Friday, July 29, 2022

Angus In The Outback - A.I. Art by Darryl Mason

By Darryl Mason

'Angus In The Outback' began as a fun prompt on the first A.I. Art software I got to trial in 2020. I liked the idea of a painter like Sidney Nolan or Brett Whiteley being inspired to capture such an Australian icon in the stunning landscapes of this country. 

Every new A.I. Art software I got to test or trial, I used the same prompt to see what this algorithmic compiler of new images could come up with. Sometimes they were fairly normal looking attempts at portraiture, which wasn't what I was looking for.  I wanted the stuff humans wouldn't think to paint or draw, as solutions to restrictions placed upon algorithmic image makers. Like this one below: they can't show people smoking, but Angus smokes in many of the source images the algo uses. So the mouth and cigarette become a part of the wall, or background. 

There's nothing particular special or unusual about this one, but I just liked it, so I kept it. I tried some changes, but any attempt to 'fix' the face in Photoshop made it look less Angus, so I left it.

It's new tech, this is still the early days. If I'm able to still do this with a famous person like Angus Young in a year or two, the results will be stunningly life-like. So in these early days, not every attempt at Angus's face worked, or even came close. But even from unusable images, I still pulled interesting details like the one below.

The 'Angus In The Outback' series totals about 400 images now, and that's after deleting the ones that definitely didn't work, or were just weird or warped to share. This one falls into the Interesting file for me; you can barely see Angus in all the 'paint' but his face and larger school hat are still there. 

I didn't paint these. I prompted them into existence and then cleaned them up, or fine-tuned them, to varying degrees. Some were only 10 or 15 minutes work, others took hours. I have trouble remembering now which ones were almost complete in creation, and the ones that I kept playing with for 3 or 4 hours, or over a couple of days. 

AI Art app Wombo Dream had trouble keeping Angus and the Ned Kelly of famous Sidney Nolan paintings separate, and merged them, so I got 'Angus Young As Ned Kelly In The Outback.' 

And occasionally, AI Art decided to just do a landscape based around the rocking elements of Angus Young and created amazing images like this. What's going on here? I don't really know, but I like it.

I'll add more to this collection soon. 

I should note many of these were made a year ago, or more, and that's already an eternity in AI development. If I go back today to the same AI Art apps, I won't get images like these from the 'Angus In The Outback' prompts I originally used. Again, I don't think these are masterpieces, but I do like them, and I've got some printed out and hanging up. I'm not bored with them yet.