Saturday, December 25, 2021

Someone Forced a Bot to Look at Every Pokémon and Generate its Own

Someone forced a bot to look at every Pokémon ever created – then told it to generate its own.

It sounds like the start of another one of those memes where someone makes an absurdist parody script so out-there only a robot could have conceived it, and then claims a bot wrote it. But BuzzFeed data scientist Max Woolf actually made a robot generate Pokémon, and the results are...kind of cool?

In a Twitter thread over the last few weeks, Woolf has been sharing the results of his robot's efforts. Some of them are admittedly a little out there -- there's something that looks like a green bird with an ocarina for a head, a greyish-pink thing that just looks like a mutated pig nose, and plenty of upsetting creatures with no discernable faces, or limbs where they shouldn't be.

But others are pretty cool. I'm personally a fan of the little dude that looks like a taiko drum with eyes on the second page of the above bonus batch, but there are plenty of other cuties that seem reasonable enough as monsters I might encounter in the Pokémon universe somewhere.

Of course, if you're a fan of the weirder stuff, may I recommend Woolf's AI-generated batch that was only based on the 1995-era Ken Sugimori art of the original 151 Pokémon? All of the creatures that came out are very clearly Sugimori-inspired, but uh, boy, there's something delightfully off here:

Woolf's robot Pokémon generation became popular enough on social media that he open-sourced the image preprocessing code he used to create the dataset that led to AI spitting out weird Pokémon, so if you're savvy enough with telling robots to do things, you can probably try it yourself.

He has also, delightfully, done a similar AI-generation with Genshin Impact playable characters. And if you like both of these, the Twitter account @ai_curio has Pokémon, Fire Emblem characters, Animal Crossing characters, and more all generated by bots if you can get through a lot of haunting bot-generated images of hallways to find them.

Or you can just look at real Pokémon in, say, Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl, which we thought were solid remakes that leaned heavily on their origins.

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on Twitter @duckvalentine.


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