Poly is an interesting and ambitious startup that aims at letting users create 3D models, icons, fonts, sound effects, and more creative assets for their projects, all up to spec and using AI text-to-image technology.
So far, the company has first-class funding and backup and is already offering an AI generative model to create custom 3D textures for video games and other immersive designs.
It sets itself to compete with traditional stock media services and video game developing firms. And unlike other companies dipping their toes into AI art for commercial use, it doesn’t seem too worried about the questions surrounding copyright and other legal aspects of AI art.
Are you intrigued? Then keep reading!
Poly is an online platform for AI generative models that lets you create your own custom assets using text-to-image AI technology. It was founded by AI researcher and designer Abhay Agarwal and B2B SaaS business and computer vision expert Sam Young.
With Poly, you can create 3D textures with physically-based rendering –meaning it imitates real-world’s lighting– from a text prompt (and add an image for reference, too). The resulting textures come in customizable resolutions (4K) and include normal and inverted maps, making them ideal for video game design.
Poly’s services are based on different proprietary AI software, trained with its own methods that include extracting texture information from existing images.
You can now use Poly for free, generating an unlimited number of textures and storing an unlimited number of assets on their cloud. All you have to do is sign up for a user account, and you're ready to go. However, this free user access only delivers assets for noncommercial use.
There is a premium subscription that grants users full royalty-free, commercial use rights, among other perks, for a flat monthly fee.
In the future, they want to add more AI generative models to produce illustrations, sprites, sound effects, and more creative materials.
Long-standing and leading companies in the stock media industry, like Shutterstock and Adobe Stock, are carefully trying to embrace AI-generated images while ensuring all legal bases are covered. Other giants in the space, like Getty Images, do not allow this type of media content on their platforms altogether.
Meanwhile, Poly is going full throttle toward building an all-AI-generated stock media library.
When consulted by TechCrunch about the concerns regarding copyright validity and legal status of AI-generated content, Poly co-founder Agarwal didn’t seem too concerned about the matter, saying that this technology finds its detractors mostly in creators who see their livelihoods threatened by it and stating that Poly seeks to empower human creators rather than replacing them.
However, it’s worth noting that he did not address the legal questions posed by software that scraps, processes, and brings back up bits of other artists’ work to build new assets. Which Poly –like pretty much all of its competitors– does.
Since its launch in early 2022, Poly has been included in Y Combinatory’s S22 batch. Last September, it amassed over $3.9 million in funding from high-profile firms such as Felicis, Bloomberg Beta, NextView Ventures, Y Combinator, Figma Ventures, and the AI Grant.
This impressive lineup of investors adds to the founders’ determined and confident take on AI generative models as a business, and their profiling of Poly as a direct competitor to big stock photo sites and video game developer companies, resulting in a very interesting and attractive service to test out and keep an eye on.
What do you think about Poly so far?
I am an experienced author with expertise in digital communication, stock media, design, and creative tools. I have closely followed and reported on AI developments in this field since its early days. I have gained valuable industry insight through my work with leading digital media professionals since 2014.
AI Secrets is a platform for tech decision-makers to learn about AI technology. Our team includes experts such as Amos Struck (20+ yrs ICT, Stock Photo, AI), Ivanna Attie (expert in digital comms, design, stock media), and more who share their views on AI.
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