trying clipdrop relight on a study of Jen from the dark Crystal

ClipDrop Relight: Light your pictures

This week I heard about a new tool which is designed for re-lighting photographs, paintings and Illustrations. It uses AI to create depth maps and normal maps from 2D images and has an intuitive interactive way of creating and editing lights for trying different lighting scenarios. More in depth information is available on their blog post about the launch of ClipDrop Relight.

This tool was initially developed for photography use. Use cases to an Illustrator, painter or concept artist artist could be to see how different coloured lighting would affect skin tones, create different lighting scenario reference for a painting or change the look of an image outright.

I tried it out on some of my pictures and was quite impressed. It is similar to things I’ve been trying with normal maps and have written about in previous articles on this blog. ClipDrop takes the time consuming technical stuff out of the process for more casual users of the technique.

trying clipdrop relight on a study of Jen from the dark Crystal

I think the other methods I have written about are more useful for the more game development and animation side of things but this works very well on images with complicated background elements. It almost turns it into a 3D scene. If you want to read about the technology they are using behind the scenes they wrote about that here.

The ClipDrop Relight tool is free to use online but also has a paid Pro version for people who need to download HD versions of the edited pictures and the generated normal maps and depth maps. Incidentally depth maps are also very useful in other VFX and image editing processes so that was a very wise move on their part. I think having the source files would definitely be useful for doing further editing work if required.

There was misinformation and rumors spread around about ClipDrop on social media sites that the developers were using uploaded images to this service as NFTs. This was completely false and they issued a statement on their Twitter account to that effect. I’m not affiliated with them and I haven’t been asked or paid to write this article BTW (like all of my articles to date, I just write about this stuff because I want to).

Understandably there is a lot of fear and trepidation about the use of AI technology at the moment. People fear what they do not understand. I have my own hesitation about some uses of AI technology as well but not that which is trying to help artists and creators, only that which may hinder them. I don’t really want to go into detail about all of that, I’d rather just have fun creating things and leave that to people more suited to discussing the ins and outs of it.

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