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Why did Instagram flag this Warhammer mini as AI generated?

This Warhammer Age of Sigmar mini might be well painted, but it was crafted by the hand of a fan, not generated by a large language model.

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternal with gold armor and a red shield and plume

Warhammer Age of Sigmar fan Filippo Maria Conte Capodacqua was surprised when he uploaded a newly painted Stormcast Eternals mini  to Instagram, only for it to be flagged by the system as an AI generated or altered image. We’ll admit that this is a very nice paint job, but it’s still well within the realm of normal human painting – what gives?

The model in question is a Stormcast Eternals Liberator from the (as yet not officially released) Age of Sigmar 4th edition launch box set ‘Skaventide’. Capodacqua unexpectedly received his pre-order of the set from an independent game store early.

A Warhammer Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternal with gold armor and a red shield and plume

“My fiancé wants to try out Spearhead”, he explains, so he’s now painting both Age of Sigmar armies from the box, “Skaven for me and Stormcast for her”.

According to a post by Capodacqua on the r/Warhammer subReddit, when he uploaded a photo of his mini to Instagram, the software “automatically [turned on the] ‘made with AI’ tag”. He edited the post to manually turn off the warning, but an ‘AI info’ label is still attached to it, and visible when you check the post in the Instagram app.

What gives? According to Meta’s help statement about “how AI-generated content is identified and labeled on Meta”, this kind of label gets stuck to “any content that contains industry-standard signals that it’s generated by AI”.

The thing is, as far as Capodacqua knows, “The picture is completely unaltered”. “I haven’t modified it in any app or software”, he tells Wargamer. He didn’t even “change any saturation, colors, or light”.

Detail of the golden face icon on the red shield of a Warhammer Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternal with gold armor

A lot is hinging on what Meta means by “industry-standard signals” of AI generation. If it refers to the file’s metadata – all the information in the file that isn’t the image itself – it’s possible that Capodacqua’s phone camera is performing some kind of image processing that generates an AI signature.

But the “industry-standard signals” could be patterns within the image itself that, in some way, mark it out as likely machine generated. If that’s the case, it’s possible that a painted Stormcast mini has something in common with AI generated media.

We’ve asked Meta to clarify, and will update this article if we get a response. Several respondents to Capodacqua’s Reddit thread reported similar photo mislabelings, for things ranging from miniatures to crochet.

The back view of a Warhammer Age of Sigmar Stormcast Eternal with gold armor and a silver mail skirt

It’s not just Instagram’s AI detector that’s bamboozled by Capodacqua’s work, however. Lots of the commentors on his Reddit post assumed the paintjob was achieved using the technical ‘non-metallic metal’ method. In fact he painted it using “true metallics”, applied through multiple layers of dry brushing, with some Contrast paints for good measure.

We’re eagerly awaiting the Age of Sigmar 4th edition launch this month. To keep up with the latest Age of Sigmar announcements, follow Wargamer on Google News.