Roblox reveals new AI-powered 3D modeling tools to 'empower the creation of anything, anywhere, by anyone,' which we're probably not meant to read too closely

(Image credit: Roblox Corporation)

Today at GDC, Roblox unveiled a pair of AI technologies aiming to streamline 3D modeling for the platform's boundless legion of content creators. The tools aim to automatically prepare 3D models for animation and provide AI-powered texture generation, offering either a way to offload some creative tedium, or to accelerate the expansion of the company's exploitable labor pool, depending on how charitably you want to look at it.

The first of the announced tools, Avatar Auto Setup, automatically handles the rigging of humanoid models, which prepares the model for animation—in this case, for use as a Roblox avatar. "With just a click, Auto Setup will automatically rig, cage, segment, and skin 3D models," Roblox said in a provided press release, claiming the tech cuts a process that can take days down to a handful of minutes. The second tool, Texture Generator, uses predictive image generation to create a texture for a 3D object based on a text prompt.

"We are showcasing new technologies and opportunities to create, scale, and monetize on the platform in support of our vision to empower the creation of anything, anywhere, by anyone,” Nick Tornow, Vice President of Creator Engineering at Roblox, said in the provided press release. The "by anyone" there sticks out, considering that just last month Roblox was accused in a class-action lawsuit of building a platform founded on the exploitation of child labor.

Included demo footage of the new Roblox Studio features shows a baby-faced mannequin as it's processed by Avatar Auto Setup for avatar use. Before demonstrating the model's automated rigging with a standard running animation, the model gets slapped with a set of clothes thanks to its freshly-generated attachment points for Roblox cosmetics. Luckily for our nameless figure, I'm not basing any impressions on style points, because they've been garbed as a fantasy ranger with the world's worst haircut/headwear pairing. But hey, the auto-rigging looks like it works.

(Image credit: Roblox Corporation)

Likewise, Roblox showed a set of 3D models with textures provided by the new prompt-based Texture Generator. A 3D mesh of a backpack gets skinned with the prompt "designer backpack, weathered red leather," and the generated texture does, indeed, look like weathered red leather. Roblox also showed an automatically-textured treasure chest, an armchair, and a bear that cycles through a few textures: one armored, one icy, another cybernetic. Roblox says in the press release that Texture Generator can be used to "prototype new looks," which matches the quality of the results. The textures match the input prompts, but look more "starting point" than "finished product."

Avatar Auto Setup and Texture Generator are available today in Roblox Studio

Lincoln Carpenter

Lincoln spent his formative years in World of Warcraft, and hopes to someday recover from the experience. Having earned a Creative Writing degree by convincing professors to accept his papers about Dwarf Fortress, he leverages that expertise in his most important work: judging a video game’s lore purely on the quality of its proper nouns. With writing at Waypoint and Fanbyte, Lincoln started freelancing for PC Gamer in Fall of 2021, and will take any excuse to insist that games are storytelling toolkits—whether we’re shaping those stories for ourselves, or sharing them with others. Or to gush about Monster Hunter.