Everything is sort of back to normal here in New Zealand. You have to wear a mask in healthcare settings, but that's about it. We are due boosters, but may save them for Christmas unless Covid resurges before then.
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Gardens in the style of Eric Ravilious by Midjourney

A few issues ago I wrote about an artificial intelligence that wrote creatively (Sudowrite). It was more entertaining than useful. This last month I have been playing around with Midjourney, an image-generating artificial intelligence that is on another level. As you can imagine, illustrators everywhere are both fascinated and horrified by the prospect of AI-generated images. So there has been a lot of chatter about it in podcasts I listen to.
I approached my syndicate about the possibility of using it in an Arctic Circle comic if I write one about AI. But the legal implications are huge (Midjourney is being sued by all sorts of people who are understandably upset about the images being used to train the AI). I haven't heard back yet from the syndicate lawyers, but I doubt that I will use it much, if at all, in the comic.

Coincidentally, an opportunity came up with the comic I draw for the kids’ magazine, Double Helix. The editors gave me the topic of 'artificial intelligence'. My characters travel to a future Canberra scene which has been generated by an AI. I initially drew up a background for an AI-generated background. Here is the scan (untidied!):
But it seemed absurd to use this when I had access to an actual AI to generate imagery.

I used a prompt of “tropical rainforest in the style of Paul Gauguin” and stitched together the results. My editor gave permission to use this (I will credit Midjourney in the comic) and it probably helped that I didn't use a living artist as the style. I feel it's better to rip off a painter who’s been dead a while. Here is part of the final comic:
It is mind blowing how good the images look. Far better than anything I could paint. I can see how artificial intelligence will take over a lot of low-grade illustration work: clipart, people offering their services via, etc. But it could be some time before AI replaces very specific image needs.  
This is the picture I got when I put in the prompt of “cow wearing diaper, cartoon”:
It's not quite there yet, but AI tools are going to become more and more useful for creative people.

Until they replace us completely.


PS. I’d be interested to hear if AI is affecting anything you do.

PPS. Molly will never be replaced by an AI.
Copyright © 2022 Alex Hallatt's Cartoons and Writing, All rights reserved.

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