Discover new worlds with AI art
Artificial intelligence has been around for a while now. It has appeared in many editing software for photography (and digital art), including Photoshop, Lightroom, Luminar and many more.
It’s a tool that helps us create the images we saw when we captured “that” moment in time. Or allows us to create the moment we wish we could capture. Even to capture something we dreamed of and not real at all.
What is AI Art?
So what is AI art? AI art refers to art generated using artificial intelligence. AI is a field of computer science that focuses on creating programs that mimic human intelligence or even simulate the human brain through a set of algorithms.
Is it considered real art? By many, yes. AI art even sells for substantial sums in some cases.
How it works?
Generally, you need a platform to create your AI art. There are several around.
Once you’re set up, you’ll need to create your variables. These are prompts that you place in the AI platform to start your creation. It depends on the platform and the type of art you want to work with. Maybe something like steampunk, dusty road, extreme details and dragons. These are the prompts I used to create the banner image.
But it could be anything, a pictorial vase of poppies like above. You can add styles – like realistic, painterly, cyberpunk, hand drawn… anything. You can also add colors, sizes, etc. It’s worth seeing what others have done to get an idea. But there is more than that.
What is Midjourney?
There are a few platforms to help you create AI art. night cafe isn’t bad if you’re just starting out and have an idea of what can be done. But I found it to be really limited. Mid Road is the one most seem to use. The website doesn’t look like much – it’s a Discord – but once you get into it, it’s mind blowing!
There is a free section, however, you only get limited uses and that disappeared pretty quickly just to figure things out. I ended up going with the $10 (per month) version just to see if I want to expand further in this area. I’m not going to dive deep into HOW it all works, but I might put some links at the end to get you started.
Is it cheating?
I do not think so. Let’s be real here. When digital photography was introduced, many photographers hated it and said it was deceptive and fanciful. Now it’s mainstream. Photoshop was cheating, and so was Lightroom, whether it was for photo editing or digital art.
AI is infiltrating our daily lives; it is a tool. Nothing more. So using it to create backgrounds or things to add to our digital art is NOT cheating. Still need to find the concept.
People take a photo they didn’t take, add it to a background they didn’t create, add some texture and some elements to it, and call it digital art. If they NEVER took any of the original photos or created the digital backgrounds and assets, is that cheating? Is it REAL art? They think so, so HOW is it different?
Sure, you can create some pretty amazing standalone artwork, but I also love creating elements and then turning them into digital art. It’s wild. For the past few weeks, I’ve spent more time creating digital art containing AI than creating standalone pieces from my own photos in Photoshop. So no… I don’t think it’s cheating at all! It’s liberating.
What does this mean for digital art?
Digital art is NOT dead, and I don’t think it will be for the foreseeable future. Maybe if your digital art is just making quick mockups for something bigger, then maybe.
But we still have to find the original concept. It still needs the human element. Without your contribution, nothing happens. Just like regular art, digital or otherwise. If you use a brush or a digital tablet, you should ALWAYS work and come up with ideas.
So I’m fairly certain that digital art is safe. Likewise, traditional art is safe such as painting, carving, drawing and more. People will always appreciate your unique talents. I doubt that will change.
What does this mean for photography?
Likewise, I don’t think digital or film photography is in danger at all. In fact, AI programs like Midjourney use photos and artwork on the Internet to get references. Millions and millions of photos, digital art and even traditional paintings, sculptures and more.
All of this information has to be collected somewhere. It’s sort of blended together to create something entirely new. This is NOT scamming someone else’s art. It takes ‘1’ and ‘0’ and does something else.
Is this the future of digital art?
AI is interfering more and more in our daily lives. Fridges and washing machines, smartphones, computers, and yes digital art. I’m sure it will evolve further. The origins of AI have been a bit scaremongering and so far only basic tasks, boring stuff, that a computer chip would happily purr.
Will the machine get up? I doubt it, unless there’s some evil force behind it all — but that’s another story!
The good, the bad and the ugly
In everything, there is a good side and a bad side. There is a steep learning curve. It takes time (and money) to create AI art, and most have a subscription service to get real value out of it. It can also accumulate.
Free services don’t have much to offer, are very limited, or only give you a few free trials. Even Midjourney. By the time you’ve sorted out what to do, set a prompt, reviewed, reviewed, and reviewed again, your limited free access is over. I got A LOT more from my first $10 spend, but I don’t know if I want to go up from there at this point.
There’s a lot of noise in the likes of Midjourney and finding your own art can get frustrating. There are private Bot rooms, but not for cheap seats. There’s also nothing stopping someone from copying your prompts, but even if they do, the end result is often different.
Images are small. I found that I end up scaling my finished pieces to create digital art of any actual size. If you increase the image size and take a closer look, often something goes wrong, especially with faces. I’m sure it will improve over time.
The best piece? Well, that’s A LOT of fun. It gives you a creative edge that you may not have thought you had or could have. The only limit is your account space and your imagination. But beware, it’s a bit of a trip down Alice’s rabbit hole and you can lose track of time VERY quickly. I admit it’s more fun than binge-watching TV! I created all the art in this post in Midjourney.
What did I create?
I played around with various ideas and made unique AI art; it’s fun to see what you can find. I have also created elements that I can then use in additional digital artwork. Now that’s been a lot of fun.
So where do I see all of this headed? Honestly, I don’t have a clue, I’m just in on it. But before you start joking around with words like it’s NOT real art, I think you should at least give it a try. It could be a lot more creative than you thought.
Is AI art for everyone? Probably not, but don’t knock until you try, as they say. I’m still learning how to navigate it like so many other people, but so far I’ve enjoyed the trip!
Interested in more?
For those of you who want to learn more, here are two videos that I found very helpful. But beware, it can be very addictive.