With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), we have heard how it will begin taking over many human tasks. This conversation has been largely focused around industries like manufacturing, customer service, and healthcare, where machines can carry out tasks incredibly efficiently.
The creative realm was thought to be mostly off limits to machines, at least for now. Many believed they would not be able to paint a picture, create music, or write a book like us. These are tasks that absolutely require the free and creative human mind, and art is fundamental to the human experience.
This is changing!
Machines are not going to completely replace us humans in the creative realm, and who would want them to? Instead, AI is enabling artists from all around the world, amateur to professional, to generate new types of art that were previously nonexistent.
So, how exactly can you create art with AI?
Researchers and developers have been building many tools and applications that can be used by anybody to create art. Most of these work with Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), so it’s important to have a basic understanding of what a GAN is.
Most of the time, art pieces that are generated by AI-based algorithms involve GANs. With a GAN, two sub-models are trained at the same time. The first is a generator model that is trained to generate new examples, and the second is a discriminator model that attempts to classify examples as either real or fake. The two models are trained simultaneously until the discriminator model is tricked about half of the time. Once this occurs, the generator model is generating plausible examples.
AI in the Creative Process
Thanks to these GANs, AI is making its way into the creative process much quicker than what many of us believed was possible. Computers are playing increasingly involved roles in creative activities like music, fine arts, and architecture. They are changing everything we knew about the creative process and how “human” it actually is. This ecosystem has led to many new tools on the market that can help artists, or anyone for that matter, use AI technologies to generate art.
Let’s focus on the most common AI generation method used by art generators: VQGAN+CLIP.
VQGAN+CLIP is a neural network architecture that revolves around a text-to-image model to generate images of variable sizes. It does this after being fed a set of text prompts and various other parameters. Unlike previous text-to-image models, the VQGAN+CLIP architecture offers incredibly crisp and high-resolution quality images that are more appealing than previous ones. It truly brings the text-to-image model to life. VQGAN+CLIP is actually a combination of two neural network architectures: VQGAN and CLIP. In simple terms, CLIP helps guide VQGAN to achieve an image that is the best match to the given text.
Now that we know exactly how AI is being implemented into the creative process, let’s take a look at some of the best AI generation tools and methods on the market:
starryai enables users to generate art with AI by simply using words to describe what they want to see, and the app’s easy interface and functionality makes AI generation approachable for everyone. By granting users full ownership of their creations, they can be used for NFT projects, printed out, and shared throughout social media. This is incredibly important as we move further into a virtual world driven by digital assets.
The app offers various different models, styles, aspect ratios, and initial images, as well as regular updates to continuously improve its AI methods, which include VQGAN+CLIP.
Another one of the top AI generation tools is NightCafe Creator. The app offers two methods of AI generation: neural style transfer and VQGAN+CLIP. The first helps re-imagine images in any style chosen by the user, while the second creates art out of a text prompt.
NighCafe Creator also offers many simple edition tools that enable users to change an image, and the art belongs to the user as long as they have permission or ownership of the original images. It also uses AI to enhance images to print quality, allowing users to have it printed out and delivered on museum-quality, thick matte paper.
NightCafe Creator has generated over 3.5 million AI artworks!
Artbreeder is an online application that allows users to merge two pictures in order to create a hybrid. The user first chooses the category of picture they want to generate before being able to combine as many pictures as desired from a database. The app then generates the image based on the most prominent features of each input picture.
Artbreeder is a collaborative project, meaning images generated by one user can be built upon by another, which creates all sorts of evolving pathways. This is enhanced by the images generated by the AI itself, creating an incredibly creative and collaborative environment.
Deep Dream Generator relies on the base model of Deep Dream, which uses a convolutional neural network to identify and enhance patterns in images through algorithmic pareidolia. What is algorithmic pareidolia? It is the process of creating a dream-like appearance in intentionally over-processed images.
Deep Dream Generator uses a variation in the texture of the first image to create a different style in the second image. This application takes a few minutes rather than a few seconds to generate an image, but the result is a beautiful sequence of pictures.
A New Era of Art
AI applications like starryai, NightCafe Creator, Artbreeder, Deep Dream Generator, and many others are ushering in a new era of AI-generated art. They are offering state-of-the-art approaches that allow anyone around the world to be an artist. These applications are also helping create this new ecosystem of NFTs and digital art, which is an incredibly fast growing market that is revolutionizing the virtual world.
Go create and own some AI-generated art for yourself.