Jun 29, 2022

Can AI Draw Like David Sutherland?

 I've been participating in a beta for MidJourney, an AI image creation algorithm that takes key words, searches the internet for thousands, millions of images and creates an original graphic. The results are dream like, strange, and sometimes really well composed.

There are many AI image making systems in development, for example Artbreeder and Dream are ones I've dabbled with. This technology is just in its infancy and is already exciting, intimidating, and a little scary for those of use who make a living doing Illustrations.

As an experiment I challenged the software to replicate the style of David C. Sutherland III. The results are interesting, but not particularly convincing. The images are more abstract than illustrative, and they don't really capture the fine line work at all. I've found in general it is difficult to get the AI to draw decent line work, it tends to do either painterly or photographic much better. Here are some of the results.

This was only a first attempt. There are a lot of techniques such as refining keywords, emphasizing words, feed it images to work from, and so on that can help to improve the results. The keywords I used for this batch were: knight fighting a dragon in a dungeon, and a paladin in hell fighting devils. As you can tell the answer to the question "Can AI draw like David Sutherland?" is currently no.

I'll be continuing to play with the software as it improves, but for now illustrators don't have much to worry about. Then again, master Go players never thought they'd get beaten by a computer either. We live in interesting times.

Discussion thread: https://nightowlworkshop.freeforums.net/thread/33/ai-draw-david-sutherland-iii

Jun 15, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

 Warduke wants to defeat Strongheart because he's such an annoying goody little two-shoes.

Wizard Tower of Karogul the Grotesque

Karogul was a misshapen and grotesque man. Born with terrible birth defects and a hideous appearance, he was nonetheless a kind soul and an extremely gifted wizard.

When he completed his apprenticeship and left his master to find his way, he traveled to many of the most impressive cities in the lands. He took copious notes of architecture and was determined to make his own wizard tower a lustrous spire of great beauty. He succeeded. He passed away ages ago, but his legacy remains. The spire has withstood the test of time.

Dark forces have infiltrated the spire from the caverns below and are defiling this great monument to a great wizard.


Jun 8, 2022

Warduke Wednesday

"Then it will be a fight to the finish," cries Warduke. "For the crown will be mine." 

From the AD&D Coloring Book The Crown of Rulership

Jun 3, 2022

Wizard Tower - Cancerous Spire of Hyjel the Pestilential Harbinger

 Every era has a harbinger that represents the Spirit of the Age. At the end of the reign of the Eldritch Lords the darkest Harbinger, named Hyjel arrived who represented pestilence. Hyjel, whose name means cancerous rot in the foul tongue of demons, built a sinister spire that spread cancer throughout the land, a darkened blot on the peaceful countryside.

A conclave of wizards, clerics of light, and paladins joined forces to conquer Hyjel. A great battle ensued and Hyjel was forced to flee back to the Abyss he came from. His tower however remained, a dark and malevolent force that may contain great treasures and knowledge of dark sorceries.

Jun 2, 2022

Gunslinger Update

The ship date for the printed book is still expected to be end of June. The PDF is running a bit late, but that is to be expected. Much better to catch as many typos and errors as possible rather than rushing out to meet a deadline. The writing is done, though I am having more adventure hooks and maps made up until the date it has to go to press.

It has an additional class since the last update: Muckraker (a hardened journalist out for a story). Also, lots of new critters.

The biggest hold up is the art. While I've drawn a lot of sketches and a few finished ink compositions, I wanted to wait until layout is complete so I can know the precise size each art piece needs to be. And we are almost there.

I had a proof copy printed so I could review a physical version, so many more of the errors can be caught that way. After staring at it on the computer screen for months it allows me to see it fresh. First thing I noted was the font size is too large. By reducing the font size by 1 point it gave the pages a little more room to breath and more room for art. Also reading through it I caught several minor typos and a few places where things could be worded better.

If there is one area I could spend more time on it would be in detailing out the strange science devices. There are a lot of them, but some of them are a bit vague in the details. I actually didn't want to get too specific in order to let the Referee customize them to his/her specific game.

All in all I'm feeling good about completing it this month, I expect to be posting some more art over the next few updates.

You can discuss Gunslinger here:


Jun 1, 2022

Kublacon 2022

 If I had any marketing sense whatsoever I would have talked up Kublacon 2022 before it happened, to let people know that I'll be there with lots of old-school gaming goodies.

This is the first convention I've attended since the covid lockdowns and I was a bit rusty. Going through all my show material that was in storage for two years was a dusty cobweb filled adventure. I uncovered some long forgotten gems and also found I didn't have as many Night Owl Workshop RPG books on hand as I thought. I also only had a few art prints, mostly from the Book of Valkyries project available. 

The day before the show I printed a hard copy of the Gunslinger RPG at a local copy shop to have a proof to show at the convention. I needed to make a proof anyways because many of the mistakes leap out at you that are easily overlooked on the computer screen. But that's for another post.

A ran a silent auction for an original D&D 7th printing that did not have its original box, but I added a set of GameScience "ugly dice" (the best old-school dice ever made) and a notorious Dark Dungeons tract (in mint condition). I thought it would be a great way to get a little buzz around my booth. It did not go well and sold for a measly $120. So someone got a heck of a deal, probably putting it on eBay right now where they will get double or even triple that amount.

While rummaging around in storage I found some old sealed Magic: the Gathering booster blocks from the Lorwyn set I worked on. Checking around for prices I saw they were going for $1k or more! So I put them on my table, a couple guys came and bought them right away. They were very happy, which tells me they got a good deal. That helped pay for the booth and the hotel room, so the show wasn't a total loss.

I brought a copy of my Hawkmoor Boardgame to playtest and it went very well! I'm excited to get that game finished, it is probably the best design I've managed to put together. Yet another topic for another post. 

Talking to the staff I found out the attendee numbers were a little shy of pre-covid levels, while not great it was still alright. All in all it was an enjoyable return to some sort of normalcy.

Warduke Wednesday

"Soon I will rule the world!" he says with a leer.

From the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons The Crown of Rulership coloring book.