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GoFundMe Shows Us the Bigger Picture in AI-Powered Animated Spot



A groundbreaking combination of art and science helps storytell the power of community with ArtClass and AKQA

GoFundMe Shows Us the Bigger Picture in AI-Powered Animated Spot

‘Help Changes Everything’ is a street-mural-inspired film, illustrating the positive impact that GoFundMe donors have on the world around them. To represent the diverse communities across America, the campaign’s visuals give a universal sense of purpose and belonging, depicting donors and recipients as heroes in ever-evolving streetscapes, where history seems to be unfolding in real-time. But alongside the beautiful spirit of generosity in the storytelling is something equally compelling; a groundbreaking step forward in artificial intelligence based animation.

As outlined in GoFundMe’s Year in Help report, in 2022, a donation was made on GoFundMe every single second. To celebrate this, the brand worked with design and innovation agency, AKQA, to create a visual narrative that would show how kindness has the power to help people, and bring real change at the community level. 

The team worked with a pioneering LA-based director, Paul Trillo of ArtClass, to generate the campaign’s visuals using a combination of cutting-edge technologies, which helped the audience imagine the impact they’re having on real communities.

The groundbreaking film production included using a combination of DALL-E for composite layers of visual assets, and Stable Diffusion’s Image-2-Image for frame regeneration of a hand painted aesthetic. It is a bold first from a major brand to take a leap of faith and base their large-scale, paid marketing project on A.I-generative art.

This brave and innovative approach is testament to GoFundMe’s role in pushing the world forward throughout the year, with its community helping to provide essentials during record-high inflation, advance educational dreams, and uplift people whose lives were affected by natural disasters, war and loss. In 2022 alone, 28 million people from across the world started a fundraiser or made a donation on GoFundMe. 

The goal of the campaign was to thank those donors and to let them know their contributions make a real-world difference. Therefore the film’s scenes visually transformed with each individual donation, until ultimately revealing the bigger picture; a world made better by kindness and generosity.

As a key piece in the brand’s 'Year In Help' campaign, the hero film’s goal was making real GoFundMe stories feel tangible to current and potential donors. The transforming scenes depict real stories from 2022, such as a veteran’s house being rebuilt after a fire, pets being rescued after Hurricane Ian, and Ukrainian refugees being reunited. The film ends by zooming out from the A.I-animated painted world to a completed street mural which depicts a connected patchwork of kindness and generosity from across the country.

By storytelling real human stories in collaboration with Paul Trillo’s team, they were able to metaphorically demonstrate GoFundMe’s ability to bring worlds together, seamlessly and at scale and with an aggregated mural aesthetic that would represent the diversity of the audience.

Paul Trillo explains: “We wanted to bring to life this mural in a way where every frame looks like a painting. This style of animation used in this project is something that could not have been achieved even just six months ago.”

This emerging A.I. generative art technology was combined with a live action shoot on a soundstage, where Trillo used a bespoke A.I. rotoscoping method for characters, so that the rich motion-based scenes would clearly shift from a negative to positive light, in order to represent the impact of donations and communities being transformed.

Trillo says of the project: “When AKQA and GoFundMe first approached me, I was immediately excited by the opportunity to use cutting-edge technology in a storytelling setting. There have been a lot of independent experiments put out on social media but nothing yet has used AI animation in the service of telling real-life human stories, let alone for a major brand like GoFundMe.“

In terms of A.I’s impending impact on the creative industry, Trillo added: While this took a fair amount of research and design, it was a liberating and fully inspiring process. For me, this was a way to look to the future of how we as creators, designers, filmmakers, and storytellers, can use A.I. as a tool to achieve our vision rather than leaning on it to do all the work for us.”

Online and on social media platforms, the audience can click one level deeper to uncover the real GoFundMe stories behind each of the AI-painted scenes, and donate directly.

Alex Anderson, senior director of brand and creative, GoFundMe, said: “The millions of stories on GoFundMe show the power of people’s desire to help one another. We want people to see that their donations make a difference, and that they're part of a community of help and kindness that's changing the world." 

Tim McDonell, executive creative director, AKQA said: “GoFundMe reinvented what it means to help others, by making it seamless and scalable. When it came to authentically representing an array of stories from diverse communities across America, we wanted to use an approach that also had a seamless and scalable innovation at its core.”

Emlyn Allen, creative director, AKQA added: “This was the right tool, for the right job at the right time.”

McDonell continued: “Our industry is once again at an inflection point where an emerging technology has potential to greatly disrupt. But this project is evidence that when you start with a strong strategy and concept, the combination of human imagination with artificial intelligence makes it simply another tool to supercharge our creativity.”


Agency / Creative
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Genres: Animation

ArtClass, Mon, 09 Jan 2023 09:59:52 GMT