It's been a while since I posted about generative A.I. art. Artificial intelligence, as in machine learning, has been around for decades. The comparatively small part that generative AI comprises — art, music, text — is drawing all the attention. I still think of it as a tool to spark my human imagination and help me achieve my vision. I give it an idea, it makes guesses, and we go from there. However, should originators (artists, authors, musicians) be compensated for their work being used to train the service? Probably, but I'm not smart enough to suggest how to do it. I expect copyright issues will take six to ten years to settle. So for now, I'll just play with the tools and see what they can do for me. These are my AI art adventures for autumn 2023.
Note: This is an image-heavy post. Click the thumbnails to see larger versions.
MidJourney Still Leads the Pack
The folks at MidJourney (MJ) continue to improve their product and add new features. I've had some success with the zoom-out and pan-[direction] features. A newer feature lets you re-draw just a part of an image, keeping the rest as is. This is hit-or-miss for me, but both I and MJ will likely improve with practice. Their brand-new feature lets you save your own personal “styles,” which are stored codes that act like shortcuts to longer prompts you've created. I'll be interested to see what the true MJ power users do with it before I give it a go.
Prompt: Futuristic holiday feast table on a space station, detailed photorealistic illustration, autumn colors red yellow orange purple, one pumpkin, roast goose, cranberries, potatoes, futuristic decorations, happy, festive, sci-fi scene, unreal engine, 3d render, 8k::1 people, astronaut::-0.7 –v 5.2
NOTE: MJ tried to put pumpkins EVERYWHERE in the first image I tried. When I told it only one pumpkin, it complied… then decorated the wall behind it with giant cranberries.
Prompt: book cover design, science fiction romance adventure ::1 mysterious alien artifact glowing glyphs symbols –no text, saucer, spacesuit, helmet –v 5.2 NOTE: MJ sometimes has a problem when panning up/down/left/right, in that it decides your image needs more subjects, not just more background. I was trying for a banner to use in promotional graphic. Instead, I got a new set of lovers. My sometimes-successful workaround is to tweak the prompt when panning to edit the prompt to focus on the part I want more of.
Prompt: rocketship launch made from paper cut craft, HD, highly detailed, bright colors –ar 16:9 –v 5.2 NOTE: This is a re-run of a prompt I first tried about a year ago (and at least eight MJ versions ago). I like repeating successful prompts from time to time to see how new MidJourney versions handle them. Most of the time, I like the results. Some are better and some are just different, but still good.
Prompt: isolated spaceship made of books, vector art, triadic color scheme, white background, minimalist –chaos 100 –v 5.2
NOTE: This is another re-run of a previously successful prompt. This time, I upped the “chaos” factor to maximum, which gives MJ permission to wander way off course in the four images it generates, just to see what happens. See the next image for another image from this same series.
Prompt: isolated spaceship made of books, vector art, triadic color scheme, white background, minimalist –chaos 100 –v 5.2 NOTE: A much more abstract version of the same prompt (see previous image), where you'd be hard-pressed to see “spaceship” or “books” unless someone told you to look for them.
Prompt: avant-garde futuristic sci-fi spaceship, in the style of interstellar nebulae, redscale film, animated gifs, vivid red with neon accents, pointillist dots and specks, aerial view, ethereal cloudscapes, lasers –ar 3:2 –v 5.2 NOTE: When lighting strikes lucky on a particular prompt, I will often run it multiple times just to see what I can get. Good starship images are my catnip, so I'll be keeping this prompt to re-use again soon.
NightCafé Has Upped Its Game
The other service I play with is NightCafé. They're an even smaller outfit than MJ and with less venture capital, but they're holding their own. They've recently expanded their available options, and I sometimes like them better for vector-style art.
Prompt: Digital painting, photorealistic, extreme detail, e-reader, computer tablet, black Burmese cat, book, porcelain teacup, Christmas, Sci-fi space station, futuristic. composite photograph DSLR
NOTE: This wasn't at all the image I thought I'd get from this prompt, but the result was so charming that I kept it. Something about the cat's attitude made me laugh.
Prompt: Anime illustration, photorealistic, extreme detail, happy Christmas, futuristic space station repair dock, holiday decorations, presents, cat, dog NOTE: This “futuristic space station repair dock” looks rather like a small-town coffee shop, but the image is sweet nonetheless.
Prompt: Digital illustration, photorealistic, extreme detail, futuristic, computer tablet, cat, elegant cup of tea, Christmas, Sci-fi space station NOTE: “No,” said the cat, “I most certainly did not knock the ornaments into your tea. They were already there when I got here.”