14 August 2022

AI uncut

Iagt Sketchbook Ai Uncut

If you’ve been paying attention, the social media is awash with AI art. Some is total shit but others, in the hands of experienced creatives is, and it’s odd saying this, bloody amazing. What’s even more amazing is just how many designer/artists are now tapping into AI models to expand their creative starting points, looking for that ‘happy accident’ as I recently heard it called by one.

For myself, I am not ashamed to say that AI is now an official part of my workflow. It offers me an extra set of hands to generate a foundation at the very least and in some cases, land that happy accident, nailing what was in my mind’s eye. There’s no doubt AI’s here to stay. But my workflow uses AI outputs as a starting point, I take a variety of outputs and then digitally compose, edit and montage with other elements. I find doing this creates a deeper, far more interesting image; it also cleans up the ‘strangeness’ of what the AI can often produce in its image making process.

There are times though the machine spits out images that cause me to stop and reassess, the above image is one of those instances.

This was part of a series of outputs I was making to visualise a hanger with workers tending to spacecraft, partly as a test and partly to visualise an idea. I can’t remember how many passes I did to get to this point but it took a while, that I do remember. What strikes me now, looking at the four or five final outputs again, is just how on the money they all turned out, without any additional post editing work. While they could all do with some basic cleanup, they could all also be used as is; the above image being a perfect example of just how perfect a mood and scene was generated. And while I am often critical of the depiction of man made material that the AI’s produce, in all of the images in this run the ships produced for the hanger were all… good. Yes, I could go in and redefine, reshape or re-detail, but like a John Berkley or John Harris, the painterly looseness I think only adds to the mood.

Food for thought.

Edit, Aug 15th:

There’s been another chatter about the AI’s and the art community, this time centered around a particular AI called ‘Stable Diffusion’. Apart from the guys running it sounding like complete tool bags on Twitter, the thrust of the aggression from the art community was the simple fact that Stable Diffusion was being touted as being able to produce the artistic styles of a healthy database of existing and practicing artists. In other words the Stable Diffusion AI , it seems, is being deliberately being trained, directly, to copy the styles of practicing artists.

This is the black hole that AI represents, and is the cause of much angst. For me, I use the AI to produce scenes that are in my head, so at no point does any artist’s name enter the prompt to influence the output. I mean, why would it? I am producing my own art, not trying to be someone else. But if someone is using the AI to emulate a particular artist’s style and subsequently palming that output off as ‘their’ art? Houston, we have a problem…

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