AI-Mazing 3D Christmas Card Animations 
2 mins read

AI-Mazing 3D Christmas Card Animations 

2023 Christmas Card from Trinity Animation on Vimeo.

Setting the Scene

This year, we set out to create a full animation in comparison to the usual Christmas card. While keeping budget restraints and deadlines in mind, it was clear that a traditional animation approach would be impractical.  We sought out a solution that would avoid turning this into a large-scale production with many moving pieces and people involved.  We put an emphasis on making sure we had production-quality results within our timeframe.  This is where AI became invaluable in executing our 2023 Christmas Card.  

Card Inspiration 

The idea of a pop-up book for the card came from a previous project of mine, the show opener for PBS’s “My World Too.” In that animation, I employed an origami-like style, which enabled me to work quickly and keep focus on the bigger picture. This approach prioritized quantity over quality to complement the extensive scenes of flying through fields and towns. With origami replication, models don’t need intricate texturing or cleaning up to look good.  The messiness adds to the charm of a handcrafted paper style to resonate with the holiday spirit.

Innovation of AI

What set this Christmas card apart was the integration of innovative AI technologies like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT. These tools can instantaneously create images, significantly reducing our estimated work time. For example, by simply asking the AI for a cartoon Santa, I could get several images to choose from within minutes. Then I brought the selected image into our 3D program, cut it out, and animated it popping out of the picture book. By repeating this process, I quickly amassed over 60 paper assets to incorporate into a vibrant, fun scene. AI allowed us to produce a high-quality, animated Christmas card efficiently, demonstrating the powerful synergy between creativity and technology.

By harnessing the power of AI, I transformed what could have been a labor-intensive and resource-draining endeavor into a streamlined and efficient process. AI’s ability to generate images, provide inspiration, and facilitate rapid iteration allowed us to focus on the vision without getting caught up in technical hurdles. The integration of creativity and technology proves the potential of AI to revolutionize the animation industry, opening up new avenues for innovation and expression.

Credit: Nicholas Kaighen