Hey all you mages, Crusaders and AI observers!
Last week I took a break from editing Werewolves & Wizardry to help with a move. During the relaxation period after carrying boxes down one building and up another, a friend and I discovered a really cool website.
Wombo Dream uses an AI to generate artwork using prompts by the user. You can even choose which style you’d like the AI to illustrate in – with each style establishing a very different mood or theme.
Of course, the artwork isn’t perfect. This is an AI with no soul (I presume) or artistic qualifications generating this art.
But what I love about it is how much it really makes one think about the nature of art. I was an art student for a hot minute during high school and while I didn’t excel at it, I enjoyed it. Especially the discussion over the nature of art.
Most people seem to measure the quality of art by its realism. A photo-realistic illustrator is the best illustrator, in their opinion. But why?
Before the invention of photography, artists who could perfectly imitate reality were regarded as the best artists. But after we discovered that a camera could do the job far better and quicker than an artist ever would, we started moving away from photo-realism as an art form.
This isn’t because we can’t compete with a camera, but because it fulfilled a previous role of art and freed artists to do more. To explore emotions, fantasy and the unseen.
Like how agriculture freed hunters and gatherers from spending every waking moment acquiring food, the camera freed artists from endlessly recreating reality. It freed them to paint their dreams.
But I digress – quite heavily.
Wombo Dream is a really fun piece of software and generate some really impressive artworks. It’s interesting to see what an AI can do when it comes to creating artwork based on our prompts, but also to see how easily we can interpret vague shapes as something with meaning.
So, I got the idea of using Wombo Dream to generate artwork for the Katverse! So, without further ado, let’s see how a robot depicts our favourite urban fantasy.
Every heading will show the prompt followed by the style I chose.
Kat Drummond in Dark Fantasy
Wombo Dream uses an AI that learns about topics to illustrate them. I didn’t have much hope for it depicting Kat Drummond, as it does struggle with human features at the best of times. But I did want to see if it could capture some sort of feeling of Kat as a character.
What I see here is a white-cloaked figure wearing a black mask, wandering alone in an alien environment. Eerie.
Perhaps, it does have a semblance of Kat in it?
Or perhaps, I’m being a pretentious art snob?
To the next!
In Between in Mystical
The In Between in the Katverse is a void of unfathomable scope. It is a space between space, connecting the different realms of existence and providing a home only for wandering spirits and void-demons.
I think the AI did a good job depicting it here. The artwork has an eeriness to it. The red-shirted figure could be one of the few unlucky people to travel the In Between, with the large, cloaked figures being wraiths or any of the weird and spectral denizens of the In Between.
Undead in Dark Fantasy
Kat spends a lot of the series slaying the undead. So, of course I have to include some of her favourite foes.
The depiction of the undead here is pretty chilling. The AI doesn’t do faces well, but the lower-right undead dog still manages to have these sad eyes – made horrific by what houses them.
Cape Town in Dark Fantasy
Hope City is Cape Town. Just a fantasy version. So, in order to not confuse the AI, I put in Cape Town as the prompt but added Dark Fantasy to instil that sense of magical dread. I am really pleased with the result! It’s got an impressionistic style, depicting an almost accurate Table Mountain, looming over a dark urban expand and an ocean reddened by a setting sun – or perhaps the blood of Hope City’s inhabitants.
Who do you think the red figure in the bottom left is? The Mentor? The Archdemon? Or someone new to the Katverse mythos?
Titan Under the Mountain in Fantasy
And what would the Titan’s city be without the Titan Under the Mountain?
The AI struggled to formulate that I wanted something more than a mountain for awhile, but I like this result. The rocks are unmistakably a mountain, but also unnatural. As if moving and awakening.
Readers haven’t seen the Titan Under the Mountain properly yet. Do you think he will look like this?
The Last Light
Finally, I decided to generate an image of our Last Light. Well, not one but a few in different styles. Most of them used the prompt “Flaming Angel” but one did use “Last Light” as the prompt.
Which do you think is the best?
What did you think of this article? Did the AI do a good job? Would you like to see more posts like this?
Until next time!
Hold the Line.