While many of you folks think of me as being a computer geek and programmer this is a relatively new scheme in my life. I’m also an artist and have been so since the day I was born. I come from a long line of artists and five generations of paintings hang in my living room. I paint, animate cartoons, sculpt, tell stories and a touch of FX make-up. So what do I think about the iOS apps that have Artificial intelligence to create art? Will it replace us, artists? (WARNING going to get philosophical here)
We have to start with “what is art?”
Yep, I just opened that can of worms. While many people feel that art is the ability to draw with a level of skill or paint the perfect tree bowing in the wind. Or even make a photorealistic image of a sunset. It’s more than that.
Art is the physical manifestation that creates emotion beyond the artists involvementKevin C Mason
Art should trigger an emotion. Even if that is only the joy of using crayons in children’s colouring book with your kids. Art makes you think, dream and remember. Art will trigger the deepest emotions. Or confused why someone gets paid to throw paint on a wall when “I could do that”
Even if the only person who gets any benefit from the art is the artist themselves it is art.
So what about the AI Art app on iOS?
This week I downloaded the AI App called Wonder
I have been using this app to quickly generate art for our D&D game. (Did I mention I am a geek) While I can draw and paint characters myself I wanted to see how the app worked.
The concept works like this. You download the app onto your iPhone. Sign in. Then put a phrase into the search bar and select a style. In seconds the AI creates 2-4 different images.
The app combines artwork that is found on the net and alters it drastically. Filters content etc.
For example, I used the phrase “Robot reading a book”. It took the entire process of opening the app and downloading the results less than 60 seconds.
I have to admit it is fun! For me, it ticks all the ADHD buttons. My love of art and stories, the creativity of using a phrase and the code monkey part of my brain that would love to see the code behind this app.
Problems with the APP
Now, this has more to do with the technique and not the app creators themselves. As I personally feel they have done a great job with the app to the point where I have subscribed and even considered getting a lifetime subscription in order to support their efforts. . . . but
You know those video games where you see the digital version of a person and it makes your skin crawl? That is called “the uncanny valley.” There are many theories of why this happens. My personal belief is it’s a throwback instinct from the caveman days when other species of “humans” would compete for resources. EWWWW A Neanderthal KILL IT !
The app will often throw up images of people where face is not right. Or the hands and legs are way off. (We are talking body-horror levels of NOPE!! ) While this is a problem at the moment never assume that tech will stay the same. After all the computer you are reading this blog post on would have filled up an entire building in 1969
As long as the uncanny valley is a thing I’m not expecting the portrait painter to be out of work.
Copyright & Trademark
My wife and I have had many conversations about this app and its copyright as she is a IP lawyer. (Website coming soon) While the app does protect itself by allowing the artist to take down their works. They even go out of their way to make sure that trademarked items are removed. But you need to understand that taking down copyrighted materials and trademarks would be a full-time job.
As a graphic artist, business or publisher who may want to use this app for quick art you may have problems with copyright & trademark. Do not expect to use this app to create Star Wars paintings to sell on eBay and not get a nasty letter from Lawyers who get paid more in an hour than you do all week.
There is a reason why digital art is fantastic but nobody lines up to see it like Van Gogh’s Stary night. Something is missing. The micro mistakes that make a painting unique. The reason why a symphony in person sounds better than the digital version created by midi. The tiny almost imperceivable mistake of the third violinist is .00001 seconds slower than the others. Or the brush has a stray hair that makes each brush stroke unique.
OK cool, but will it replace artists?
In some cases yes. This does mean that graphic artists trying to save some money can spend the money to have a subscription to apps like this. However, when we go back to the original definition above about what is an artist … AI app is lacking something .. heart and soul this is not a lack of talent by the programmer just the nature of art.