An AI tool suite for those in the creative field, by those in the creative field as well as coding and software development, Runway ML is for designers, filmmakers, artists and anyone into creative content, but don’t know how to code.

The brainchild of Cristobal Valenzuela, Runway ML was his thesis project as a student at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. Valenzuela’s aim for the project was to make the “exclusive” technologies of AI and machine learning more inclusive, and “to get people from different backgrounds sitting around the table and using these models.”

Accessibility for Creativity

For creative professionals like designers, 2D and 3D animators, filmmakers and artists, the barriers to applying machine learning to their fields are both in software and hardware. To apply machine learning models to their work, they’d have to use software like TensorFlow or PyTorch. For hardware, they’d need ultra-fast PCs that have the latest GPUs in them. Another option would be to pay for a connection to Amazon Web Services (AWS). The beauty of Runway ML is that it allows creatives to use AI tools without the need for any of these things. Creatives can log onto Runway ML, search for the right tool and follow a step-by-step tutorial. After using up a free trial, they can continue using the available tools for 5 cents per minute.

Not the first AI tool for the masses

Runway ML isn’t the first or only attempt at bringing machine learning and AI to the code-illiterate. Earlier AI tools like Lobe offered a simple drag-and-drop interface for harnessing AI algorithms, without typing a single line of code. A few months later, Microsoft acquired them. Picaas, or Picture as a service by Taiwanese startup iKala, is another previous effort at making the use of AI tools more accessible. Picaas is currently being marketed as an AI image retouching tool for e-commerce. While all three companies simplified the use of AI, Runway ML is the first of its kind for creative fields, as opposed to purely business applications.

Sample applications

Runway ML offers a large and still-growing portfolio of AI tools that let users do a variety of tasks. These include captioning images, colorizing black & white videos, transferring styles of images, creating realistic textures, and more. Each task even comes with detailed step-by-step tutorials and screenshots, so even those who have no coding knowledge whatsoever can use these AI tools.

A screenshot from the Runway ML tutorial for colorizing videos. Each step is shown in detail with screenshots of how to do each step, and even listing what’s needed to perform the task. All this can be done without typing any lines of code (


Implications for Marketers

The slowly-but-surely growing list of companies that simplify machine learning and AI tools for creatives shows there’s an untapped market for these technologies. Many highly creative designers, architects, filmmakers, film editors, visual artists of all sorts — need and can benefit immensely from AI suites that can be used without knowing how to code. Marketers in the AI industry should aim to create more and similarly useful AI tools for creatives, while there aren’t many players.

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What do you think of Runway ML’s AI tools? If you’re a creative professional, have you tried or would you consider using these AI tools for your work? Let us know in the comments!

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