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AI Art, Good or Bad? A (hopefully) nuanced take on the subject.

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  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    I thought we were talking about principles. Well anyway, my original point was just trying to indicate that some of the arguments you were making had some holes, and the reason I say this is to help you tighten up the arguement so that it becomes more effective. Because I think you are doing a great thing and it is better if more people speak out about problems instead of just being silent.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Well, devil's advocate arguments are all well and good of course. If I were to engage on that kind of terrain I'd simply refute the whole point by stating that no one has to ever apologize for something they didn't do, or something they have zero control over.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    I'd say that people have and will always have the control, and it is their duty to do what is needed to keep their environment in order. No matter what they are always responsible for their own fate. The strong carry the weak, those who know teach the ignorant, etc.
  • CyberdemoN_1542
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    CyberdemoN_1542 polycounter lvl 5
    pior said:
    I must say I am genuinely fascinated by the fact that some don't seem to see the issue of "just using it for inspiration" (or moodboards).

    I mean, HELLO ? Not only is it a slippery slope as mentionned above, but it is also *litterally pointless*. The point of a moodboard is not just to gather pretty shiny pictures to show to the higher ups. It's mostly to establish the DNA of a project and create a shared set of references between artists. AIvomit completely negates that since it removes all possibility to trace back the art shown in such moodboards to the original source of the work, and the body of work of the inspiring artists behind it.

    Prompting "cool asian chick with big titties in front of a cyberpunk city" just ... end there. Whereas actually looking at the source of cool anime scifi art leads to discovering badass artists like Masamune Shirow (and many others), their rich body of work, and so on. If not ... what's the point ?
    Studios that use AI for inspiration in its current form are creatively bankrupt for the reasons you mention. Their games won't sell or be hits so you shouldn't care if they use them or not. Real pros won't. If they use a pureref board with nothing but "cyberpunk babes with big tits overlooking a neon city" the game will be generic and won't sell and for good reason. 
  • CyberdemoN_1542
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    CyberdemoN_1542 polycounter lvl 5
    Alex_J said:
    yes I agree but did you care when grocery baggers were put out of work by automation? Or steel workers? Or farmers? Or when cows were enslaved to live the most miserable existence imaginable only to be food for fat ingrates who by all natural law should have no right to exist?

    No you only care when it hurts you. So you can imagine how easy it will be for all the people who are not hurt by it to not care at all. That's just the selfish overpopulated world we live in. It is depressing.
    I hate this argument. Those are all grueling, menial jobs. 3D art is a life-affirming job even if it is often full of grunt work. It's the best thing that ever happened to me and made me a better person. Now instead of making people better we'll make machines better. A waste. 
  • zetheros
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    zetheros interpolator
    lol 3D art is a life-affirming job if you actually get paid your worth. The only thing keeping me sane these days is gamedev. Can't wait to get out of this meatgrinder that is art. It's been made abundantly clear to me now that everyone is a selfish incompetent prick unless proven otherwise, and nothing has ever been sacred in this world.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Alex_J said:
    yes I agree but did you care when grocery baggers were put out of work by automation? Or steel workers? Or farmers? Or when cows were enslaved to live the most miserable existence imaginable only to be food for fat ingrates who by all natural law should have no right to exist?

    No you only care when it hurts you. So you can imagine how easy it will be for all the people who are not hurt by it to not care at all. That's just the selfish overpopulated world we live in. It is depressing.
    I hate this argument. Those are all grueling, menial jobs. 3D art is a life-affirming job even if it is often full of grunt work. It's the best thing that ever happened to me and made me a better person. Now instead of making people better we'll make machines better. A waste. 
    Those jobs which are necessary for people to live are grueling and menial... but making stupid entertainment that is designed to funnel money from adults through their ignorant children are life affirming? I mean maybe for you it has been great but there is more to the world than your emotions, isn't there?

    But set that aside because it gets away from reason why I mentioned other jobs that were automated...

    The point was, you've probably heard the quote that goes something like this, "first they came for the jews, and I did nothing, because I was not a jew".

    The point is that the time for artist to save their own necks was a long time ago. It was the first time you had a prick boss, and instead of declaring war on him, you just quit and said nothing because it wasn't worth endangering your own career. What you call survival I call selfishness and apathy, and it comes with a price eventually. Always does. 

    So every time you turn a blind eye to somebody else's issues, you can expect the same treatment. Which artist will get now. Many will lose their jobs and nobody will care or do anything. The theft happened easily because there was no respect for artist. A soft target! They are not organized and already demean each other by working so cheap.

    In life it is necessary to be strong otherwise somebody is going to ruin your day eventually. The way people exert strength is by organizing. Alone, anybody is weak. It is necessary to do this continually, always, without ever losing energy, because there is always cunts in the shadows who have all the money and power and constantly scheme how to get yours. They are always there and they will never stop. You do not live in a safe environment. You never have and never will. 

    Artist were not strong because they did not organize, now their day is ruined.


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
     "first they came for the jews, and I did nothing, because I was not a jew".

    Oh gosh. Next step : artists are *literally* Nazis !

  • zetheros
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    zetheros interpolator
    look guys, artists aren't nazis except for that one sussy baka Austrian no one cares about. Lets not put blame on anyone for how the industry is today; this is a systemic problem, the natural result of like two decades worth of supply exceeding demand. Shittons of starry-eyed students looking to get in, and simply not enough jobs to go around. This is also one of the core reasons why forming a union among artists is difficult.

    We'll just have to be more adaptive. Learn some programming. With the amount of software artists need to learn these days anyway, it's really not reaching to just become an indie dev, from there it's easy to compete with larger companies who don't know how to make fun games.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Didn't follow the point at all if you think artist are the nazis. if you reread more carefully i think you'll see that everything i am saying is complimentary to what you are saying, even if some of it seems antagonistic.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Everyone understandds the "first they came ..." formula. I am simply pointing out the absurdity of it because 1/ it is of extremely bad taste and 2/ it doesn't apply here. It's perfectly possible to make clear points without resorting to "yOu wOuLdN't sTeAl a cAr" kind of arguments.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    Clearly they don't though. At all. They never have and probably never will. I am still not sure that even you are following me as your responses don't seem to make sense. But maybe it is me!
  • CyberdemoN_1542
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    CyberdemoN_1542 polycounter lvl 5
    zetheros said:
    lol 3D art is a life-affirming job if you actually get paid your worth. The only thing keeping me sane these days is gamedev. Can't wait to get out of this meatgrinder that is art. It's been made abundantly clear to me now that everyone is a selfish incompetent prick unless proven otherwise, and nothing has ever been sacred in this world.

    zetheros said:
    lol 3D art is a life-affirming job if you actually get paid your worth. The only thing keeping me sane these days is gamedev. Can't wait to get out of this meatgrinder that is art. It's been made abundantly clear to me now that everyone is a selfish incompetent prick unless proven otherwise, and nothing has ever been sacred in this world.
    I get paid pretty well in my country. I also get to make stuff that appears in games and I get to learn tons of cool stuff. It's not perfect by any means but this career is what helped me grow as a person. It's like college but I (mostly) learn things I like AND I get paid for it.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Related thread, and a bit of our stance on the use of AI Gen datasets containing copyrighted work
    https://polycount.com/discussion/233965/render-out-spatial-experiences-with-ease
  • Michael Knubben
    Alex_J said:
    I'm in general agreement @pior but I think there does remain some practical value to it, though I have only found it to be a tiny bit useful in some weird cases.

    Like if I need to get some ideas across quickly to somebody, since I am not a skilled 2d artist I can generate some AI image which gets close to what I have in mind in a few seconds. Compared to if I make a lousy sketch which might take me ten minutes or longer. The quality of the image is not important but since it is fully rendered and has details, so long as it is close to what I have in mind that seems a lot more useful for somebody who needs a concept.

    No, this is of course not excuse of theft and in general I haven't found AI (midjourney) to be particularly helpful for the work I do. If I had a strong need for a lot of concept art I have to hire an artist because you need to be able to iterate on concepts and AI cannot do that. Also I imagine part of a concept artist is that you can bounce ideas off of them and get project specific feedback, which of course AI cannot do either.

    So far, from a purely practical standpoint, I'd view AI as a way to speed up a concept artist but not replace them. That's just for work as a solo / tiny team developer. I imagine the enormous studios with armies of artist probably lay a lot off now, but I say shame on you for working there in first place. Everybody knows these places are just selling gambling apps disguised as games anyway.




    Congratulations, you've actively failed: 
    -To learn something in the process of drawing it yourself,
    -To put something of yourself into the project
    -To find a real artist whose work can inspire you

    What you've succeeded in:
    -Leaning into whatever biases the AI has
    -Shaming people who use their trained skills to make money at companies you don't condone.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter

    that is all true but it is also only the perspective of an artist, and one who is focused on bettering their craft as opposed to getting a product out the door. Many of the people using or wanting to use AI will not be. That is what I was trying to illustrate. In my case, I am a game developer first and I try to get something done on a schedule, and like any business this means figuring out the most time efficient ways to do that. I am sure you can imagine how some producer or whatever the title is would not give a hoot if artist are digging deeper into their craft or not when they are just trying to get a game out the door.

    Of course I understand things from the artist perspective and I understand piors points and agree. I just think that the only real argument to be made is the one of theft. What artist have lost in terms of joy in the work, anybody besides an artist simply is not going to understand or even care in the same way nobody cared when grocery baggers got automated. "Who cares its menial work." We could easily say the same thing about artist or anybody else. "It's just pushing pencils."

    I do double down on shaming people who work for terrible companies though, although in  most cases I think people simply don't understand what is really going on and they are just trying to survive in the same way as they see everybody else doing. So shame could be interchanged with educated.

    Anyway, I am definitely against AI but lets not fool ourselves to say it is not an efficient time saving tool that people are going to use regardless of how it came to be or what damage it does to artist. I mean, people throw trash out their car window on the highway. They just don't care that somebody who once applied great virtue over many years to become a master at something had their work stolen in an abstract way and now has a harder time making money.

    FWIW I didn't find AI art to be particularly helpful (but it doesn't matter what I found because some poor concept artist have already lost work). And I still do spend what little money I have to spend on hiring actual concept artist, and usually I double their pay with a tip because they work too cheap. I never pay the minimum that I can I try to pay the maximum that I can because I think capitalism is anti-human.

  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7
    I think the truth is...most artists who are working for companies are going to be screwed.

    3D Artists are likely to get completely replaced by automation because their entire field is completely made of the technical aspects (i.e. modeling, lighting, retopology) that can easily be automated once the AI gets advanced enough. The other thing is there are literally no downsides either for companies to go this route as an AI will be able to do the job faster and better than a human can.

    With 2D artists that's not so much the case because of a lot of what they do involves a lot of meaning and personalization that comes from human experience. Trying to automate that would only have limited success. Some companies will do it anyways obviously, but their products will also be inferior to companies who still utilize a human factor in the creation process. Basically, there is still going to be incentive for companies to want to employ 2D artists in some fashion.

    I think for the most part, this will permanently drive artists into a freelance-exclusive hiring status for those who want to work for companies. Most of it as it is consists of contract work, though there is a benefit to having an artist there for 40 hours a week. Once the AI hits I don't even see that being the case because you don't need a guy there for 40 hours a week to simply edit whatever the AI spits out, hence why I think this will become freelance only except for situations where companies aren't employing much automation in their creation process and are largely relying on human labor.

    So what's the verdict? Well knowing how companies are when it comes to money, I would assume AI is pretty much the end of the road when it comes to artists making a living through companies, but possibly the beginning of a new era where independent artists who do their own thing will be the ones in demand and have the tools at their disposal to make a living from.
  • kanga
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    kanga quad damage
    ModBlue said:
    ...

    So what's the verdict? Well knowing how companies are when it comes to money, I would assume AI is pretty much the end of the road when it comes to artists making a living through companies, but possibly the beginning of a new era where independent artists who do their own thing will be the ones in demand and have the tools at their disposal to make a living from.
    So when an illustrator has developed his/her style in secret (completely offline to avoid being scanned and incorporated into a number of random data bases) they should make an appearance on stage to the commercial world, what, by postal dove? Still probably be scanned in and misused. A brilliant learning, promotional and business  tool has been taken away from all people following creative pursuits. The only safe ones for the moment are live performers, but holographic projections should put an end to that.
  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7
    kanga said:
    ModBlue said:
    ...

    So what's the verdict? Well knowing how companies are when it comes to money, I would assume AI is pretty much the end of the road when it comes to artists making a living through companies, but possibly the beginning of a new era where independent artists who do their own thing will be the ones in demand and have the tools at their disposal to make a living from.
    So when an illustrator has developed his/her style in secret (completely offline to avoid being scanned and incorporated into a number of random data bases) they should make an appearance on stage to the commercial world, what, by postal dove? Still probably be scanned in and misused. A brilliant learning, promotional and business  tool has been taken away from all people following creative pursuits. The only safe ones for the moment are live performers, but holographic projections should put an end to that.

    I would argue illustrators may have it the worst out of all those who want to be independent artists and specifically those who do digital illustration. Thats an area the AI can easily replicate and to be fair....there already wasn't much of any monetary value in it anyhow even before the AI came along. Those who did manage to monetize it though do a lot more than just pretty paintings. They may have a YouTube channel or personal brand behind it, stuff the AI can't replicate or there'd be very little value in doing so. Basically, if one is an illustrator they will likely have to do more than just illustrate pretty pictures all day on social media. 

    I just think when it comes to those who want to aim their content for the mass public, the threat of the AI becomes far less because as a creator you can play up the human side, something the AI will never have, and at the end of the day people will want to support/connect with other people.
  • Eric Chadwick
    A good friend makes a good living creating location-specific art. For both public and private clients. I don’t see that being replaced by generated art. 

    Likewise, problem solvers will always be in demand.
  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7
    A good friend makes a good living creating location-specific art. For both public and private clients. I don’t see that being replaced by generated art. 

    Likewise, problem solvers will always be in demand.

    I think it will bring back traditional art or at the very least make it more popular. The AI can't do gouache paintings for example nor do I see any benefit someone would gain by making a robot powered by AI that could do it. Personally, I'd not worry much about this AI stuff if you're an artist who does their own thing to make a living from.
  • Ossiferous
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    Ossiferous polycounter lvl 8
    I think the one advantage human artists will retain is the ability to leverage shape language, which is the seed of novelty in design. Not that AI can't comprehend it, but it's intangible enough that training for it will be difficult and integrating it into a prompt is nearly impossible. I don't see us getting any iconic character designs out of AI anytime soon. Not to say employers will care, but it's at least solace enough to convince me I'm not wasting my time by doing it the hard way.

    The death of my career prospects doesn't bother me nearly as much as just knowing art has already peaked because we've collectively decided the art we've produced up to now is all the art we'll ever need going forward. What are we going to train the models with 50 years from now, when all the institutional knowledge that allowed us to create high quality original work is lost? How far can we go with only permutations of old data?
  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7
    Ossiferous said:
    I think the one advantage human artists will retain is the ability to leverage shape language, which is the seed of novelty in design. Not that AI can't comprehend it, but it's intangible enough that training for it will be difficult and integrating it into a prompt is nearly impossible. I don't see us getting any iconic character designs out of AI anytime soon. Not to say employers will care, but it's at least solace enough to convince me I'm not wasting my time by doing it the hard way.


    I honestly don't think most employers will care. They'll just accept whatever the AI gives and try to modify it a little, then stick with that. They'll attempt to use human hands as little as possible and for the instances they do, because less skill and work in general is needed from a person, it opens the position up for a lot more people who aren't exactly qualified artists and the pay will certainly go down.

    If an employer generated a monster design and are happy with 90% of it only wanting to change the horns on its head or something, they don't need an artist for that. Some guy who can photo manipulate with Photoshop would be good enough although he'll still need some level of design skill to know what will be an appealing change. There's going to be a ton of these guys even moreso than there is now because the tech will keep getting better and make it easier to do more advanced things. We see that now with the new AI features in Photoshop. In fact, I think the future of artists in companies are going to be photo manipulators/editors.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    ModBlue said:
    Ossiferous said:
    I think the one advantage human artists will retain is the ability to leverage shape language, which is the seed of novelty in design. Not that AI


    I honestly don't think most employers will care...

    This sounds about right to me. I mean even before AI art this is how I largely design my own 3d characters. just find a few things that I like and mix together. put a little bit of my own twist on it. I mean, everything that anybody could possibly imagine has already been designed a billion different ways, why should I start from nothing?

    It is sad that innovators and creators are not properly valued. But its difficult to make any sort of ethical distinction about the value of work because we are all digital artist. The whole point to use computer is it speeds things up and reduces manual labor. None of us are chiseling rock, assembling mosaic stones, or manually making paint and decorating the inside of our cave walls.

    If somebody who has worked hard for 20 years to become a great digital artist is upset because somebody is making what appears to be equivalent art in 1/10th the time we could easily make argument of gatekeeping because all you have to do is step back in time and it was always harder and longer to do anything.
    i dont like the over-esteeming type of valuation people make on the old "masters" because usually the case is this was some aristocratic people who literally did nothing but make art their entire life and never had to cook dinner or pay rent. So the fact that some regular people can use modern tools to make art which mimics theirs is progress to me, and i dont think the personal journey of rembrandt or whoever is really more interesting than any random yahoo on deviant art. it is all people expressing themselves as best they can.

    What is lost is the value of the work. Easy come, easy go as they say. The personal journey a person goes through when they work at a craft and overcome all of their own personal deficiencies one by one until their work becomes a beautiful example of their dedication and own unique personality is lost. What this experience is replaced with is a hollow facade that will feel the same as social media.

    but games and digital art is a business and people want to earn a living from it, so our capitalist society is demanding a race to the bottom. have to do it faster than anyone else, cheaper than anyone else, and if you want all the money you have to appeal to the lowest common denominators.

    if people are able to afford to live and make art as a hobby then at least they can try to forget such pressures and just do what they enjoy in the manner that they enjoy it. Like that retired japanese dude who makes art in excel, lol.

    working artist should unionize like their lives depend on it. i dont think there is any other way to at least have a chance at some measure of protecting the value of their work.


    note: just talking about the ramifications of AI work on artist personal journey and valuation of work, not the issues of theft which is IMO the major problem


  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    ModBlue said:
    Ossiferous said:
    I think the one advantage human artists will retain is the ability to leverage shape language, which is the seed of novelty in design. Not that AI can't comprehend it, but it's intangible enough that training for it will be difficult and integrating it into a prompt is nearly impossible. I don't see us getting any iconic character designs out of AI anytime soon. Not to say employers will care, but it's at least solace enough to convince me I'm not wasting my time by doing it the hard way.

    I honestly don't think most employers will care. They'll just accept whatever the AI gives and try to modify it a little, then stick with that. They'll attempt to use human hands as little as possible and for the instances they do, because less skill and work in general is needed from a person, it opens the position up for a lot more people who aren't exactly qualified artists and the pay will certainly go down.

    If an employer generated a monster design and are happy with 90% of it only wanting to change the horns on its head or something, they don't need an artist for that. Some guy who can photo manipulate with Photoshop would be good enough although he'll still need some level of design skill to know what will be an appealing change. There's going to be a ton of these guys even moreso than there is now because the tech will keep getting better and make it easier to do more advanced things. We see that now with the new AI features in Photoshop. In fact, I think the future of artists in companies are going to be photo manipulators/editors.
    We're already at a point where AI isn't a generation slot machine, no need to manipulate an output if it's constantly generating fully rendered drawings from simple sketches and a prompt.


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Well that's the thing : even though the results are polished, the person doing the "inpainting" here is pretty much letting his brain rot and is locking himself into a future of skill apathy. That makes him the perfect employee to exploit for cheap, since anyone with basic art skills can do it.

    I must say I am fascinated by the destructive power that such illusion of skills is having on people ...
  • Ossiferous
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    Ossiferous polycounter lvl 8
    Alex_J said:
    This sounds about right to me. I mean even before AI art this is how I largely design my own 3d characters. just find a few things that I like and mix together. put a little bit of my own twist on it. I mean, everything that anybody could possibly imagine has already been designed a billion different ways, why should I start from nothing?
    See, this is what separates the wheat from the chaff among designers: people put too much emphasis on the nouns and adjectives of a concept (i.e. "A [red] [car] that looks like a [bumblebee]") while overlooking all the principles like shape, rhythm and balance that account for the quality of the design. The former domain is finite, the latter is infinite. By relying on AI, you're not just ceding control of these elements, but your capacity to even recognize them, since you can only really hone that sense by going through the motions yourself.

    All future art is doomed to suck if we lose sight of this. It's cope, but until something like quantum computing gives us an actual artificial intelligence with an actual capacity for creative thought, the cutting edge of design will have to be wrought with human hands, at least for the parts that count. There will be a dwindling pool of rewards for the few artists stupid enough to put the effort in.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    I mean I agree. If you give a man a fish he just ask for another fish tomorrow. So a prompt engineer might "make" art for an entire career as a prompt artist without ever having even known what shape language means.

    But any time labor saving technology is introduced its not like the people who were laboring are now asked to do less. soldiers today carry more weight than any time in history because every time some thing is made lighter it means the boss it going to realize you can now carry more shit. And things you never needed before suddenly become needed.

    in the art world I think, assuming AI eventually becomes able to iterate on concepts in an actually useful way, that people will have to become more generalist and less specialized. Which could possibly be a good thing? Man started out as a generalist and is better suited for that sort of thing. And while I think we all admire a seasoned craftsmen who is expert at what they do, there is certainly something to be said for the more well rounded individual who is better able to understand bigger picture of things. “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but often times better than a master of one.”

    One thought I had early about subject is like, okay lets say you are trying to learn to become a better artist. you get pen and paper. you sketch a character. it takes like 50 hours because you first have to learn how to move the pencil, and you try all these different ways that you can make strokes. eventually after tons of experimentation you end up with something thats kinda ugly and stupid because all your energy was going into figuring out the tools of the medium. you didnt even begin to touch on deeper fundamentals of art like the shape language and whatnot.

    but say you tell the machine what character you want and it gives you fifty results. some of them speak to you and others dont. a curious person is going to pry deeper and one way or another they are going to eventually figure out what shape language is and what separates good art from bad. and they'll attain this knowledge without nearly so much blood sweat and tears.

    but because doing that job where you tell the machine what work to do and then you just filter the results wont be very taxing or time consuming, then it will become just one more task for a more generalized person to do. Now, for example, a programmer by trade who is at least able to understand the fundamentals of art could cover the programming role plus get some of the art done as well.

    This is all hypothetical, of course, assuming that the AI could actually iterate on art with some precision.

    The race to the bottom will be that when the programmer who is now able to do art is asked to do the art, they aren't going to suddenly get an artist salary tacked on. It will be more work for less pay. And of course the artist can now just fuck off, like all the other people whose jobs have been automated in the past.

    so really the only thing i think worth discussing for working artist would be union so that they could make collective decisions which may help some people in the future.



  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7
    Alex_J said:
    What is lost is the value of the work. Easy come, easy go as they say. The personal journey a person goes through when they work at a craft and overcome all of their own personal deficiencies one by one until their work becomes a beautiful example of their dedication and own unique personality is lost. What this experience is replaced with is a hollow facade that will feel the same as social media.

    but games and digital art is a business and people want to earn a living from it, so our capitalist society is demanding a race to the bottom. have to do it faster than anyone else, cheaper than anyone else, and if you want all the money you have to appeal to the lowest common denominators.

    if people are able to afford to live and make art as a hobby then at least they can try to forget such pressures and just do what they enjoy in the manner that they enjoy it. Like that retired japanese dude who makes art in excel, lol.

    Digital art I think has long lost its value due to not only inherent issues such as the ability to easily duplicate files, but also issues that cropped up over time such as sheer oversaturation due to the social media mindset of 'gotta make a new piece every single day to outdo the other guy'. Ultimately all thats happening is just pumping out a bunch of images that will get fed to the AI. With the way things are seemingly going with artists possibly finding themselves out a job due to AI, I think the move to originality (likely as traditional art) will become paramount because it'll be where you have value at. AI wont replicate traditional art and there is a lot of room with traditional art to express oneself due to the many different mediums unlike in digital where the only mediums you have are 2D and 3D.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    what do you mean by value in this case though?

    do you mean like, what will artist do in order to enjoy their craft and find personal value? Or market value? If market value I think i'd disagree because there is never going to be a market for anybody to do things in a slower way. I mean, there would be some niches, of course. people still buy oil paintings and like to watch ice sculptures being made.

    but for games and such i think nothing really changes on grand scheme, just some work is replaced with another type of work. People will not become dumber because the tool does more work that used to be human done, they'll just have to do more or different types of things. the boss is always going to be trying to wring every last drop of sweat from the worker.

  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    "People will not become dumber because the tool does more work that used to be human done"

    Well ...



    If anything, the only new thing that is likely to happen ... is Art Directors flat out refusing to hire anyone using "generative AI" in their process - because they know it would mean hiring a bunch of unskilled zombies without vision.

    And in the meantime, small indie illustrators (doing book covers, poster art commissions, and so on) become unable to make a living, and the world becomes polluted by uninspiring synthetic images that no one created.
    "eVeRyThInG iS aBoUt tO cHaNgE", they say. Yet a game intro from 1997 managed to look like this just fine without the need for AI vomit ...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z3EDGOx6p8
    Now *of course*, AI vomitting-tools will be able to superficially regurgitate something looking just like that in no time - but without triggering any of the inspiration coming from witnessing the work of an awesomely skilled team of artists.

    I feel like the only sane out of this mess is to just avoid any "nerd-driven" studio ... or industry really, since tech isn't the healthy limiting factor to creatively overcome anymore. Spaces without such creativity are just not spaces for artists, but only for so called "tech enthusiasts" pushing buttons and thinking of themselves as the next big thing in the making. Well, so be it !
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    i mean people just playing with AI as a toy probably were never going to be artist any way. and playing with the AI art as a toy won't make them a professional in any capacity.

    as far as jobs are concerned nobody is going to pay much for something that any monkey can do. polycount is the only art related space I look at so I guess I dont see people using AI art so much and being excited about it. I wouldn't let hype from a bunch of non-serious people upset me. I mean stay away from reddit and twitter for the sake ones mental health if that kind of studpidity does bother you.
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Oh, AI bros don't bother me to the point of affecting me negatively - if anything I am sad for them.

    What *does* bother me to no end is seeing AI-vomit on Christmas posters at a local (quite wealthy) store, or used by a local castle/museum as an advertisement, in a way completely unrelated to what they actually have on exhibit. Only to cut costs/and or appear hip really.

    This is basically the death of culture happening right here in front of us, just because of morons pushing buttons. This is far from neutral - this is a rush towards cultural apathy.
  • Neox
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    Neox veteran polycounter
    yup here in a town next to madrid, the local tourism agency or whatever switched to 100% ai by now. a lot less stock photos, no more illustrations by someone. its all AI and quite visibly so.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    i agree its just one small facet of the larger race to the bottom we are all stuck in. thats what i was talking about earlier in the thread. but sadly people tend to only care about things once it effects them directly.

    an artist has their job threatened and suddenly culture is doomed. but when countless others before went through similar problems nobody cares. "It's menial work." 

    These sorts of arguments are counter productive because, first they come off as elitist and exclusionary, and second they just aren't good arguments to begin with. We could easily spell out all the ways that digital art is menial and soul-destroying and bad for ones health and really lazy compared to other forms of art. I mean just think about it. Nobody is in any special club just because you did something in a more difficult way than somebody else. So don't waste time trying to argue about such things.

    any traditional artist who still eek out a living are likely to look down their noses at a digital artist. And any person who physically carries water from the source to their house would probably think most anybody else is lazy and spoiled. So there is no point trying to put ourselves into some club based on how we do things. Similarly there shouldn't be any talk like, "well a bunch of people were layed off, but it wasn't my people, so it's fine."
    what you tell the world with that kind of talk is that you don't care about them, so why would they care about you? they might have if you didn't exclude them!
    working artist are on the same team as anybody else who works for a paycheck.

    Artist who wanted to protect their job basically have two choices: 
     - form union so they can actually exclude people who don't comply with collective agreements
    - or learn to use AI as far as is practical to make yourself more competitive in the rat race


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    "or learn to use AI as far as is practical to make yourself more competitive in the rat race"

    That's a deeply flawed line of reasoning though - no one is becoming more competitive by "learning to use AI". If anything that's probably the most counter-productive thing an artist can do.

    "... first they come off as elitist and exclusionary,"

    You might want to consider avoiding insulting people in this manner.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter
    But if you come across as elitist and exclusionary then you are insulting other people. I am telling you that the arguments you are making are inherently insulting to others and will turn them against you. It will make your own group smaller and smaller, instead of larger and larger.

    Not sure it is flawed because people are already doing it. Using a new tool which can speed up some parts of your workflow is not going to prevent you from learning the fundamentals. it may even help beginners learn faster. From purely practical standpoint its like getting a new tool which saves labor. similar to how a pen and tablet is better than sculpting with a mouse.

    from ethical standpoint its no good because predicated on stolen labor. But no point preaching to the choir there. employers will not care - wage theft is the number one form of theft there is. it is pretty much safe to assume that virtually all employers are doing this as far as they can get away with. So the ethical ramifications of AI is not something they are going to listen to at all.

    Look if you want to just have a safe space where you hate on AI and hate on people who use it that is fine, but if you wanted to actually do anything productive towards solving the problems it poses I think there are only a few choices. Firstly in order to defeat any enemy you have to be able to understand their perspective so that you can predict what they will do. Every time I pontificate about the justification AI users and developers might make you seem to think I am for AI and against you, lol.  I just try to think of every possible angle and then see what could actually be done to effect any change.

    Of course just complaining and having some commiseration is nice but I didn't think that was the point of the thread.


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    "I just try to think of every possible angle and then see what could actually be done to effect any change."

    Well, for instance, that would be things like : taking hours out of one's day to contact the curating and marketing teams of said museum in order to let them know about the nature of the images that were sold to them. And similarly, taking the time to point out the messed up fingers on the AI-vomited anime-like posters at the local coffee store. Gotta say the store clerks where quite disturbed by what they saw, as they didn't notice at first glance and of course can't do anything about it.

    I do stand by the fact that calling artists who only want to fight for their livelihood "elitist and exclusionary" when their work has literally been stolen from them and used against them is, indeed, an incredible insult. Especially knowing that it comes straight from the AI-bro bingo card.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter

    thats a great thing that you did!

    as far as arguing with the AI bros, I mean you could just view that as a form of feedback by which you measure you success in persuasion with them. Just because I say the same thing as them doesn't mean I hold all the same views, ya know. Hitler loved dogs and I also love dogs.

    The reason it comes off as elitist is because it sounds like you are holding yourself as the gatekeeper to determine what is art, what is good art, and what is not. You might say, "well i had to work for X years before I was good enough to get a job, or make art that looks so good". but before you did that, somebody has outdone you in terms of how long and hard they worked to get to similar position. Being a professional artist is really only a dream almost nobody could imagine until fairly recently in history, though of course many artisans always expressed their creativity in different ways even if they weren't making art for entertainment.

    It used to be that games were written by super-programmers using low level languages. now with just a year or two of training "normal" people can accomplish a lot using visual scripting and make games that those first programmers probably couldn't have dreamed of at the time.

    So you might say that the newer games had less value or the people who made them are not as special or interesting... but that's an elitist arguement. it is exclusionary. All you are doing is saying, "im part of a special club because I worked harder to get to the same spot." You are making an enemy of somebody who had same aspirations as you but had access to greater technology when they started. So the problem is the technology, not the person, so if you villianize them all you have done is lost potential ally. And plus it just is not fair. When you began you used every tool that was available, didn't you? You didn't feed punch cards into old style computers because thats how the generation before you used computers and it built character.

    if an AI bro makes a cool image that manages to not have bizarre fingers and they are calling themselves a grate artist... i mean if you hired them and they gave you this result, then you want to say, change the pose of a character or layout of the scene, they can't do it. So they aren't keeping the job. Because they aren't actually an artist.

    If the technology improved such that they could type in prompts to make those precise iterative changes... well then you don't need them. Anybody can do that. So I just don't think those sorts of people really matter... kind of like going after petty drug dealers in the "war on drugs". It's just fucking with poor people and makes no actual difference. Better for working artist to organize so they actually have some means of protecting themselves.

  • Ossiferous
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    Ossiferous polycounter lvl 8
    Alex_J said:
    It used to be that games were written by super-programmers using low level languages. now with just a year or two of training "normal" people can accomplish a lot using visual scripting and make games that those first programmers probably couldn't have dreamed of at the time.
    Usually, they just make the same games those first programmers made 25 years ago with tweaks around the edges. If you're shooting for novelty, there's really no escaping the fundamentals. Every game programmer today starts with GameMaker or the Unity asset store, but you don't get to join the Unreal Engine core team without learning linear algebra and writing your OpenGL Minecraft clone from scratch. Same as everyone that came before, except now you have Vulkan and differential calculus piled on too. The low level languages get even lower and the math even more involved. Technological advancement is less standing on the shoulders of giants and more a belay rope fastened by skilled climbers that will take you to a standard height faster, but no further. Progress only gets harder.

    And frankly, elitism accusations ring hollow in artspace. We all love the masochism of scrolling Artstation and seething over the 10,000 artists that are younger and more talented than you. We know art isn't fair and we struggle on regardless. The grind is baked in, nobody gets to rest on their laurels here. It's more likely the folks crying gatekeeper just don't like being held to the same standards by which we've always defined qualitative progress in the field.
    pior said:
    Yet a game intro from 1997 managed to look like this just fine without the need for AI vomit ...
    I don't know why you went to Bulk Slash of all things for an example, but mad respect

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter

    And frankly, elitism accusations ring hollow in artspace. We all love the masochism of scrolling Artstation and seething over the 10,000 artists that are younger and more talented than you. We know art isn't fair and we struggle on regardless. The grind is baked in, nobody gets to rest on their laurels here. It's more likely the folks crying gatekeeper just don't like being held to the same standards by which we've always defined qualitative progress in the field.

    Great post!

    I am not sure I agree with the quoted part. I think that is more like a result of over-competitive space where the employers have exploited the common youthful desire to fit-in, conform, and prove themselves to maximum extent. It is toxic and I don't think sustainable for a career, which might be part of the reason very few people stick around for a career and it is often called a "passion" job. But this seems more like a justification made to explain the exploitation, rather than dealing with the problem head on.

    Some of the people crying gatekeeper may be little babies, sure. Some of them may have made some efforts at art and realized they weren't going to be "good" enough to make it professionally. But some people will use the new tools to full extent and sooner or later surpass the current gatekeepers, and then they'll become the new gatekeepers because they'll repeat same treatment they went through. In other words people will keep racing each other to the bottom.

    People who are not competent and lack work ethic may make AI assisted tooling a crutch. Others who are competent and have work ethic will figure out how to use it to save labor and push their own limits more so than those who don't. Those who fail to adapt will be left behind. And those who are rewarded with jobs will be asked to do more and more for the same pay. Or less.

    This is a problem of exploitation and power imbalance, it has nothing to do with art and really seems like the antithesis to art to me. In my perspective, art was about freedom of expression more than anything. A way for a person to say things that cannot be said with words. In the interactive art space, its a way for people to tell stories and build experiences in a fully realized way. The fact that many young people have turned it into an ego battle so that they can compete for breadcrumbs from anti-social jerks is sad. Who wants to be king of the rats?

    I am not sure I buy into all the talk about talent and quality and so on. First, we know that there is little correlation between quality of games graphics and market success. We know that market is fickle and follows fads and trends, so what is popular today may not be popular tomorrow. And we also know that what you see in portfolio never looks the same in game once it goes through so many filters than a game imposes. And we also know that games are becoming more and more expensive to make, and while in general I think the first and last place to look is at leadership, I also wonder if there is not some major in-efficiencies involved when you have large team composed of hyper-pedantic specialist who each over-esteem their own contributions and cannot view the larger picture. I think about those ubisoft UX people or whoever it was that remarked on twitter about how the success of Elden Ring meant that their specialization in UX was "useless" or a "lie" or something like that. I can just imagine how many hours those people probably spent fussing over tiny details that never mattered. But they are so far down the rabbit hole in just one area, how could they ever know the bigger picture? In fact they are probably prevented from knowing much else.


  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Bulk Slash

    I Was just playing the recently released translation + voiceover patch, and the opening made me more hype for it than any recent CG "cinematic trailer" (AI or otherwise) could ever do :)
    I also think that this game in general is a perfect demonstration of how there is really never a need for more and more resources being poured into anything artistic. The recently released SMBWonder is another example that, I think. When one is able to do a lot with very little, there really is no need to "push ones limit" using AI-vomit.

    This realization (artistic impact through economy and elegance as opposed to filling things up with stuff) isn't self-evident by any means though ; so perhaps that explains why "tech enthusiasts" just love the idea of an endless AI-vomit orgy, while artists see it as complete nonsense.
  • Ossiferous
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    Ossiferous polycounter lvl 8

    Alex_J said:
    And we also know that games are becoming more and more expensive to make, and while in general I think the first and last place to look is at leadership, I also wonder if there is not some major in-efficiencies involved when you have large team composed of hyper-pedantic specialist who each over-esteem their own contributions and cannot view the larger picture.
    Off-topic, but I really wish games would be less efficient in the parts that matter. Is open world design not the cancer that killed games? Going bigger means optimizing pipelines for throughput so multiple designers can work on the same map at once without conflict. There's no space for authorial intent anymore. It's just not efficient to have one or two auteurs laser focused on one linear map at a time, micromanaging sight lines and chokepoints, treating the moment-to-moment gameplay as if its one single equation that's adding up to something to make the player feel a certain way. It all has to be one modular slurry that anyone can drop into and out of as studios churn through employees.

    That's why From Software is so beloved, isn't it? Not just that the same people have been allowed to refine the formula across decades, but that they've figured out how to do deliberate design at scale without gimmicks. We're the canaries in the coalmine with AI, but the consumers are going to realize too late what a mistake AI was after it's sanded down and lubricated every last point of development friction there is. It's not a tool that enables artists to think deeper thoughts to provide richer experiences. I don't think any software can do that, you just have to put the time in.
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    I'm mad we're not seeing AI where it would would work well and not cause any harm. Like client side AI text chat moderation. Let players check some boxes and adjust a slider to filter set what level of filth gets through auto filtering. 
  • pior
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    pior grand marshal polycounter
    Well, to be fair there is at least one thing which I believe is ML-based and is working really well IMHO, without competing with its own dataset : the Adobe auto background removal tool. I think this is a great example of something using ML that is indeed a tool rather than a replacement. It's not running locally though, hence not usable in a commercial environment ...

    https://www.adobe.com/express/feature/image/remove-background
  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    A lot of the early AI tools in photoshop are great, select subject and refine edge, content-aware fill, etc. It's when it's used to generate new points of interest where it become a problem. 
  • Ossiferous
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    Ossiferous polycounter lvl 8
    ZacD said:
    I'm mad we're not seeing AI where it would would work well and not cause any harm. Like client side AI text chat moderation. Let players check some boxes and adjust a slider to filter set what level of filth gets through auto filtering. 
    We're definitely getting AI moderators. I'm not thrilled about that either, but I do feel that narrative applications could be a total win for AI in games if curated well enough. While watching the latest Star Citizen tech demo, I found myself thinking, "wow, I could really get lost in this world if it weren't going to be populated with capital G Gamers breaking the immersion"- but what would be really cool is if the personality of your character were baked in. You describe your character to the AI, and from there on out, your interactions with players are just Bioware-style dialogue trees. Journey already proved how effective it is to force players to roleplay. I'm totally on board for that. I'd feel bad for the writers, but Warren Spector's already spent a decade proving a richer narrative isn't something you can really just throw writers at. It's hard to manually manage the level of complexity these games really need.

  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J grand marshal polycounter


    snip

    I'd say FromSoftware is way more efficient than say, Ubisoft or Blizzard. They are making games cheaper and now starting to make sales like the bigger guys who were stuck in arms race.

    from an artist perspective I think their games have more value because it is largely the passion project of a single mind, rather than scientifically and bureaucratically designed pseudo-gambling app made to be as addictive as possible and pandering to every human flaw, rather than focused on creating some sort of empowering experience.
    like as a game designer, i can design an experience which challenges a persons attention span and focus and rewards them for pushing the limit, or I can build an experience which exploits their proclivities towards addiction to compel them to spend more money. One way is social and the other is anti-social. One way can earn money but the other way is certain to earn a lot more money. Thats the anti-social nature of the capitalist market.

    As it relates to AI art - I am not going to have any problem if somebody builds a bomb and blows up the AI mothership in fact I might call them a hero, but I think we shouldn't fool ourselves to believe that because it is overhyped and generally nefarious, anti-human tool that means that it is not practical to use or will be detriment to people who use it (even begrudgingly in order to stay ahead in the arms race).

    That's my attempt at nuance here anyway


  • ZacD
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    ZacD ngon master
    I'm not a fan of completely blackbox AI moderation, but if it's completely on the end user with tolerance sliders and options to turn it off and on, I'm more than happy to see quality of life tools like that. 
  • ModBlue
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    ModBlue polycounter lvl 7

    Alex_J said:
    what do you mean by value in this case though?

    do you mean like, what will artist do in order to enjoy their craft and find personal value? Or market value? If market value I think i'd disagree because there is never going to be a market for anybody to do things in a slower way. I mean, there would be some niches, of course. people still buy oil paintings and like to watch ice sculptures being made.

    but for games and such i think nothing really changes on grand scheme, just some work is replaced with another type of work. People will not become dumber because the tool does more work that used to be human done, they'll just have to do more or different types of things. the boss is always going to be trying to wring every last drop of sweat from the worker.

    Largely financial value and from an individual standpoint.

    Traditional art tends to have strong financial value because each piece is one of a kind and the artist is often selective in terms of what they put out there. Usually the selectiveness tends to involve pieces that are reflective of the artists vision for what they want to accomplish and often its not a big gallery. That adds to their quality.

    In digital art, a lot of these things doesn't exist. There is no rarity because everything can be easily duplicated or iterated if there is a mistake. Most digital artists also put an overabundance of work out in public every day because of how quickly social media moves, but this leads to a huge dip in the quality of their galleries because at some point it becomes too much to keep up with and often artists compensate by producing low quality/high output work. It also doesn't help either that digital artists often only focus on a few subject matter (i.e. girls, landscapes). Traditional art by comparison is nowhere near as limited. Then to top it off most digital artists just don't seem to have a goal or statement with their art nor do they ever really have a connection with it. Its just mindless art. With traditional art there is more individuality involved with each piece and just due to it being work thats hard to iterate, artists tend to put more thought into their work.

    Now enter the AI which can do digital art. Its doing the same thing as the average digital artist, which is to just produce mindless art which it can do much faster and often better. That drops digital arts value to a rock IMO.
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