Wednesday 5 October 2022

Eki & Maggy's AI art project: MARY JANE's pet zoo

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." 
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-2008)

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Cubistic)

When I saw NFTs* and  PFPs* Digi-art selling for big crypto-bucks, I got greedy.  Hell, Eki can do this stuff. He was skeptical but thought he might be able to use AI apps and experiment. I wanted to promote cannabis – he came up with Mary Jane's Pet Zoo. 

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Photoreal)

A friend photographed a rag doll and some toy animals. We sent them off to Eki to do his AI magic. That was February.  Every time I talked to Eki he had found a new and better AI bot – the latest is OpenAI's language model GPT3,  used by the New York Times.  By osmosis, I learned enough to creep out some of my pals with what it can do.

Mary Jane's Pet Zoo (Various)

Witchcraft spooks US. We like to think we're on top of things. But even the inventors say they don't know what AI is capable of, or where it's going. What we do know,  AI will be part of everyday life.  We can't stuff this genie back in the bottle.  In the meantime,  Eki has fallen down the rabbit hole -  sounds like he's having way too much fun to come back to Mother Earth.

*NFT Everyday 60+m, Bored Ape Yacht Club PFPs re-selling for 200,00+

Sources: Financial Times, New York Times, photos/Annie Lavigne

Next week: Is AI freaking out HUMANs?

The (partial) evolution of Spud

Note: Well... it's been quite a ride. Over the evolution of this all, I've created literally thousands of images using AI. Let's not count the work hours, eh.

In February, when we got into this idea, AI image generation was new, so new that those tools really weren't available to the public at large yet. I started creating images in a more traditional fashion, making composites in Photoshop and processing them into "paintings" using the available AI style transfer tools, in Runway ML, if I remember correctly. 

Then there was Dall-E, or more precisely Dall-E mini, that could actually generate new images from prompts. I dabbled with it, but wasn't really happy with the results. 

And then the AI explosion happened. Midjourney, Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion... first with just text prompts, but soon after also using images as the source, and using image inpainting. As well as overall quality improvements on a weekly if not daily basis. Talk about a sugar addict in a candy store.

I used each generation of these tools to try with the Pet Zoo again. So, as an end result, we not only have one Mary Jane's Pet Zoo, we have many. Too many in fact. Some examples are in this post.

Even after all of this, I felt we missed one croc pic. So I continued today...

PS: Maggy really wanted to make NFT:s and sell them, luckily that fad has faded away. Not only would making them have been way more trouble than it's worth, but it would have also been a contribution to the insanity that is mining cryptocurrencies (may they rot in the 5th hell). The cannabis agenda mostly faded too - good, to me, it always felt a bit contrived.


More images here

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