One of Japan’s oldest animation studios embraces new technology to speed up animation production and cope with labor shortages. Toei Animation started using AI software to create animation backgrounds as well as color character’s clothing.

In the animated short Urvan, released earlier this year, the studio used Scenify to convert photos of Japanese Sasebo city into images with anime-style rendering. Artists then retouched the cyberpunk-like backgrounds in the experimental film. Scenify’s developers state that the use of its AI-based image processing technology cuts down the pre-processing time to one-sixth of what it would normally take. That is attractive to the animation industry, where production often comes at a high cost.

First founded in 1948, Toei Animation has produced several hits such as Digimon, Dragon Ball, and Sailor Moon. Many famous Japanese animators, like the founders of Studio Ghibli, have worked for the studio.