An easy, colorful way to generate 3D characters

YellowSculpt uses AI and natural language processing to turn text into a pre-rigged 3D character model.

Karen Moltenbrey

Start-up Yellow is advancing 3D AI, producing creative tools leveraging generative AI and natural language processing, enabling artists to create pre-rigged 3D characters in minutes by simply typing a word description. The company’s YellowSculpt character meshes are robust, usable assets that seamlessly integrate into leading game engines and popular 3D authoring software. The company is targeting the technology at gaming initially but says it will be expanding it soon for use in other industry segments. YellowSculpt is still in development and undergoing testing at this time.

Yellow AI
With YellowSculpt, just type a description and you get a rigged model that can be used in game development. (Source: Yellow)

Generative AI and natural language processing is making some creative tasks much easier and faster for artists of all experience levels. Many of these breakthroughs are occurring in 2D image generation, but that’s not to say that 3D is not having its moment too. One of the latest developments regarding 3D is from a start-up called Yellow, whose YellowSculpt produces a clean, animatable, pre-rigged 3D character mesh based on a description typed by the user—and does so in less than 3 minutes, the company says.

Yellow, founded in 2023 and backed with $5 million in seed funding from A16z, is headed by CEO Mandeep Waraich, former Google head of product for core ML–large models and industrial AI. Joining him is Co-founder and Chief Scientist Vincent Sitzmann, professor from MIT’s Scene Representation Group; Scientist of Unsupervised 3D Learning Chris Rupprecht, professor from Oxford University’s Visual Geometry Group; and Scientist of Large-Scale Model Training Ludwig Schmidt, professor from Stanford’s Computer Vision Group. Their vision, according to the company, is to lower the barrier to entry for professional-quality 3D creation and make it as intuitive and accessible as typing a sentence or taking a photo.

Yellow says a lot of its underlying technology had to be developed from scratch, maintaining that the existing technologies do not produce topologies that technical artists or animators can work with. The company says it did not want to build black-box generative AI that creates “take it or leave it” assets, but rather a tool that generates assets that can immediately be edited in existing workflows and tools artists are familiar with. This required a lot of experimentation, it states, some of which did not pan out, although some did,  resulting in YellowSculpt, the company’s first product.

Yellow’s technology results in topology-aware 3D generation, making it easier to use and edit assets. It also leverages AI-accelerated sculpting for more efficient editing of existing assets and for generating variations of a 3D asset in different styles. And while most current GenAI techniques produce rigid objects, Yellow’s structured mesh generation results in rigged 3D models that are easily animatable.

Yellow AI
(Source: Yellow)

The YellowSculpt character meshes are not simple representations but rather robust, usable assets that seamlessly integrate into leading game engines such as Unity, Unreal, and Roblox, as well as 3D authoring software including Daz Studio, Maya, and Blender. Although these characters can be used in any M&E interactive experience, Yellow says it wanted to address game-specific needs first. Nevertheless, the technology easily could be used for primary characters, background characters, or crowds in any 3D context—games, films, animations, TV, or other mediums, the company adds.

YellowSculpt is currently used for humanoids, but the team is working on expanding it to more categories including fantasy characters. “Our tool generates pre-rigged, realistic humanoid meshes in an A-pose by using a short textual description. There is work underway to add clothing and accessories to the characters, but that is not supported today,” the company states.

The group explains that it was important for them to be able to integrate the resulting character within an artist’s typical workflow. So, once the character is described and generated, professional artists can then iterate using sculpting tools such as Autodesk’s Maya or Maxon’s ZBrush, and then re-import it into the Yellow tools to clean up the geometry and add the rig.

Because the tools are entirely cloud-based, no additional hardware is required by users.

YellowSculpt is currently being tested in various pipelines. The group says they are also identifying a limited number of pilot opportunities at triple-A game studios. For the general public, YellowSculpt will soon become available for a variety of character-generation, 3D editing, and game development tools.

In a recent development, Yellow entered into a partnership with Tafi to use Yellow’s 3D AI technologies to power Daz Studio’s 3D character generation system. This partnership further enabled Yellow to leverage Daz’s 3D library, specifically its Genesis character content, to train its AI models that are producing the outputs, resulting in an IP-safe process.