We’ve seen artificial intelligence used in various different ways across the igaming industry. But for SOFTSWISS, this technology is helping unlock new pathways for its WebStudio team when it comes to online casino design.
Olga Ivanchik, Head of WebStudio at SOFTSWISS, sits down with CasinoBeats to discuss her role within the WebStudio team and how AI can be used to amplify creativity for designers.
CasinoBeats: When did the WebStudio team start leveraging artificial intelligence, and what motivated them to venture into the field?
OI: In September 2022, I brought an intriguing idea to our Design Team Lead, Tatsiana Sokolovskaya. I was inspired by a LinkedIn post that highlighted a rising design trend in the USA – integration of AI apps and services by professional designers.
Given the substantial volume of graphic design work handled by our studio, including creating captivating page layouts for clients and selecting visually appealing graphics, I grasped the potential value of this innovation for our team. To illustrate the possibilities, I shared relevant examples with Tatsiana and other designers, listing the applications that could be harnessed for this purpose.
Fascinated, we embarked on a compelling journey to explore this trend. The response from our design team was resoundingly positive, prompting us to undertake a trial run of integrating artificial intelligence in our design process. Armed with a trial subscription, we assigned a dedicated group of designers to put the AI tool through its paces, training it to generate creative layouts during a month.
Personally, I found this idea tremendously captivating and inspiring as I realised the potential benefits it could offer both our clients and designers. I wanted to encourage my team to try something new, and motivate them to start using AI. Together with the team, we forged a plan to master the application, delineating initial tasks and diligently monitoring the progress.
I am now immensely proud of the results we achieved: comparing the initial layouts created with the AI assistance to our current projects demonstrates the significant growth and development of our specialists. But beyond all tangible accomplishments, it is the team’s genuine enthusiasm that is truly inspiring.
CasinoBeats: Can you provide insights into the process of developing online casino projects by SOFTSWISS WebStudio, and how do designers use AI in this context?
OI: Our creative journey usually begins with obtaining comprehensive terms of reference from the client, encompassing their precise requirements and desires. For example, the client may envision an image in light colours with captivating aesthetics of a tropical island, featuring bright parrots and other elements befitting the theme.
Based on these inputs, our illustrator and designer embark on a quest for references and inspiration, seeking ideas for the new project. Guided by the overarching concept, the designer creates several layouts that are subsequently presented to the client for review and potential revisions.
This process, demanding a significant investment of time and effort, typically spans a few weeks or even longer, depending on the project’s complexity, client feedback, and requirements. At WebStudio, our paramount objective is to deliver a project that impeccably aligns with the client’s expectations while providing exceptional service at every turn.
Within this multifaceted process, artificial intelligence emerges as a valuable ally. AI comes into play during the initial layout creation, triggered by deft queries. By specifying keywords like ‘old jungle town’, ‘grass-covered bridge’, ‘realistic image’, ‘clear background’, and more, the designer outlines the scope for AI. In a matter of minutes, the app generates a range of images based on these queries, aligning with the designer’s specified parameters while offering diverse compositions, details, and content.
Consequently, while the essence of these images remains consistent, their form and presentation vary. Then our illustrators and animators meticulously process such generated images, which serve as a bedrock for multiple templates to be shared with the client.
CasinoBeats: What are the main advantages of integrating AI into the design process based on the expertise of SOFTSWISS and your team?
OI: I would like to mention the notable advancements we have made in reducing the turnaround time for creating initial layouts. Now we have the ability to generate a multitude of high-quality images with intricate details, each possessing its unique essence.
Previously this process could stretch across several weeks, but now our clients get several layout options, sometimes even dozens, in considerably less time. The same holds true for logos, where our expertise and AI capabilities empower us to offer clients a wider array of variations. In short, we have optimised the speed, quality and quantity, accomplishing what once seemed nearly impossible.
For our designers, the integration of artificial intelligence provides an additional level of freedom and creativity. They now have a richer pool of images for further processing, which affords them the opportunity to dive into techniques that were underutilised before. Moreover, our designers are actively developing their skills of posing accurate queries to extract optimal results from artificial intelligence, based on the specifications at hand. In doing so, they contribute to the ongoing training of AI, ensuring the attainment of the most relevant outcomes in the future.
CasinoBeats: You’ve mentioned that one of your goals was to motivate the team to work with artificial intelligence. Was this endeavour successful? How has working with AI influenced the team engagement?
OI: My goal was to ignite motivation within the team, to invigorate their creative spirits as day-to-day work often leaves little room for embracing novelty and creative endeavours. Introducing AI offered a gateway to infuse the refreshing diversity into regular designer workflow, tapping into new captivating tasks.
To achieve this, we invited designers to reimagine the pre-existing online casino frontend template, fully embracing the capabilities of AI. Their task was to develop ideas and create their own banners, graphics and other elements as they saw fit. It was an opportunity for them to practise, experiment and give shape to ideas that may not have aligned with previous client requirements. The result was a wealth of unique templates that we could readily offer to our clients.
This experience proved to be a profound source of inspiration for our designers. The competition stimulated their creativity and allowed them to refine their skills and dive deeper into the realm of AI, unlocking their inherent potential. Now they approach new challenges with enthusiasm and readiness.
The AI integration has spurred the establishment and launch of an innovation department within WebStudio. In the short term, our primary focus is on developing and scaling up AI implementation. We strive for excellence in this domain, ensuring that our designers possess the proficiency to effectively translate their visual concepts into precise queries for AI. This will enable us to deliver layouts that surpass operator and player expectations, leveraging the capabilities of this remarkable assistant. Looking ahead, we are committed to harnessing innovations across all aspects of the iGaming business.
The team made a big step forward – we also started using AI to create animations for existing images and layouts. This innovative approach enhances the final result, making it more emotionally appealing to both clients and players.
Moreover, the AI integration has not only created a stimulating and engaging environment for our design team but has also unveiled a world of untapped possibilities and boundless opportunities. Our designers wholeheartedly embrace the potential that AI brings and are eager to continue venturing into this promising realm with enthusiasm and deep-seated interest.
CasinoBeats: Do you have any concerns about AI displacing designers in online casino projects?
OI: Allow me to dispel the misconception that AI is going to displace designers and illustrators in the context of online casino projects. Artificial intelligence serves as a tool that amplifies their creativity and accelerates their work process – consider it a valuable assistant.
Just as the emergence of cinema did not lead to the disappearance of theatre, AI cannot replace the creative design profession. Instead, it provides designers with additional options and possibilities, enhancing their creative journey.
AI can generate initial images or suggest ideas, but the refinement, post-processing and transformation of those ideas into their final design still rest on designers’ shoulders. They imbue layouts with uniqueness, make necessary edits and collaborate with clients to achieve the desired outcomes.
Artificial intelligence lacks creativity, intuition or capacity to grasp emotional aspects of design. It is limited in the ability to create genuinely meaningful designs that evoke emotions. The work of a designer requires creativity, inspiration, imagination and an aesthetic sense in order to craft unique designs that convey certain emotions and reflect subjects and themes of the project.
The use of AI in designing online casino projects streamlines and accelerates the development process but does not diminish the designer’s role. The combination of creative thinking and human experience, augmented by artificial intelligence, yields the best results in crafting high-quality and appealing designs. So there is no need to fear that AI will replace designers.