Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Red-Haired Art - Through the AI Doorway

I windled away the afternoon today, feeding red-haired paintings into AI software.

The AI I was using was the following one:

I know very little about AI, so it was very much a walk into the unknown. My friend recently started using the site for his own videos, and seeing how interesting it was I couldn't help but have a go myself (if you open an account you get some free credits to make clips, so it's pretty easy.)

You basically just upload an image and the AI does the work. You can also add some lines of text to guide the process. Likewise you can generate footage from text directions alone, sans image. In fact, the first clip, showing a woman dancing beneath a full moon, was created that way. I think I put something along the lines of, "Red-haired woman, dancing beneath a starry sky, with a big moon", to generate that one.

Anyway, the video below showcases all the clips I got for my free credit, along with the original paintings. Some of the clips are quite disturbing, in that AI kind of way. Others are rather nice and arty. Impressive even. I'm actually tempted to take out a monthly subscription to play around some more, though I think I'll wait until I have some specific purpose in mind.

Incidentally, while I'm here I'll add my brief thoughts on AI in general. I pretty much view it as incredible software or data processing, rather than as intelligence per se. I don't believe it is, or ever will be, intelligent in a consciousness sense. So I don't want to perpetuate the scarier hype that surrounds it. However, I do think it's a truly revolutionary technology, that will change things immeasurably. I actually think the biggest danger posed by AI is that world governments will bring in totalitarianism to suppress individuals that become too empowered by it. So I view it as dystopic in a slightly different sense to many other commentators.

..Sorry, I'm getting a bit off topic for a blog about red hair.

Back to the paintings.

Here are the paintings I used, listed in order (many, no doubt, you'll already know):

1) Queen Elizabeth I - Armada Portrait, circa 1588

2) Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

3) Roman Widow - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

4) The Penance of Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester - Edwin Austin Abbey

5) Poppies - George Henry

6) The Sorrow of Mary Magdalene - Jules Joseph Lefebvre

7) La Parisienne Japonaise - Alfred Stevens

8) Illustration from 'Dream Land' - Florence Harrison

(I really love this image, it has that Peter Pan type sense of wonderment. The generated images were fittingly storybookish.)

9) Beata Beatrix - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

As mentioned earlier, I didn't note the exact text instructions I added in an attempt to guide the AI, but with this one it was something like, "The woman is bathed in light, as God answers her prayers." So that might explain the weird supernatural, 2001 Space Odyssey type vibe.

9) Miss Lisa Minghetti - Philip de Laszlo

10) Portrait de femme aux cheveux roux - Jules Joseph Lefebvre

11) Zodiac Calendar for La Plume, 1897 - Alphonse Mucha

12) A Spray of Wild Hemlock - Jessie M. King

13) Helen of Troy - Frederick Sandys

14) Femme a la blouse - Moise Kisling

15) The Virgin in Prayer - Joos van Cleve

16) La Ghirlandata - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

17) Regina Cordium - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

18) Woman Science - Eugene Grasset

19) An Orthodox-looking Saint Mary Magdalene (not sure of the provenance here)

20) The Good Book - Federico Zandomeneghi