What Is AI Art, and How Does It Work? Should Artists and Designers Be Worried?(Keywords: AI Art, AI art generator, dall-e, how does AI make art, AI art vs. human art, AI artists)
Image of a man riding a horse. Image Source: Dall-E 2“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.” – Pedro Domingos
AI Innovation in Art IndustryArtificial Intelligence is fueling the top emerging technologies today. AI has transformed nearly every aspect of our lives. From driving to shopping, manufacturing to gaming, major practices have changed. Recent AI advancements have also impacted the art world, broadened horizons, and introduced new boundaries. Humans have expressed their ideas, emotions, and stories through paintings and scriptures for centuries. However, the latest trends are pushing artists toward tech-inspired solutions. Artists can experience a whole new world of opportunities to create visual masterpieces while breaking traditional barriers. AI technology can produce more in less time without compromising quality. AI is capable of analyzing information way faster and better than humans, taking minutes to complete a piece that takes hours or days by human artists. Moreover, AI can significantly help perform repetitive tasks like similar pattern creation. In this article, we will explore what AI art is, cover how it works, and discuss the AI tools that can help generate high-quality images.
What You Must Know About AI?Since its inception, Artificial Intelligence has only been growing, gradually taking over the world. Chatbots in e-commerce, surgical robots in healthcare, robot waiters in restaurants, and self-driving cars on roads are just a few AI applications out of many. By 2030, AI is expected to contribute over $1.5 trillion to the global economy. Observing the current trends, nearly every sector is digging for ways to adopt AI-driven technologies. AI solutions for day-to-day activities or business-related tasks can enhance performance and improve outcomes. Let's uncover the benefits offered by AI solutions below.
- Reduced error probability
- Boosted productivity
- Accelerated delivery time
- Automated task repetition
Digital image of a soup bowl generated Image Source: Dall-E 2
What is AI Art and how is it influencing the creativity of artists?AI art is any artistic piece created with the help of AI tools and techniques. AI art comes through algorithms that acquire information from the input data. Artists generate AI-powered artwork using algorithms that train machines to analyze hundreds and thousands of images. AI Generated Portraits Image Source: Robbie Barrat’s art-DCGAN
History of AI ArtAI art came into existence in the early days of computer invention with the introduction of computer graphics. Back in the 1950s, computer graphics could produce basic patterns and shapes. Early AI-generated art, like plain patterns, was rendered on screen by implementing and running simple algorithms. In 1967, Frieder Nake, a mathematician, and scientist used random number generation to create square matrix images. From 1970-1980, AI-generated art was used in computer-aided design (CAD). During this period, a set of algorithms named AARON was developed to create freehand abstract drawings and paint certain objects. AARON grew stronger and allowed producing complex art figures of humans, plants, and other creatures in the 1990s. Artists began incorporating AI algorithms in fields beyond visual applications, such as music and poetry. Even the area of robotics took over AI art generation, where robots made paintings and scriptures. Read the complete history of graphics here.
Untitled (1967), by Frieder Nake. Image Source: matrix multiplications
Painting of a human, generated by AARON. Image Source: Creative AI: The robots that would be painters
First AI-generated Portrait Auctioned at ParisAI art gained tremendous popularity after the invention of generative adversarial networks (GANs). Later in 2018, the first AI portrait of a fictional french character (Edmond Belamy), generated by the GAN algorithm, was sold for $432,500 at Christie's. The painting produced by The Obvious, trained on old tweaked images, is more like a connection of dots that lacks feature perfection. Consequently, artists raised different opinions regarding this AI masterpiece worldwide.
Portrait of Edmond de Belamy. Image Source:Is artificial intelligence set to become art’s next medium?
AI Art Generation TechniquesAI can be used in several ways to generate art. AI algorithms can produce images based on set parameters or create new pictures altogether by altering and integrating existing image features. One way AI trains computer systems (machine-based models) is by machine learning to mimic human behavior and produce desired results. For this purpose, the machine is exposed to multiple input text, images, or video files. The machine learns patterns, picks the characteristics, and observes the details to predict output features. Neural networks are employed for AI art creation, mimicking the style of a particular artist. Neural networks help generate images and videos that resemble a specific category. Furthermore, Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs) composed of two neural networks are trending for producing new art using an existing image style. The Neural Style Transfer (NST) idea is used behind transferring or replicating the style of existing artwork to another one with the help of Deep Neural Networks. GAN can create human faces, cartoon/anime characters, and sketches.
Sketches generated with SKEGAN model. Image Source: TEACHING GANS TO SKETCH IN VECTOR FORMAT
Abstract Landscapes produced by AI. Image Source:Robbie Barrat’s art-DCGAN
OpenAI and Evolution of AI ArtworkIn early 2021, OpenAI released Dall-e, a version of GPT-3 that produces original images and realistic artwork by processing text. Dall-e uses neural networks and image GPT that generate images from text (using a dataset of text-image pairs). Users or artists provide captions as input. The neural network (algorithm) learns the patterns and captions, matches them with appropriate images on the web with captions, and then predicts the patterns that resemble the most. The more enhanced version, Dall-e 2, was released in 2022. Inpainting and outpainting are the two most advanced features of this AI tool. Users can edit these images and create different variations. For a detailed guide on this trending AI tool, check out the research.
Image generated with Dall-e 2. Image Source: Dall-e 2
Image generated with Dall-e 2. Image Source: Dall-e 2
AI Art vs. Human Art—Can AI Replace Human Art?Ever since adoption, AI algorithms are showing remarkable results in the art world. On the other hand, the growth of AI applications is raising the concerns of artists due to legitimate reasons. Controversy over technological art replacements has been prevalent in the past. History reports events where painters recoiled at the invention of the camera, considering it human-art degradation. Recently, the sale of Edmond de Belamy alarmed both the art and artificial intelligence individuals who believed recreating images by training computers was not a genuine sign of creativity. The latest Annual Art Competition held in Colorado was open for painting, quilting, and sculpture made artists upset after AI-generated painting won the first prize in the digital category. The participant, Jason Allen, used the AI tool Midjourney that converts text into realistic graphics to create his award-winning Théâtre D’opéra Spatial. This event sparked a backlash from other artists who also accused Mr. Allen of cheating.
Jason Allen’s Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, an AI-generated work. Image Source: TweaktownDistinguishing Features of Artwork Some of the properties that differentiate AI artwork from human artistry are the following:
- Rationality: AI tools are programmed to evolve and think out of the box constantly. They can generate previously unseen samples that are impossible for humans to plan and design.
- Aesthetics: AI claims to create realistic images, but it lacks the emotional expression of ideas that is the core expertise of human artists. Not all viewers find AI art aesthetically pleasing.
- Authority: AI models give no control to users while processing images according to set weights. Manually altering or fine-tuning pictures is not possible during the creation.
- Ethics: Since AI tools don’t allow human intervention, the generated content can be against a group's social, cultural, or religious beliefs. It can also raise concerns about the final product's misuse, distribution, or copyrights.