Baby Steps with AI Art

A.I. generated art has been around for years. But tools released this year like DALL-E 2, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion — have made it possible for visual-art challenged people like myself to create fairly complex, abstract or photorealistic works simply by typing a few words into a text box.

These are my first attempts to illustrate some of my stories using Midjourney AI. Not incredible but not to shabby either. I could actually use some of these as e-book covers.

However, I am still on the fence about the ethics of A.I.-generated art. Are they a real emergent art form or a high-tech form of plagiarism? WDYT?

“Blessed are the Hungry” – this one came out the best. Funny how the rendered image looks like my youngest daughter.

“I ducked out of sight as soon as I saw the wolf-like mecha, shrouding my lantern with my shirt. Frightful as they were, I was mesmerized by their strange beauty. In the half-light of the Holosonic, their liquid-armor bodies shimmered purple, vermillion and bronze. I imagined these to be the colors of a sun that I had never seen, the burial clothes of a mother-star that we had abandoned so long ago.”

“Infinite Degrees of Freedom” – the blurry shape in the background is Midjourney unable to render a mythical sigbin monster in a spaceship corridor. Why does the kid from my story look like a young Rodrigo Duterte?

“From out of nowhere, Deo smelled an immensely foul odor, a rotting stench filled with the smell of death. A shape coalesced from the blackness, swiftly moving, gibbering, and utterly horrible. A sigben, a vicious half-dog/half-lizard chimera from ancient Philippine Myth had come for him. The impossible monster blocked his path and let loose a frightening roar-bark loud as a thunder clap.”

“Mene, Thecel, Pares” – My account expired before I could redo this with a steampunk Berlin in the background. The protagonist, Joseph Mercado (a fictionalized Jose Rizal) looks a bit cross-eyed.

“Joseph wished he didn’t have to remove his mask. Everywhere he went, people stared at him. Without his mask’s protection, the city’s xenophobic populace would peer from windows or point as he walked past whispering “fremde, außerirdische, ausländer, Asiaten, Japaner, Chinesischer Mann, Korean Mann” –- anything but his own ethnicity.”

“Carry That Weight” – This is supposed to be the older brother, Berto. The two blobs in the background are supposed to be megamouth sharks. Also, the boy’s hair shouldn’t look like that underwater. Must be industrial-strength aquanet.

The smaller boy watched as his brother fished out a pair of smart goggles from his shorts pocket and clipped his phone to his wristband. Berto’s body was dark and tightly muscled. He seemed naked save for the skintight nanotech body suit that kept his body warm and protected it from the sun’s radiation.

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