“I’m fascinated by these images. I love them. And it thinks everyone should see it,” Allen, 39, told DailyExpertNews Business in an interview on Friday.
The novelty of these tools, how they’re used to produce images, and, in some cases, the gatekeeper to access some of the most powerful, has sparked debate about whether they can actually make art or help people create. making art.
“This sucks for exactly the same reason we don’t let robots compete in the Olympics,” wrote one Twitter user.
“This is the literal definition of ‘pressing a few buttons to create a digital artwork’,” another tweeted. “AI artwork is now the ‘banana stuck to the wall’ of the digital world.”
But while Allen didn’t use a brush to create his winning piece, there was plenty of work involved, he said.
“It’s not like you just mix words and win games,” he said.
First, he said, he played with phrasing that led Midjourney to generate images of women in frilly dresses and space helmets — trying to mix Victorian costumes with space themes, he said. Over time, with many minor tweaks to his written prompt (such as adjusting lighting and color harmony), he created 900 iterations of what led to his last three images. He cleaned up those three images in Photoshop, for example by giving one of the female figures in his winning image a head with wavy, dark hair after Midjourney had left her headless. He then ran the images through another software program called Gigapixel AI, which can improve resolution, and had the images printed on canvas at a local print shop.
Allen is pleased that the debate over whether AI can be used to make art is attracting so much attention.
“Instead of hating the technology or the people behind it, we need to recognize that it’s a powerful tool and use it for good so we can all move forward instead of sulking about it,” Allen said.
Cal Duran, an artist and art teacher who was one of the judges for the competition, said that although Allen’s piece mentioned Midjourney, he didn’t realize it was AI-generated when he judged it. Still, he stands by his decision to award it first place in its category, he said, calling it a “beautiful piece.”
“I think there’s a lot involved in this piece and I think the AI technology can bring more opportunities to people who may not consider themselves artists in the conventional way,” he said.
Allen won’t say what the text prompt behind his winning image was yet — he plans to keep it a secret until he publishes a larger related work that he hopes will be ready later this year.