AI art refers to art generated with the assistance of artificial intelligence. AI is a field of computer science that focuses on building machines that mimic human intelligence or even simulate the human brain through a set of algorithms.
AI can construct novel works through machine learning, using various self-learning algorithms that derive knowledge from data. AI art is the result of a collaboration between an artist and an AI system, but the level of autonomy can vary considerably, and the outcome relies heavily on the quality of the data the AI learns from.
To create AI-generated art, artists use AI as a creative tool and work with algorithms to set up specific rules through which machines analyze thousands of images to comprehend a particular creation process, like a specific style or aesthetic. The algorithms then generate novel forms, shapes, figures, and patterns to produce new works. Besides machines, AI artists also collaborate with creative coders, statisticians, computer scientists, and neuroscientists to build machines that push the boundaries of human creativity.
How to Make AI Art
AI art can be created in many different ways. One can develop images in the style of others, generate unique graphics just by text descriptions, or even embark on the journey to learn creative coding and make art merely with code.
Before we talk about Midjourney, let’s start with DALL-E 2, the one you may have heard about. DALL-E 2 sits at the high end of these AI-based image generator tools. It can create completely brand new images from a simple text prompt. You enter “a robot eating a taco,” and it creates an image depicting a robot eating a taco.
At the more basic level is Craiyon, formerly known as “DALL-E mini.” This is a free web tool that anyone can use, but it’s not nearly as sophisticated as DALL-E 2. The results are often strange and somewhat creepy, but it’s still very fun to play with.
Midjourney sits somewhere in the middle of DALL-E 2 and Craiyon. It also uses AI and machine learning to generate images based on text prompts. The results are usually quite good, but not as mind-blowing as DALL-E 2. The important thing is anyone can try the beta version of Midjourney right now (as of August 2022,) unlike DALL-E 2. No waiting period required.
Google Deep Dream
DeepDream, released by Google in 2015, is one of the more well-known AI art tools. Initially, it was invented to help scientists and engineers to visualize patterns learned by a neural network, a type of machine learning algorithm. Later the algorithm has become a new form of abstract art due to the dream-like psychedelic appearance of the deliberately over-processed images.
Another simple way to create AI art is with the mobile and browser application called WOMBO Dream. The app creates generative art from a descriptive text in various pre-determined styles. The app uses two machine learning technologies that combine a neural network to generate images and an algorithm that interprets text descriptions. Both algorithms learn from each iteration, meaning that every request generates a unique outcome.
GauGAN2 is NVIDIA Research’s new AI model that goes even further. The model called GauGAN2, named after post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin creates photorealistic images from simple elements a user can draw with simple graphic tools like a paintbrush or paint bucket. Artists can also combine sketches with a short text to design their own landscapes. GauGAN2 is a widely used creative tool for visualizing concepts or creating simulated photos based on nearly any input of the creative mind.