Champions TCG devs pay AI artist $15k per month for just 10 hours of work generating card art

Champions of Otherworldly Magic is a digital card game, and it appears that all the art for it was generated using AI tools. According to the developers, they have already paid tens of thousands of dollars to a single “AI artist” over the past six months.

Devs of card game Champions of Otherworldly Magic pay AI artist $15k per month for just 10 hours of work

AI-generated card art in Champions TCG

It all started with Hearthstone streamer Swaguar criticizing the art on one of the cards in Champions of Otherworldly Magic, calling it “ugly” and asking, “Why does fat baby Sonic have a scrotum for a left arm?”

He then suggested that the developers “should hire a real artist,” to which the official Champions TCG account responded with a post about the art in the game.

The developers said they pay their “AI artist” $15,000 per month for just 10 hours of work. The main reason is that he can generate hundreds of images for card art “astronomically faster than any team of traditional artists.”

It is unclear who this enigmatic AI artist is, but as Champions TCG co-founder and CEO Miles Malec told PC Gamer, he “has 15 years of digital art experience.” He has already made over 1,000 images for Champions of Otherworldly Magic over the course of six months, with the team paying him a total of $90,000.

“His art is 100% AI generated, yet it has no extra fingers, no generic designs, no mistakes,” the social media post reads. “It has consistent evolutions, skins, alt art styles — literally no one is on his level. We don’t care how he makes it, we only care that the end user enjoys our game.”

Although all the art was generated using AI tools, Malec says the images are still edited by hand before being added to the game: “AI can do bulk of the work/initial generating but to make sure no errors, extra fingers, etc everything needs to be edited and filtered.”

Launched in June 2023, Champions of Otherworldly Magic focuses on PvP matches and tournaments, as well as the trading element. Players can buy NFTs with cards or acquire new packs with so-called “gems” (sold for real money) and trade items from their collections with each other. According to Malec, the game has generated “about $500k” in card sales since launch.

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