Aug 2, 2022

Artificial Intelligence Art


Recent Artificial Intelligence image making tools have hit the art community like a flaming meteor crashing into our world. Previous programs were interesting gimmicky little toys, but the new crop of AI art creators have become mind-blowingly good.

For those of us who make a living as illustrators it is somewhat alarming. Will art directors be able to just generate the art they need by typing in a few keywords into a program? Well, not yet, but it is clear that this technology is going to have a huge impact. Like all technologies this is only the beginning, in a decade or two artists may become more curators than creators. Meaning they will use AI to draw hundreds of images, directing the process, and choosing the best images for a project rather than actually drawing and painting.

There was a time that artists who worked digitally in programs like Photoshop were accused of "just pushing buttons and the program creates the art" but nothing was further from the truth. It still took a lot of skill and craft to create illustrations digitally. Years of practicing learning how to draw anatomy, composition, design, etc. went into digital image making. These AI tools however may actually live up to that accusation.

It isn't hard to imagine that this will gobble up the art market from the bottom up. Clip art and beginning artists will be replaced, then mid-tier artists (like myself) will feel the competition, finally as the technology matures it will be able to create masterpieces with full control from the user. Already it is impressive.

I've used it to help complete the art for Saints, Gods, & Relics. And I'm using it for the next Beasties monster book I had already mostly written, but was just waiting to draw the creatures, then in just a couple of days I was able to use AI to create dozens of stunning (and disturbing) monsters and characters to fully illustrate the book (which I'll be previewing here soon). It still required my skill as an artist to do post-processing, clean up weird artifacts, and fix things. But the results I think are quite amazing.

I believe over the coming months we are going to see a virtual flood of AI images filling the pages of independent tabletop games.

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