As the debate between the merits and evils of artificial intelligence rages on, for those of us caught in the middle all we can really do is report on the innovations and hope for the best.

Yet, to the dismay of the doom and gloom crowd, this latest insight does appear to be quite potentially helpful for reducing the tedious tasks surrounding rotoscoping and green screen background removal.

A new AI VFX startup has just announced a pretty significant pre-seed funding round to help them develop a truly automated and flawless background removal process for film and television powered by their AI technology.

Let’s take a look at Electric Sheep and their VC-backed solution to replace green screen rotoscoping with AI and explore how this could be potentially beneficial to film pros and VFX artists everywhere.

The AI Revolution Continues

With a VC roster led by Dasein Capital and backed by others with a strong focus on emerging AI tech companies, Electric Sheep has announced the close of an oversubscribed pre-seed funding round of almost half a million dollars to support their team developing their automated flawless background removal solution.

Electric Sheep aims to completely disrupt the task traditionally known as rotoscoping in the film and video industry by creating AI tech which can fully automate this background removal process. And, as anyone who’s ever done some frame-by-frame keyframing to remove green screen backgrounds by their digital hands can tell you, this could be a huge game changer.

With Electric Sheep’s cloud-native solution called Spotlight, the company is looking to develop an AI process that could work about 360 times faster than the current traditional rotoscoping methodology and process a second of footage in less than a minute.

The Benefits of AI-Powered Background Removal

Now, there are several interesting angles here worth exploring. First and foremost it should come as no surprise to anyone, yet still leap off the page, that there is big money being directed at AI. Venture Capitalists are fighting tooth and nail to lock down promising new AI companies which could fully disrupt any industry—and film and video production is right in the crosshairs.

That being said, it looks like Electric Sheep is more than just a cash grab. With founders coming directly from the VFX world, this seems like a genuine and honest solution to a problem that has digitally plagued the VFX world for ages.

Simply put: Rotoscoping is no fun, and if there’s a new technology out there (even if it is AI-powered) that can automate so much of the framework for artists and creators, then it would obviously be a huge game-changer.

AI background removal

AI background removal at work.

Credit: Electric Sheep

The Future (or End) of Rotoscoping Workflows

From Electric Sheep’s own website, the company gives a great history lesson on the world of rotoscoping, yet ultimately promises an end to the potentially archaic process. And they honestly might be on to something here.

As their CEO Gary Palmer puts it, “flawless background removal negates the need for onset green screens, empowering creatives to capture the energy of the scene without compromising the final image,” and that looks to be what the company will be able to offer here soon.

And with a smart, cloud-native platform that aligns with MovieLabs (a joint research lab venture which is operated by Paramount, Universal, Sony, and Disney), it appears that it’s not just VCs that have taken notice of Electric Sheep and this emerging AI tech, so as this space develops it will most likely make its way into the bigger production houses and industry workflows here soon as well.