D&D Publisher Updates Policies Following AI Art Controversy

D&D Publisher Updates Policies Following AI Art Controversy
Image: Charlie Hall/Polygon

Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) creator Wizards of the Coast has found itself in the midst of a digital art controversy. There was a discovery of AI-generated artwork in its recent sourcebook “Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants.” The incident has prompted the company to reevaluate its policies and future practices. The company has acknowledged the presence of AI-generated or assisted art in its publication while also promising that it would ensure no such presence is found in future publications. 

The sourcebook was Released digitally on August 1 for pre-orders. The presence of AI-generated artwork sparked a discussion within the D&D community. Wizards of the Coast, owned by Hasbro, issued a statement confirming that it will modify its policies to prevent AI-generated work from making its way into their publications moving forward. 

For now, the AI-created images are currently accessible on D&D Beyond. They will be incorporated in the physical version of the book as well which is set to release on August 15.

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A D&D author known as NevernotDM first raised concerns over evidence of AI utilization in the forthcoming sourcebook. The discoverer called it a “seriously concerning” revelation. 

Artist Ilya Shkipin admitted to employing AI for “certain details or polish and editing” in his work. He provided side-by-side comparisons of finished artwork and initial sketches to clarify his approach. Despite the attempt at alleviating the issue, there has been severe pushback from fellow artists and the broader D&D community. Shkipin removed his posts after the controversy escalated. 

Wizards of the Coast announced that they were unaware of AI usage in the artwork commissioned to the artist. Apparently, the artist has committed not to use AI for future work affiliated with Wizards of the Coast.

Examples of AI generated artwork featured in the book include a character called the Frostmourn and the Frost Giant Ice Shaper. 

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