Should I AI?
Isn’t that the question every concept artist and illustrator is asking themselves today?
And now that I have dirtied my hands with Disco Diffusion, Dall-E Mini, and Midjourney it is safe to say that I am over the hype. My initial reaction was, much like everyone else, that it will change the entertainment industry in a significant way. But I think I was too quick to judge. Yes, it works, don’t get me wrong. But now I feel as if it is only a tool to speed up the workflow,
This is not to say that it will not be useful for a multitude of people — If you are wanting of a bunch of illustrations for your article or fiction, or a thumbnail or cover, these tools would be abundantly useful, especially if you are on a shoe string budget. But from the point of view of entertainment design — I am not entirely sure of the possibilities. There is no escaping the human touch to articulate, art direct, curate, create and refine.
My initial excitement with Disco Diffusion and Dall-E Mini was the conceptual uniqueness; and the speed. But after having haunted many discord servers and subreddits now, I have feel like there is a sterile sameness to the images. It seems that as an artist my fundamental skills and creative direction are still what define the outcome.
In fact, one of the concerns that I have with the hype is that younger artists might start depending on AI tools too much more than understanding fundamentals, which often happens. This would be disastrous in an already saturated market. But then these are just concerns, and the future will unfold as it always does.
And all this said.
There is — Dall-E 2 — the god of text to image AI. So far all the trailers and posts I have seen about this one seem to be a game changer. But I have not gotten around to using it so I am not sure about its potential.
Rant aside, I gotten quite comfortable using Disco Diffusion and have somewhat incorporated it into my concept art pipeline for ‘The Thousand Arms’, mostly because I could not afford to hire another artist and I am on a strict deadline for the book, and the writing is taking up more time then it should have.
Here are some tests I did for a bunch of surreal dream articulations for the character.