AI Startup Exposed: The Use of Humans in 3D Model Generation

By on September 8th, 2023 in news, Service

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Apparently AI-generated 3D models [Source: YouTube / Kaedin]

A report on 404 Media reveals an AI startup was secretly using humans to generate 3D models.

AI-powered solutions are the current rage in the 3D world. Multiple services are now able to produce 3D models seemingly from magic, using only minimal input. Sometimes the input is text (“Text to 3D”), sometimes it’s an image series (NeRF) and other times it’s a single 2D image (“Image to 3D”).

Either way, the idea is to generate a 3D model using AI instead of painstakingly developing it by hand using CAD tools. If this is further refined it will utterly change the world of 3D printing forever.

Using these tools is like magic: uploading basic data, even just a few words, somehow creates competent 3D models. I’ve done this several times on different systems and have been able to 3D print the results.

There are several systems working on this type of product, and one that I had not tested was Kaedim.

The service provides “game-ready on-demand 3D assets” using proprietary AI tools. They say “the world’s best game studios ship 10x faster with Kaedim.” A look at some of their generated assets at top seems to jive with that slogan.

Evidently this wasn’t actually the case. According to a report on 404 Media, the AI tool actually didn’t generate proper 3D models and Kaedim really had human CAD operators behind the scenes fixing up the models manually.

Meanwhile, users had been under the impression that the work was all being done by AI, based on prior statements from the company.

Since this news was released, Kaedim now correctly describes their service:

“Kaedim’s machine learning and in-house art team combine to deliver production-quality assets in minutes.”

I’m not sure if Kaedim’s hybrid service works as I haven’t tried it yet. However, there are some interesting observations in this scenario.

Several of the AI tools I’ve used take time to generate their results. Sometimes it’s only minutes, but other tools can take hours to complete requests.

I had been thinking that these companies were busy processing long queues of user requests through busy servers, but after the 404 Media report there may be something else afoot.

I know have suspicions if a service is taking too long to come back with a response. If it’s only a moment or two, that would be compatible with actual AI processing. But if it’s hours, could it be the company is actually having humans do manual effort to fix up the 3D models? Even if it isn’t true, the suspicions remain due to Kaedim’s actions.

Another observation is that the 3D model generating tools I’ve used all seem to lack proper quality. Yes, you can get a generated elephant, but it might have two trunks (this actually happened to me).

Even though the bizarro elephant was incorrect, the fact that I could generate it at all is still quite amazing. My feeling is that although these AI tools currently generate crappy 3D models, you can see where this is headed. It’s quite likely within a year or two we’ll begin to see very competent 3D models being created by these tools.

Meanwhile, Kaedin was apparently producing “game ready assets” using the current state of AI tech. However, it’s pretty clear that it isn’t quite at that stage yet. Kaedin likely tried to jump ahead before the technology was truly ready and had to backfill gaps with manual labor.

It’s another step on the road to AI.

Via 404 Media

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!

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