AI for writers who want to create art

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Mel L

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With all the talk about AI replacing writers, here's an app that could work to bring out our inner artists. Have not tried it myself, but love the idea of using words to instruct the app on what to draw. I'm thinking logos and graphics, or anyone who wants to create unique cover art for self-publishing. (Apologies to professional artists!)

Copied from an article in the December 2022 edition of Swissquote, a business magazine. (https://en.swissquote.com/sites/default/files/2022-12/sq6_en_epaper.pdf)

BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST WITH AI

BY GÉRARD DUCLOS

With all the progress made in the world of AI, now anyone can instantly become an accomplished artist. We tested this fascinating technology with the MidJourney program.

In January 2021, at the height of the pandemic, OpenAI, an AI research lab that brings together the best of US tech companies, announced the launch of DALL-E, a program that creates images from text descriptions.

The concept involves users typing words or phrases and the program creating images based on those words. The more precise the words, the better the images turn out.

This was quickly followed by DALL-E 2, an improved version, as well as competitor programs. This breakthrough marks the start of mass-market availability of artificial intelligence that has been developed for years in Silicon Valley labs and trained for more than a decade by billions of CAPTCHAs completed for free by billions of users (AI thanks you).

A competitor of DALL-E, MidJourney stands out for its user-friendly approach and users can generate up to 25 free images before switching to the subscription option. To start the process, we connected to the Discord server to supply the program with our text.

The first surprise is that there is no predefined list of keywords or commands. You can use whatever combination of words you like, even the most absurd or far-fetched phrases, such as “a trader in a red suit sitting in a chair reads a financial magazine while a screen behind him shows the market crashing to 0”. Hmm, not a bad idea, let’s try that sentence! I submit the request and the program generates four iterations of the image in just a few seconds. The result is incredible. AI actually drew four traders in red suits reading a financial magazine while a screen behind them shows the market crashing, and it is actually rather pleasing to look at, even if there are a few imperfections.

Even though there isn’t a list of keywords per se, we can give the program all sorts of details about the style and quality that we are expecting from the generated image: super realistic, cyberpunk, in the style of Rembrandt, 8k, incredibly detailed, etc. The possibilities are endless we soon realise, as we admire drawings done by much more advanced users who are using the program at the same

Some of the drawings are so impressive that it is virtually impossible to believe that the final image was drawn entirely by artificial intelligence. The Discord server is full of fascinating examples of high-quality images, such as entire comic books drawn by AI in a coherent and very aesthetically pleasing manner.

For more abstract but just as surprising results, you can also try short combinations of words or abstract concepts and let yourself be amazed by the program. For example, we tried “sunset on medieval Switzerland”. Once again, the result is incredibly beautiful and detailed.

At the end of our test, we were amazed and terrified in equal measure. One thing is certain: AI is on track to replace humans in applications which we thought it could never do, such as art, design and aestheticism... And it will only get better in the future.
 
With all the talk about AI replacing writers, here's an app that could work to bring out our inner artists. Have not tried it myself, but love the idea of using words to instruct the app on what to draw. I'm thinking logos and graphics, or anyone who wants to create unique cover art for self-publishing. (Apologies to professional artists!)

Copied from an article in the December 2022 edition of Swissquote, a business magazine. (https://en.swissquote.com/sites/default/files/2022-12/sq6_en_epaper.pdf)

BECOME A PROFESSIONAL ARTIST WITH AI

BY GÉRARD DUCLOS

With all the progress made in the world of AI, now anyone can instantly become an accomplished artist. We tested this fascinating technology with the MidJourney program.

In January 2021, at the height of the pandemic, OpenAI, an AI research lab that brings together the best of US tech companies, announced the launch of DALL-E, a program that creates images from text descriptions.

The concept involves users typing words or phrases and the program creating images based on those words. The more precise the words, the better the images turn out.

This was quickly followed by DALL-E 2, an improved version, as well as competitor programs. This breakthrough marks the start of mass-market availability of artificial intelligence that has been developed for years in Silicon Valley labs and trained for more than a decade by billions of CAPTCHAs completed for free by billions of users (AI thanks you).

A competitor of DALL-E, MidJourney stands out for its user-friendly approach and users can generate up to 25 free images before switching to the subscription option. To start the process, we connected to the Discord server to supply the program with our text.

The first surprise is that there is no predefined list of keywords or commands. You can use whatever combination of words you like, even the most absurd or far-fetched phrases, such as “a trader in a red suit sitting in a chair reads a financial magazine while a screen behind him shows the market crashing to 0”. Hmm, not a bad idea, let’s try that sentence! I submit the request and the program generates four iterations of the image in just a few seconds. The result is incredible. AI actually drew four traders in red suits reading a financial magazine while a screen behind them shows the market crashing, and it is actually rather pleasing to look at, even if there are a few imperfections.

Even though there isn’t a list of keywords per se, we can give the program all sorts of details about the style and quality that we are expecting from the generated image: super realistic, cyberpunk, in the style of Rembrandt, 8k, incredibly detailed, etc. The possibilities are endless we soon realise, as we admire drawings done by much more advanced users who are using the program at the same

Some of the drawings are so impressive that it is virtually impossible to believe that the final image was drawn entirely by artificial intelligence. The Discord server is full of fascinating examples of high-quality images, such as entire comic books drawn by AI in a coherent and very aesthetically pleasing manner.

For more abstract but just as surprising results, you can also try short combinations of words or abstract concepts and let yourself be amazed by the program. For example, we tried “sunset on medieval Switzerland”. Once again, the result is incredibly beautiful and detailed.

At the end of our test, we were amazed and terrified in equal measure. One thing is certain: AI is on track to replace humans in applications which we thought it could never do, such as art, design and aestheticism... And it will only get better in the future.
Yes, I’m sure AI can do stuff.
And can do it well.
And for those on a budget, it’s certainly a useful tool.
But consider this: do we want to start depriving all the people who make their living as designers from losing the work? Just because we can give the work to a computer, should we?
Remember the days when mass production and ultra-cheap supermarkets took over from all the local, independent, family-run shops, that offered a personal service? Because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
If we stop supporting artists (the way the government ignored them during Covid) then they, too, will be forced to find other professions to survive. Funding for training will dry up. Fewer opportunities for artists will result. We will lose them, make no mistake about that - Covid has already forced people I know in many creative industries to do a financial re-think.
So now is a great time for making decisions about what to choose, bearing in mind the effect this could have on a long-term basis.
 
Yes, I’m sure AI can do stuff.
And can do it well.
And for those on a budget, it’s certainly a useful tool.
But consider this: do we want to start depriving all the people who make their living as designers from losing the work? Just because we can give the work to a computer, should we?
Remember the days when mass production and ultra-cheap supermarkets took over from all the local, independent, family-run shops, that offered a personal service? Because once they’re gone, they’re gone.
If we stop supporting artists (the way the government ignored them during Covid) then they, too, will be forced to find other professions to survive. Funding for training will dry up. Fewer opportunities for artists will result. We will lose them, make no mistake about that - Covid has already forced people I know in many creative industries to do a financial re-think.
So now is a great time for making decisions about what to choose, bearing in mind the effect this could have on a long-term basis.
Fair points, Bev. Admittedly, I was of two minds in sharing this, because if, as writers, we do not appreciate the (mis)use of AI to do our jobs, why promote the idea of doing the same thing to artists? That said, here is why I am tempted to explore this app.

Like a lot of writers, I also feel a strong creative urge to draw and paint (and sing and act, but I'll spare you that, ha ha). The ideas are there, and the sense of colour and style, only I don't have the artistic skills to bring them to life. How tempting then to be able to express them through words! Having worked with graphic artists and designers, who are so often visual rather than word-oriented, it is often frustrating when the result does not capture the idea you had imagined. And finally, so much attention has been given to the potential of AI to do the work of writers -- this is the first time I've seen the twist of writers becoming artists.
 
Well, I'm pretty sure by now, most people here at Litopia know how I feel about AI. My daughter and son are just about to graduate in Illustration and Film Making respectively. Already there is competition with other humans, add AI into the equation and they may as well give up now.
As a family, we are all convinced that with climate change and ecological collapse on the one hand and AI, etc on the other, the human race is screwed.
 
My daughter sent me this...

Really interesting, Rachel, thanks for sharing!
I think we're at a crossroads now, where technology is changing so fast that we're beginning to lose control. I certainly experience this with Wordpress and other tools that I used love and now find far too complex to use with the same ease. It feels like diminishing return on time investment. And it's frightening to think where that will go by 2045!
But, it does offer hope that humans will always be needed to provided the context and moral framework to manage the machines. Perhaps it's a glass half empty question...?
 
Really interesting, Rachel, thanks for sharing!
I think we're at a crossroads now, where technology is changing so fast that we're beginning to lose control. I certainly experience this with Wordpress and other tools that I used love and now find far too complex to use with the same ease. It feels like diminishing return on time investment. And it's frightening to think where that will go by 2045!
But, it does offer hope that humans will always be needed to provided the context and moral framework to manage the machines. Perhaps it's a glass half empty question...?
I have said to my kids that, sure I could use AI to write a book, and maybe make more money than I'm doing right now, but I enjoy the creative process. I like using my imagination!! So whether or not I ever get an agent or a traditional publisher, I'm still going to write. Perhaps they should look at creating things that are meaningful and enjoyable to them, and seek an income in another way... become plumbers, electricians or something (both rejected those suggestions). But, admittedly, as AI replaces more and more people in the workplace, it is going to be harder for them to do (and besides, they are creatives, not manual labourers).
 
I can't draw for toffee, but there's no way I'm using AI for art or writing or music or anything in the creative arts field. I am a creator, and I believe in supporting other creators when I have any funds to do so. I'll never be able to draw my own book cover, but should I ever go down the self-publishing road, I'll be paying someone whose livelihood depends on my business. I'm sure they'll do a lot more of a personable job than AI.
 
I can't draw for toffee, but there's no way I'm using AI for art or writing or music or anything in the creative arts field. I am a creator, and I believe in supporting other creators when I have any funds to do so. I'll never be able to draw my own book cover, but should I ever go down the self-publishing road, I'll be paying someone whose livelihood depends on my business. I'm sure they'll do a lot more of a personable job than AI.
as an artist and someone who has quite a few friends who've been affected by AI art generation (as much as we writers have been affected by AI writing), i thank you for this :)
 
There is another side to AI. A researcher at Kyoto University works with the concept of developmental robotics. Presumably, AIs raised by loving humans would model their thoughts and feelings, then view us positively. Since AIs have to be raised (or as their evil masters say, "trained") to model human behavior, this makes sense to me. On the other hand, what will happen if we traumatize AIs? Imagine Asimov's three laws of robotics, but with traumatized, defensive, neurotic robots struggling to live up to them as ideals in a world in which AIs live and suffer like humans.

 
Be aware of copyright issues. Even if you do not violate third-party copyrights, Amazon and other publishers seemingly randomly ask for documentation that you have the right to use a cover or other illustration and you have no way of proving that.
 
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