"No matter what the medium, you still need the idea of creation, and that's why the creator exists.": Erik Gagnon, Rodeo FX

An integrated approach of data-driven insight, human creativity, and AI make for a balanced creative process

von India Fizer , AdForum

Rodeo FX
Montréal, Kanada
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Erik Gagnon
VFX Supervisor, Video Post-Production Rodeo FX

Multi-talented Art Director, VFX Supervisor, and Flame Compositor, Erik Gagnon of Rodeo FX, lends his insight on implementing AI tools for a more efficient and streamlined creative process.


Does your agency encourage or deter the use of AI in your work? If applicable, how does your team integrate these tools into the creative process?

I promote artificial intelligence because I believe it can be a complement to our creative process, but using it for conceptual, technical, or mechanical purposes can be redundant. It can help both in the visual creative aspect, generating ideas and facilitating their implementation, and in the more technical and rational side, speeding up work time. We use it to communicate visual ideas and create mood boards by using MidJourney and DALL-E. We even go as far as using it to achieve the right tone at times. Otherwise, we use technical tools to assist us in tracking, color grading, and rotoscoping as a starting point for our creative work. It helps to provide momentum.


How does the accessibility of these tools affect the way it is used? 

It's easy to use for anyone. The fact that everyone can use the tools is beneficial and contributes to their fascinating progress. Our daily lives have changed since the emergence of these tools. When these tools weren't available, we dug deeper, with more fervor. Sometimes we use them to go faster, ensuring that these tools remain a solution for giving momentum to the creative process, but they should not become the sole master behind the product.


As AI advances, how is the role of the creative redefined? In what ways do you see the landscape of creation changing/shifting in response to AI?

No matter what the medium, you still need the idea of creation, and that's why the creator exists. One day we may reach a loop, or it will become redundant with artificial intelligence - we'll reach a kind of plateau. That's when the creator will be important to get the wheel moving again.


If AI furthers its capability to create and think, what is a responsible way to use these new technologies?

As time goes on, it may become easier to let it go, but I believe as long as there is a human presence behind it, that's where we will retain the organic aspect. AI brings incredible future promises, and it can be frightening, just like other inventions in life. Like when they transitioned from Morse code to radio; the person tapping out Morse code had to adapt and switch to using the radio. When airplanes arrived, travelers no longer took trains. It required adaptation, exploring new avenues, but humans always remained at the core of these innovations. That's where your creation is enhanced, and you still have a sense of ownership towards your project.