AI Art for Spring 2024

As far as generative AI art services, I find that MidJourney (MJ) is still the leader for most things I want to do. Not all, mind you, because sometimes MJ whiffs it. As I've mentioned before, the services vary significantly across the platforms in terms of prompts. What works well in one may be a disaster in others. These are my adventures in AI art for spring 2024.

Stylized illustration of rockets, generated by MidJourney

Note: This is an image-heavy post. Click the thumbnails below to see larger versions.

MidJourney Art

MidJourney (MJ) are still improving version 6, which they consider to be the “beta” version, so they roll out changes at their whim. Day-to-day results are not always predictable. They recently introduced an ability to keep a character looking more or less the same, but put them in different settings, clothes, poses, etc. I haven't played with it yet because I haven't had the time to figure out the tips and tricks to make it behave in a predictable fashion. If it lives up to its promise, I'll be thrilled.

Spring (April 2024) Art

Most of the images I generate are intended for specific purposes, such as graphics for a blog post [ahem], or for a promotional banner. However, I sometimes run prompts like these for rocketship-themed images just because they please me.

Abstract illustration of planets, clouds, and a retro rocketship taking off, by MidJourney

Prompt: synthwave vector illustration, subtle waves of neon and gold particles, translucent stars, blurred soft clouds, diagonal gradient background of bright holographic colors, abstract, minimalist, gauzy –ar 9:16
NOTE: A fun illustration that MJ decided need a rocketship.

illustration of a stained glass window with a launching rocket and a blue planet above, generated by MidJourney

Prompt: stained glass illustration of a futuristic spaceship and a star –ar 11:19
NOTE: I know next to nothing about quilt making, but this would make a dandy design for one.

illustration of rocketship-themed wallpaper in art nouveau style, generated by MidJourney

Prompt: repeating pattern of retrofuturistic rocketships and sweeping curled clouds, art nouveau style, subtle colors, highly detailed, symmetrical, mucha + william morris + mackintosh, drawn by moebius, wallpaper design, orange, teal ::1.1 –ar 4:5
NOTE: This image is unexpectedly charming. “Fish” is close to “Fibonacci,” right? 

AI Art Has Biases

MJ has opinions, very likely based on feedback from users on which images they like best. In a way, that's good because MJ is keeping its paying customers happy. However, it's also bad because it's harder to get away from its built-in biases, such as that all women are pretty, Caucasian, and have cleavage. MJ also tends to assume two people in the image must be the same race, even if you tell it otherwise. This extends to dogs and cats, too.

Fantasy illustration of a snow leopard with a cybernetic front leg, generated by MidJourney

Prompt: fantasy illustration, naturalistic snow leopard with a robotic front leg, winter, mountain ::1.1 –ar 2:3
NOTE: I've been trying each version of MidJourney to get an illustration of a snow leopard with a cybernetic front leg. This is the best image yet, but MJ simply can't resist adding more cybernetics than it should.
📘 SIDE NOTE: My story Pet Trade features just such a creature.

Illustration of a dark-haired woman wearing futuristic armor, standing in the rubble of a building, generated by MidJourney

Prompt: sci-fi movie CGI, uniformed Arabic woman in a futuristic robotic exoskeleton, stilts, partially collapsed building, rescue worker, action scene ::1.1 –ar 2:3
NOTE: Here's what I mean about biases. Unless I specify that the woman should be non-White, MJ assumes all humans are Caucasian. Even the “Arabic” woman above looks suspiciously Northern European.
📘 SIDE NOTE: This image is inspired by the heroine in Galactic Search and Rescue.

Stylized illustration of a girl wearing headphones and holding a phone in a futuristic setting, generated by MidJourney

Prompt: Product photo of smartphone & earbuds, product hero image ::1.5 audiobook concept illustration, sci-fi and fantasy
NOTE: Apparently, MJ thinks protective glasses are advised when listening to audiobooks. Previous versions of MJ were better at concept art regarding non-environment items like “audiobooks.” It also could be that I haven't figure out the magic prompt sequence to get what I want.

Experimenting with Other AI Art Services

Here are the best images I came up with from other AI art services I've dabbled with this spring.

Illustrated typography poster that says Books To Take You Out Of This World, generated by Ideogram

Service: Ideogram.ai
Prompt: A captivating typography illustration featuring the words “BOOKS TO TAKE YOU OUT OF THIS WORLD” in a futuristic and legible font. The letters are made up of various science fiction and fantasy elements, such as an avant-garde starship, a moon, magic charms, a night sky with the Milky Way galaxy, and a spaceship control room. The background is an otherworldly blend of sci-fi reds and fantasy greens, with a sense of adventure and romance, and portals to new worlds. The overall composition is visually appealing and inviting, perfect for a poster for a library or a bookstore.
NOTE: New service with the best handling of text I've ever seen from an AI art service. Not perfect in the “just those letters” department, but still better than the other services.

Black and white stylized illustration of a woman wearing futuristic clothes s in a space-themed background, generated by NightCafé

Service: NightCafé
Prompt: science fiction (black female: 1.2) hero, vintage logo line art concept black and white color, hand-drawn illustration, profile, ink, halftone, stylized” AND “black and white background circle, wireframe polygonal elements, future technology style”
NOTE: NightCafé allows multiple prompts with different weights. It does better with this style of image than MidJourney. However, NC is also biased toward Caucasian and pretty, even when you tell it otherwise.
📘 SIDE NOTE: This was for creating a stylized image of a character in Escape from Nova Nine.

Fantasy-colored mountain range panorama, generated by Recraft

Service: Recraft.ai
Prompt: panorama mountain range, four seasons, abstract, mystical, fantasy color palette, contour map grid overlay, magic symbols, sacred geometry
NOTE: Recraft is new to me, so I haven't played with it much. It seems to favor vector images, but I rather liked this fantasy panorama.

Line art illustration of rocketships and planet, generated by MidJourney