Episode 600 - AI is bad at art

Sep 12, 2022

here's a lot of buzz about so called AI generated art at the moment using programs like Dall-E, Neural blender, Dream studio lite and so on. People use text prompts, i.e. “flying clockwork fish balloon” and the AI generates “art” based upon that. It usually does this by using actual art and photography created by real people, and visually mixing them to create a new image. Some results are much better than others.

Topics and Show Notes

The main issue with the approach is that the AI like all AI is dumb: it has no awareness, no understanding, it can't think, it can only serve up the most superficial interpretation of the prompt text. 100% of the “meaning” or “art” a viewer sees in that image is their own imagining, this in itself is never a good indication of art. But this also means that the AI has no capacity to understand the visual language it's speaking so it just provides you with a poor facsimile of art, which is all it can ever do due to inherent limitations.

For example, ask it to create a pirate image based on certain parameters. All it will be able to do is create a pastiche of already created images on the subject, like a bad deviant art image by a poor artist. A good human artist would think about the subject in terms of the ethnicity of the pirates, the type of vessel they use, how ratty or decorated their clothes are due to their time at sea, the body hair, tattoos, piercings and injuries on the pirates, the time of day and where the light comes from, the style of clothes and weapons due to the period, geography, and culture of the pirates etc. All that means something and will have a significant influence on the image (you can apply this to any other scenario too), while AI can only produce generic pretend art.

Unfortunately people don't understand these significant limitations and expect AI to do more than it can, (in all fields, not just art). AI is a useful tool when used correctly and when you properly understand its limitations, but when you don't it creates havoc. Which is why AI assisted systems tend to be so shit- like auto-correct spellcheckers, Google search algorithms, Facebook and Instagram image checkers, YouTube copyright checkers, “smart” chat-bots that big companies use as help systems etc. If we have people mistakenly thinking AI can replace artists or graphic designers, then we're in for a tsunami of boring, generic, meaningless design and the world will be a blander place because of it.

Try not to be fooled by the “idea” of art, when you see an AI generated image remember there was no thought behind it, no meaning to the placement of figures, style of clothes, body posture, mistakes etc, and the stylistic choices are simply stolen from human artists. It's a system that specialises in creating pointless parody pastiches.

This week Gunwallace has given us a theme to Brittany Hyperstyle - Bouncy, pop bubblegum bubbles of light and joy floating, rising and falling in sweet smelling convection currents. This sound is pink and powder blue with a sheen of iridescence. Synth electronica that’s fun, light and happy!

Topics and shownotes

Links
Forum discussion that inspired the topic - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/forum/topic/179155/?page=1#latest/
Dream studio lite - https://beta.dreamstudio.ai/dream/


Featured comic:
Vast as the Night - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/news/2022/sep/06/featured-comic-vast-as-the-night/

Featured music:
Brittany Hyperstyle - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Brittany_Hyperstyle/ - by Shampoo Venom, rated T.

Special thanks to:
Gunwallace - http://www.virtuallycomics.com
Ozoneocean - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/ozoneocean
Banes - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Banes/
Tantz Aerine - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/Tantz_Aerine/
PitFace - https://www.theduckwebcomics.com/user/PIT_FACE/

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Episode 583 - Why is it bad?

May 16, 2022

2 likes, 0 comments

Spoiler- we don't actually talk much about Yu-Gi-Oh! But I feel it's a good example of a pretty bad a so-bad-it's-good story, but bad nevertheless. The idea we're talking about here is that it's useful to look at bad stories and stick with them because they can really help you write better. They're a lot more useful than good stories because you'd rather just enjoy those and it's a bit harder to examine them for technical details, but with “bad” stories the faults stand out strongly. Instead of simply dismissing a bad story or making fun of it, it's more useful and valuable to try and “fix” it: try and work out why it seems bad and think about what would be needed to make it better, then think about how that applies to your own work. Maybe you're actually making many of the same mistakes?

Episode 545 - tipping point to become a fan?

Aug 22, 2021

3 likes, 0 comments

We're all fans of something, but when does that happen? When do we transition from just following and liking something into being full on fans and is there even a difference? I think there definitely IS a difference. I became a fan of Star Wars after watching the first film but I'm not a fan of The Witcher even after watching the entire show. Henry Cavill as Geralt is super amazing but the show itself is just blah to me. I've seen about 200 or so episodes of One Piece but I don't think of myself as a fan. I became a fan of Ghost in the Shell after seeing a poster from the Manga. I became a fan of Farscape after watching reruns of the series over and over.

Episode 529 - Time loops!

May 2, 2021

4 likes, 0 comments

Time loops in stories are a lot of fun, they can be really complicated and interesting. Groundhog day is the most famous version of this trope. Banes tells me it's a “trope codifier”. In a time loop story characters are caught reliving the same events over and over with the main character being the only one who's really aware of it, Sometimes the loop happens only once or a couple of times, or many, many times as in Groundhog Day and Palm Springs. We chat about some of the different time loop stories, their characteristics and why we like them.

Episode 517 - money in Scifi Utopia

Feb 8, 2021

3 likes, 3 comments

Weird one this week! A monneyless system in a working Scifi utopia. This was based on an idea Banes came up with talking about Star Trek and how the federation has “evolved beyond money”, We discuss if this is possible, why it is and how it is. That means no need for money substitutes like credit or barter either. It's a really interesting topic and a brave choice for a world setting. The most common type of scifi world by FAR is a dystopia so the fact that Star Trek is a working utopia (at least in the original and 1990s series) is a very brave and unique choice and the idea that it functions without money is even more clever and interesting.

Episode 491 - Getting retro right!

Aug 10, 2020

3 likes, 2 comments

DD member Furwerk Studios posted in our forum about how annoying it was that movies try and do an 80s retro thing often get things totally wrong and end up looking dumb because of it: Not just superficial looks-wise but stylistically too in terms of the kinds of shots they do, lighting and story structure. I thought that'd make an interesting topic for a cast! Why do people often mess up retro stuff? We're not talking about historical accuracy here, that's slightly different, what we're talking about is setting something in an era and getting the “feel” of that era right. It pays off hugely when it works, but when it doesn't it comes off as superficial, disappointing and ignorant.

Episode 484 - Background styles

Jun 22, 2020

3 likes, 4 comments

Backgrounds are part of a choice you make about to best show off your characters and how to present your comic. Plain white backgrounds aren't a very good choice for most comics but they are for some. Random, sketchy lines, pixel art tiles, fully drawn highly detailed landscapes, copy and pasted photos, halftone dots, speedlines etc, the choices are endless but it's important to know what works for you own particular comic! That's what we're talking about this week. Yes, an actual ART based subject on a webcomic site, who'd a guessed?

Episode 467 - Adaptions and Transmogrification!

Feb 23, 2020

2 likes, 0 comments

The process of adaptation is quite interesting. Stories go through all sorts of changes when they're transferred from one medium to another. A lot of the time we bemoan that as “not staying true to the original” or “the book was better”, but there are many times where the adaption is really interesting in its own right, even though it's quite different from what it started out as.


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