My infatuation with AI text to image Art
Okay I admit it..
I have an obsession. Ever since I watched the episode of Last Week Tonight where John Oliver featured a segment on AI art, I've been fascinated and hyperfocused. Most of you who know me or follow me on social media will recognize that my feeds have been flooded lately with weird images, and now I've come to explain why.
In case you've been living under a rock for the last couple months (not a bad thing, there's a whole lot of politics and COVID going on outside,) AI art refers to a computer algorithm that scans a dataset based on a text prompt input that you give it, to compare and contrast relevant artworks and based on similarities or differences produce a unique image.
There's a whole other conversation about who owns these artworks? Are they unique or are they derivative? What are the ethics and ramifications about teaching a computer program our own inherent biases? I really don't want to talk about any of that here, and it's been pretty thoroughly examined in a host of other articles and blogs online. *in fact - as this is being written a case is before the U.S. Supreme Court re: the legitimacy of derivative art.
My purpose in writing this blog is to feature the benefits of AI art, especially to an artist like me who does not possess the technical capability to achieve the type of images that I can create from a text prompt in under two minutes. Here's a few quick examples of what I'm talking about...
There are alot of instances in which the algorithm interprets your text prompt in an unusual way and produces unexpected results. This is, in my opinion the most fun aspect of the whole deal, because it is a fountain of creativity, often giving rise to the next iteration of art and so on...
I've used several AI text-to-prompt generators, but have found that I prefer what's known as "Stable Diffusion" to other earlier DALL-E type algorithms. The two that I would specifically like to highlight are NightCafe, and Wonder.
The artwork above was generated with NightCafe, which takes a social media approach to it's AI prompting. I really like this, as much of the normal social media negativity is absent from the platform. It's hard to criticize someone over art that a computer generated, but really easy to compliment them on a great idea.
NightCafe works on a system of credits that can be earned or purchased from the website's store. Personally, I have been able to earn credits to create hundreds of free artworks that I am the potential NFT owner of without spending a single cent. Users who create a PRO account recieve other benefits in addition to paid credits, such as the ability to tip an artist for their work or interaction.
That's probably my favorite feature of NightCafe. The system of 'badges' that earn you free credits is alot of fun to play with. If you like someone's creations - free credits. Post your art on Twitter or Insta - free credits. When users comment on your art - free credits.
Another great benefit of NightCafe is the ability to enhance or upscale your art, as well as a feature that allows you to upload your own starting image for modification by the AI. There are alot of cool things that you can experiment with duplicating or evolving another user's creation as well. (Don't worry, users have the ability to hide their prompts from public view as well as restrict whether or not someone can use their creations.)
For users that want more flexability than a credits system allows, I recommend Wonder, an app that is downloadable in the Apple Store. It also gives you a few free credits a day, but more importantly has an option for a $30 lifetime subscription, which means you can just pump out creations all day long. Here are a few of the creations I've done with Wonder's AI algorithm.
Although I do love the results I get with Wonder, there are a few basic limitations. Firstly, unlike NightCafe which allows you to pick your aspect ratio, Wonder creations are limited to 9:16 (or cel phone screen) size. Which makes sense because there is no desktop component only the mobile app.
The other major limitation is that aside from being able to download any creation you make to your mobile device, the only place to publish or view another user's art is on the Discord forum, which requires you to set up a (free) Discord account. This isn't a major issue, but I do like having a URL to all of the galleries that I am able to create on my NightCafe account.
By now you're thinking, "Sure, this is all cool, but what good does it do you?" To which I can say with great relief and gratitude that it does ALOT of good. In addition to owning the digital NFT artworks themselves (pending Supreme Court rulings on derivative art of course...) there are a multitude of products that I have been able to create using AI art.
Boomla Designs Tumblers
Firstly, I was able to enhance and upscale the artwork to the proper specifications to have our good friends at Legitly Nifty Things, who specialize in Tumblers, create a run of 8 unique designs for sale at our booth. (Check out FB page for event schedule) As you can see in the photos above, the artwork resolution and color transferred perfectly in the sublimation.
Boomla Designs Shadowboxes
With a little bit of experimentation, I was able to find the right combination of text prompts to create black and white lineart images that I could then import into Adobe Illustrator and transfer into SVG vector images for use on my Glowforge Laser CNC. By integrating AI art into my shadowbox designs I've been able to create beautiful and compelling Shadowboxes for which I own the IP and can sell at any show.
Boomla Designs Trading Cards
Using Wonder to its full capacity I've been able to generate hundreds of high resolution images that I then sorted into several decks of trading cards, card games and tarot decks.
I feel like this is a wonderful way to highlight the artwork you can create, and for the more intuitive user, images resonate with meaning and depth. Let's take a look at the styles of trading card decks available!
Dia de los Muertos
This deck of 72 high color trading cards features vibrant cultural artwork in honor of el Dia le los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead. This deck is perfect for your ofrenda, or to use as an intuitive cartomancy deck. Even the handmade two-part deck boxes feature artwork designed by Wonder AI.
Saga of Samurai Cat
72 high color cards feature artwork of an anthropomorphic cat who lives the code of Bushido. This deck is a wonderful narrative set of trading cards, complete with handmade laser etched box featuring AI artwork from Wonder.
Anyone who knows my fascination with Clive Barker's Nightbreed could predict a mile a way that I'd be using this technology to create a shit-ton of monsters. This deck features 72 trading cards with macabre NSFW monster portraits. (YES! Some of the monsters have boobies and wieners!)
Craiyon AI Art Card Game
Coming Soon from Boomla Designs! An exciting new card game concept featuring AI text generated art from Craiyon DALL-E based AI. The game is designed with four different catagories, one assigned to each color between 1-4 players.
BLUE = TONE
RED = STYLE
YELLOW = MEDIA
GREEN = SUBJECT.
Each catagory has six options to choose from.
TONE - 1.) Whimsical, 2.) Haunted, 3.) Joyous, 4.) Spiritual, 5.) Horrific, 6.) Enigmatic
STYLE - 1.) Psychadelic, 2.) Gothic, 3.) Fantasy, 4.) Surrealism, 5.) Pop-art, 6.) 60's Sci-fi
MEDIA - 1.) Oil/Canvas, 2.) Digital Art, 3.) Illustration, 4.) Photo Realistic, 5.) Microscopic, 6.) Stained Glass
SUBJECT - 1.) Landscape, 2.) Portrait, 3.) Still Life, 4.) Fractal, 5.) Abstract, 6.) Wildlife
The cards were generated through randomly assigned combinations of options from each catagory. To win the game, be the first player to collect a card from one of each option in your catagory. Collect cards by matching the card in play with cards from your hand that have the same options in each catagory!
Crochet Character Designs
Those familiar with my work will know that the Dope Fiends Comics is the greatest story ever told... in crochet! I spent years tirelessly creating unique and bizarre crochet puppets, both for the series of graphic novels I created and for the animated web-series which came later. Now, using AI text to art generators I've been given an infinite engine of character design.
Lastly, AI art has given my imagination the free reign it truly deserves by allowing me to effortlessly depict my ongoing narrative ideas. For instance check out the Bizarre Bazaar, another one of my labor of love projects in homage to Clive Barker's Nightbreed. This is a small bit of fan-fiction starring the Tribes of the Moon, and featuring art generated by both NightCafe and Wonder.
AI Art is here to Stay
With the legal and ethical issues still to be decided, one thing is certain about AI art, and that is that it's not going anywhere any time soon. Such an incredibly powerful tool is available to us all, and the capabilities will only outgrow the limitations. Don't take my word for it however!
I highly encourage you to jump on over to an AI site yourself and open a free account to start creating compelling and wonderfully fun images today!