet skyrocketing content demands.

Artists certainly have valid concerns about AI's implications. But like photographers, digital painters, and every other revolutionary art technology before it, AI will likely become a powerful tool that innovative creatives wield to achieve new artistic heights, while more conservative artists continue to garner praise for remaining a purists. The future of art is coming, ready or not - the decision is whether to embrace it or resist it.

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If you'd like to know more you can head over to for a curated collection of today's most popular, most liked AI artwork from across the internet. Plus explore an extensive array of AI tools, complemented by comprehensive guides and reviews, on our AI blog.


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