We are living in an age of accessible AI art generators that can aid content creators in expanding their portfolios much more efficiently. They are capable of creating breathtaking, award-winning artwork within mere seconds.
Love them or hate them, AI art generators are here to stay and improving with every version that’s released. With a bit of practice, they are relatively straightforward to use and can assist with a variety of artistic idea implementations.
What Are AI Art Generators?
An AI art generator is a system that uses an algorithm to create a piece of art based on the information you feed it. This can be text descriptions and a vast array of images, including human-made artwork.
AI art has been in development since the 1960s, with Harold Cohen’s AARON. AARON, an early form of an AI generator, could create an infinite amount of images using the programming language Lisp, though it had a limitation. The images were created in the system’s own, distinct style and had to be programmed by the artist every time.
This meant that AARON was not capable of learning different styles. It also wasn’t capable of implementing either deep or machine learning to enhance the image creation process.
Both DALL-E 2 and Midjourney can be operated through their respective websites, and linked to your Discord server. Both have a free trial version that allows you to create a limited amount of images, but you can also subscribe to a paid version of Midjourney and purchase credits for DALL-E 2 to keep creating images.
The year 2022 has seen one of the first instances of AI-generated art winning an award. Jason M. Allen from Colorado, US, won an award for a piece named “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial”, created using Midjourney. This has been met with some criticism and made people question whether AI-generated art should be considered real art.
Aside from the possibility of creating award-winning AI art, what are some other uses of this medium? Here are five uses of AI art that transcend the basic image creation it is currently known for.
1. Illustrating Novels and Children’s Books
Typically, when an illustrated children’s book is created, the author shares the royalties with the illustrator (unless the author is also an illustrator and fulfills both roles).
The amount that an author earns is significantly lower than the illustrator. Whilst this is understandable, some authors may feel that they wish to retain full creative ownership of the book. AI art could be the way to ensure this.
The use of AI art in the creation of novels and children’s books doesn’t necessarily mean it will impact illustration jobs. If the artwork is used as reference material during the writing and editing stages, it could then be replaced by a human artist before publishing.
2. Creating Storyboards
AI art can be a great way to effectively create storyboards for a variety of visual media content.
It is possible to imagine that very soon AI art developers’ algorithms will be able to use the lines of a script to generate storyboards that are accurate to the director’s vision. This would certainly help speed up the development process and meet the already tight media industry deadlines.
To retain the human touch and keep money in the pockets of traditional artists, we could see artists reworking storyboards using their interpretation, to then be released as a book.
3. Indie Comic Book Creation
One of the most popular ways to partner the written word with images is through comic books and graphic novels. How long will it be before the first comic book is produced using only AI-generated art?
If you are passionate about crafting the narrative of superheroes and villains, exploring bold new worlds and landscapes linguistically, and fleshing out a host of colorful background characters, then AI art could be a great playground for generating content that aligns with your vision.
Building artwork with an artificial intelligence system takes some getting used to, though after some patience and practice, you would be able to generate a story that moves organically and characters that react appropriately to the situations they are in.
Midjourney is a great place to begin. It is very easy to sign up for a free account and add the bot to your Discord channel. See our guide to using Midjourney to get started.
This content could then be rearranged into comic book panels to create your finished product.
4. Enhance Teaching Materials
For teachers that aren’t a dab hand at drawing, AI art can help enhance teaching materials by creating images that are specifically related to the curriculum content.
AI art helps expand the imagination, one example being able to pretend to answer questions such as “What would the first Thanksgiving look like?”
Utilizing questions like these and the relevant AI art would create interesting and varied discussion topics for the classroom.
The level of programming behind the AI systems has already found its way into the S.T.E.A.M curriculum in North American schools, and rightly so. The MIT Raise initiative has a wide range of AI-based learning units spanning from K-2 through grade 12. For any teachers wishing to implement AI in their classes, it’s worth checking out this material.
There are a variety of AI systems that can give you anything from broad and general images, to more specific, customizable content. Browse through the many ways to create images using AI to generate the perfect content to complement your lesson plan.
5. Concept Art for Video Games
Using AI-generated art as concept art for video games is also a matter of speed and efficiency. Landscapes, backgrounds, and weird and wonderful worlds could be created in almost the blink of an eye, allowing more time for you to work on the characters and game mechanics.
Video game concept artist Trent Kaniuga discusses the impact AI art could have on his line of work in the video below.
An important message to draw from the discussion is that AI art is still in its infancy, and the need to tweak and modify the images still exists. However, it seems that concept artists would have to work at a much, much faster pace to keep up with the vastly shortened time frames that AI art can deliver.
Will the Use of AI Art Negatively Impact the Creative Job Market?
For the foreseeable future, jobs aren’t at risk. Though as this list of uses for AI art continues to grow, the best pairing is still to have the AI art system plus a skilled human to program and guide it.