Written by 1:30 pm AI, Discussions, Uncategorized

### Layer AI Secures $1.8 Million Funding to Enhance Game Art Creation with AI

AI is coming to disrupt game art production whether artists like it or not. And Layer AI is the lat…

AI is poised to revolutionize game art production, regardless of artists’ sentiments towards this technological advancement. Layer AI, the latest startup in this domain, has successfully secured $1.8 million in funding to propel the integration of AI into game art creation.

Venture capital backing from notable investors like The Games Fund has enabled Layer AI to develop a state-of-the-art AI-driven tool aimed at enhancing productivity in the field. The company, headquartered in San Francisco and renowned for its innovative solutions, has garnered substantial support from industry veterans and investors within the gaming and AI sectors.

The leadership team at Layer AI comprises seasoned professionals with a wealth of experience in AI, gaming, and computer vision. Volkan Gurel, the CEO, brings a strong background in engineering and management from prestigious institutions like MIT, Hunch, and Coinbase.

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Supported by Burcu Ozcengiz as the CRO and Kuo-chin as the CTO, Layer AI boasts a diverse team with a blend of expertise across various domains, all dedicated to advancing game art production through AI. Currently employing four individuals, the company is actively seeking new talent.

Investors in the funding round include prominent serial entrepreneurs and industry icons such as Jim Payne, gaming angels like Akin Babayigit and Michele Attisani, Dilpesh Parmar, gaming VCs like The Games Fund, The Games Syndicate, GFR Fund, Laton Ventures, as well as other AI/Tech VCs and angels like 500 Global, Elena Silenok, and Taimur Rashid. Additionally, the team has received strategic investment from the renowned US-based art production and talent house, Devoted Studios.
Layer canvas
Gurel, the CEO of Layer AI, emphasized, “Similar to the transformative impact of Web 2.0, Cloud computing, or mobile technologies that introduced groundbreaking applications surpassing incumbents and other startups through exceptional user experiences, we believe the AI revolution will follow suit. By harnessing the power of cutting-edge AI models and tools from industry leaders like OpenAI, Meta, Stability AI, and others, we aim to deliver the ultimate product experience for artists in the enterprise realm. Our approach is creator-centric, enterprise-oriented, and remains adaptable to various foundational models and tools.”

The recent influx of funds and strategic investments has further solidified the company’s vision to revolutionize game art production. The tool’s seamless integration into art pipelines and intuitive workflows is designed to empower creators of all skill levels, enabling them to explore new artistic concepts and styles.
Tripledot’s view of Layer.
In an industry where AI solutions often cater to general use cases or specific features, Layer AI distinguishes itself by prioritizing user-friendly, enterprise-grade functionalities tailored to everyday requirements. Testimonials and detailed case studies attest to the productivity enhancements and improved user experiences provided by Layer AI to game creators. Noteworthy adoption of Layer AI is observed at studios like Tripledot Studios, APPS Teknoloji, and Games United.

Andriy Matviychuk, vice president of creative at Tripledot Studios, expressed, “Layer.ai has revolutionized Tripledot’s art creation process, tripling our production speed while elevating quality. By reducing our dependence on external studios, we have not only achieved significant cost savings but also internalized the magic of art production. We are eagerly anticipating further advancements in this technology.”

Maria Kochmola, General Partner at The Games Fund, remarked, “As game development evolves, we foresee significant transformations in production workflows with the advent of next-gen AI tools. At The Games Fund, we advocate for enriching, rather than replacing, human creativity in artistry. Layer.AI stands out by focusing on enterprise clients’ real needs for seamless integration into existing production pipelines.”

Looking ahead, Layer AI intends to broaden its scope beyond 2D gaming generation to encompass spine and sprite animations. The team envisions expanding integrations into non-gaming sectors such as marketing and advertising, ensuring a seamless transition and heightened productivity for creators.

Bulut Korzay, chief product officer at Fortune Mine Games, shared, “Our creative journey typically involves sketching, initial coloring, and final coloring stages. Traditionally, we would develop one game level in 15 days. With Layer AI’s assistance, we have reduced this timeline to just 5 days. Our goal is to further streamline this process to 3 days with the upcoming features planned by the Layer team.”

Since its launch in February 2023, Layer AI has already commenced collaborations with esteemed clients like Tripledot, Sciplay, Mag Interactive, and numerous professional artists. The company remains dedicated to enhancing its security and reliability standards through SOC 2 and ISO certifications, ensuring a robust offering for enterprise clients. As the team expands, interested individuals can explore career opportunities on Layer AI’s dedicated careers page.

Ozcengiz, the CRO, affirmed, “AI has unlocked a myriad of opportunities for the gaming industry, and Layer strives to be the go-to solution for seamless onboarding and rapid return on investment. With a strong client base including top-tier entities like Tripledot, Sciplay, Mag Interactive, and numerous professional artists, Layer is steadfast in fortifying its compliance framework through SOC 2 and ISO certifications to ensure the utmost security and reliability for enterprise clients.”
Layer indie assets.
Discussing copyright considerations, Gurel highlighted the company’s stance on protecting artists’ intellectual property. He emphasized the distinction between content that is artistically guided and AI-generated content. Layer AI encourages users to leverage generic AI models like SDXL or DALL-E 3 for ideation and concept development, while emphasizing the importance of originality and creativity in the final artistic output.

Gurel elaborated, “Layer facilitates the refinement of AI models based on reference images to align with a unique, copyrightable style developed by the artists themselves. This approach enhances productivity for scenarios where game studios aim to create multiple assets within their distinctive style. The core creativity and originality stem from the artists, with the generated assets often requiring further refinement by artists and art directors to achieve final production quality.”

Addressing concerns about AI’s impact on employment, Gurel acknowledged the potential for job displacement while emphasizing the emergence of higher-quality roles driven by AI advancements. He expressed confidence that AI will augment artists’ capabilities by automating mundane tasks and fostering new realms of creativity, akin to historical technological revolutions that expanded artistic possibilities.

Gurel emphasized, “Our observations indicate that increased productivity, rather than job cuts, leads to accelerated game content delivery. Studios equipped with tools like Layer can unleash their creative potential, producing top-quality games efficiently to meet user demands and drive revenue growth. This transformative process is not a zero-sum game.”

Regarding cost efficiency in AI implementation, Gurel underscored two key factors contributing to Layer AI’s cost-effective operations. Firstly, the team’s expertise in developing ML infrastructure has enabled the creation of a scalable, efficient, and high-speed system. Secondly, the company’s focus on enterprise clientele ensures predictable user flows, enhancing cost-effectiveness compared to consumer-centric tools with volatile usage patterns.

Layer AI was established in November 2022 and launched its initial version in February 2023, following early successes. The company completed its incorporation in July 2023.

Yagiz Gur, production lead at Games United, lauded Layer’s impact on their Merge-3 games, stating, “Layer has significantly expanded our art libraries and production capabilities, resulting in a 240% boost in productivity.” Real user feedback indicates that Layer AI can enhance productivity by two to three times compared to traditional methods.

Samet Soylemez, game artist at Apps Teknoloji, shared his experience, “Layer’s integration into our art pipeline has been transformative. We can now produce game assets with 100% enhanced productivity, halving the time required for asset creation. The streamlined editing process offered by Layer’s Asset Studio not only saves time but also amplifies our creative thinking by providing diverse variations to choose from, unlocking new creative outputs.”

Tatjana Kondratyeva, CEO at Playpack, highlighted the user-friendly nature of Layer AI, enabling seamless integration of generative AI pipelines and workflows. This streamlined workflow has accelerated the production of merge games at PlayPack, optimizing resource utilization and expediting content development.

Reflecting on the company’s inspiration, Gurel emphasized their focus on AI, MLOps, and Gaming. The release of transformative AI models like DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion in the summer/fall of 2022, alongside the Dreambooth paper, sparked widespread interest within the AI art enthusiast community towards fine-tuning models for style-specific content creation.

Gurel recalled, “Upon recognizing the potential of these advancements to address critical pain points in art creation pipelines during game development, we swiftly embarked on the project. Within a fortnight, early adopters from prominent studios with millions of users validated our concept, guiding our further development efforts.”

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Last modified: February 25, 2024
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