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Posts published in “Dali’s Journey”

[drawing every day 2024 post fifty-eight]: porsche redux

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Another drawing of Porsche from a generative AI character sheet (I think this one was from ChatGPT+DALL-E, which seems to be a bit better than Midjourney at taking art direction and creating centaurs). I modified the face to more closely match Porsche, whose ears are located more closely to a normal human's ears.

I've started to build up a buffer, like I am for the Blogging Every Day series, by trying to do two drawings at every sitting. I can't manage to draw for an hour and a half every single day, but if I do it most days, then I slowly creep ahead, and can put more effort and thought into each drawing.

According to my spreadsheet, I'm now about six drawings ahead, drawing-wise, and two posts ahead, posting-wise. Maybe I can take some time to, you know, write about these characters now.

Drawing (more or less) every day.

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post fifty-four]: drawing from (fast) life

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Quick sketch of a young woman with GREAT hair - I'd say almost Cinnamon-style hair, if there hadn't been a woman with almost EXACTLY Cinnamon's bi-colored hairstyle at the same Barnes and Noble about a week ago - whom I decided to sketch after finishing my last drawing.

She moved too fast through the store to get a really good picture, and from where I was sitting it was hard to see what she was looking at, but I think you've got to go beyond just drawing from practice books and start drawing from life, or you're just regurgitating other people's drawings, like an AI.

And I like AI, but regurgitating other people's drawings is NOT why I am drawing every day.

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post fifty-two]: porsche redux

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Me drawing from yet another Midjourney character sheet for Porsche. Misproportioned, and I am still having trouble on the eye placement and face proportions, something I've seen on a fair number of old drawings; once I finish the hands and feet book I think it's probably time to go back to practicing faces.

This certainly is rendered better, but if you look closely at the edges of the hair, especially where it meets the armor, it doesn't make too much sense. Oh well, it's still inspirational.

Drawing every day.

-the Centaur

[drawing every day 2024 post thirty-nine]: last of this set

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My rendering of the last pose from the DALL-E character sheet for Porsche:

Not entirely terrible, though I can see my proportions are a bit cartoonish. These systems can't take art direction yet - I had to clean the character sheet up in Photoshop to really make it suitable, and even then the middle pose should have had the legs more spread apart, which it tried to do erroneously on the right-hand pose with a fifth leg - but they sure can render the heck out of an image.

-the Centaur (the author one)

[drawing every day 2024 post thirty-seven]: porsche redux

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Another sketch of Porsche, this one based on a "character sheet" I generated with Midjourney based on my own character descriptions. Yes, yes, I understand there are many issues with AI art generators, some of which are real and some of which are not; my own writing has been used to train large language models, I know artists who have been discouraged from art by generative AI, and I expect the use of these systems for final product will be very disruptive. HOWEVER, there are some things which AI generators can do which can't be feasibly done by any other method - such as producing character sheets for your own practice.

As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, I managed to convince ChatGPT / DALL-E to cough up the above "centauress in a spacesuit" drawing after many iterations, then got it to transform that image into the following character sheet of Porsche from several different angles:

It ain't perfect - note she has five legs on the right, and the perspective differences aren't really that well done - but it's close enough for me to use these as reference as I do my own drawing practice, shown at the very top. Seeing these "drawings" gives me new perspectives on how to render my own ideas at a higher level than I can currently do, enabling me to bootstrap my artistic skills.

There's a long way to go for AI generated art to be able to respond to art direction - but it is helping me chart a new direction in my own art, which is great, because if I can draw it, I can then art direct myself.


-the Centaur

[twenty twenty-four day twenty]: cat-shaped void

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We have a black cat, so we got a black cat condo (just barely visible to the left). But of course, our cat-shaped void is a cat, and so prefers the blue couch, where its voluminous shedded fur is easily visible. My wife caught him in the act, so, enjoy this picture of our cat-shaped void, doing cat-styled things.

-the Centaur

Pictured: Loki on our couch. Interestingly, this picture was taken at an angle, so I rotated it, then used Adobe Photoshop's generative fill to recover the outer edge of the picture. The very outer edge is ... mostly right. Some weirdness is visible in the carpet patterns on the lower left, the brick pattern on the upper left, and whatever it is on the table on the right isn't there in reality. Otherwise, not a terrible job.

[twenty twenty four day four]: there’s some problems on that boat

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Okay, I'm going to start out with the best of the images that I produced trying to create Porsche the Centaur using ChatGPT's DALL-E interface. The above is ... almost Porsche, though her ears are too high (centaurs in the Alliance universe have ears a little more like an elf, but mobile like a dog's). And, after some coaxing, the ChatGPT / DALL-E hybrid managed to produce a halfway decent character sheet:

But both of these images came after several tries. And when I tried to get ChatGPT / DALL-E to generate a front and back view of the same character sheet, it just disintegrated into random horse and human parts:

Similarly, the initial centaur image came only after many prompt tweaks and false starts, like this one:

There are legitimate questions about whether the current round of AI art generators were trained on data taken without permission (they almost certainly were), whether they could displace human artists (they almost certainly will), and whether they will have destructive effects on human creativity (the jury is out on this one, as some forms of art will wane while new forms of art will wax).

But never let anyone tell you they've worked out all the bugs yet. These systems are great renderers at the image patch level, but their notion of coherence leaves a lot to be desired, and their lack of structural knowledge means their ability to creatively combine is radically limited to surface stylistics.

One day we'll get there. But it will take a lot of work.

-the Centaur

[seventy-seven] minus eighty-three: mondrian cat

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Just Loki, on the back patio, looking at a leaf ... with a little added magic (full size).

Producing this relatively simple image actually involved a fair number of Photoshop tools, several of which are new "generative AI" tools, but many others of which are just plain old machine vision magic:

  • Layers (stacked images) used extensively to save original or alternate versions of things.
  • Perspective Warp (a pretty impressive tool in its own right) to distort the image into a rectilinear shape.
  • Content Aware Fill (a new Photoshop generative AI tool) to extend the warped stone tile to fill the frame.
  • The Clone Stamp tool to complete the grout lines which were only partially filled in by Content Aware Fill.
  • Quick Selection tool to isolate Loki and the leaf into their own layers for later.
  • Selection > Modify > Expand and Selection > Modify > Feather to get the fine hairs on Loki's boundary.
  • Generative Fill (another generative AI tool) to eliminate many of the leaves.
  • More Clone Stamp to eliminate more leaves and minor imperfections.
  • Layer duplication to create an original and to-be-colored tile backdrop.
  • Swatches, the Rectangular Marquee tool, the Polygonal Lasso, and the Fill tool to create the colored tile.
  • Color Burn layer blend mode (with 57% opacity) to create the primary Mondrian effect.
  • Another layer duplication to create a new version of the colored tile to enhance the grout.
  • Filter Gallery > Colored Pencil which fortuitously greyed out the colored tile and colorized the grout.
  • Magic Wand tool set to Contiguous and 0% Tolerance to cut out the greyed tiles from the grout layer.
  • Darker Color layer blend mode to enhance the grout.
  • Drop Shadow on the leaf to make it stand out.
  • Duplicating Loki into a layer with Darken to make him stand out against the colored grout.
  • Adding Inner Glow modified to Darken as well (with a Choke of 14 and Size of 87) to eliminate some of the white halo around Loki.
  • Adding a second Loki layer, Normal blend with 50% opacity, to get his sheen.

I like how it came out, especially given how it started:

I looked at that and thought, "You know, that's almost a Mondrian backdrop" and I was right!

-the Centaur

[sixty-nine] minus fifty-nine: ai can serve up some creepy

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I still have misgivings about using AI-generated art to create final designs without human intervention, and I think AI art needs to address the copyright issue in a meaningful way, but speaking as an artist into cosmic horror, it sure can create some creepy images that are great food for thought. Here's a couple of cool ones from a recent project that I've been working on - great design concepts, whether or not they get used.

Bonus points if you can guess which work this art is designed to illustrate.

-the Centaur