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Is it Time to Replace Your Artists with Artificial Intelligence?

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The ability to generate creative designs on demand will accelerate design and production cycles and will make it easier for brands to create new products without having to invest in expensive talent or equipment. This is a revolutionary time for designers who can now supercharge their creative process with artificial intelligence.

Artists are the ones who bring our ideas and concepts to life, they are the ones who take the blank canvas and turn it into a masterpiece.  However, with AI, you can now generate art without a traditional artist. This means that you can create designs with little artistic skills or talent by simply writing descriptions of what you would like to create.  AI art generation is becoming a reality with the public release of platforms to create art by text. You can generate these things at a rapid pace which means that you don't have to wait for your artists to finish their work on time.

This article explores the benefits of using AI in your creative process, as well as some potential drawbacks and concerns.  With the public release of AI art generation, can you replace your artists?

Up until this point, this article was mostly generated by AI, just by entering a prompt and some keywords.  This is also how programs such as Midjourney, Dall-E 2, Stable Diffusion and others operate to create images.  Simply type in a phrase and description of what you would like to generate, the style, colors, mood, rendering style, and even reference popular artists to new designs.

Midjourney, which has a free trial and operates through discord, is the easiest to get started.  There are many tutorials online and on youtube which will help you get started.  There is a learning curve to generate t-shirt ready artwork.  For the purposes of generating apparel designs, you can modify your aspect ratio to fit the canvas area to get a design that will fill out a shirt, but getting something without hard edges can be challenging.

Since Halloween is coming up, let's create some design concepts for the holiday.  Using the prompts below to rapidly generate some concepts will get you this.

“haunted house, full moon, black background, Dan Mumford style, intricate design, low color count --testp --ar 1:2”

“jack o'lantern, black background, ed roth style --testp --ar 1:2”

“satanic ritual, fantasy style, photorealistic, hyper detailed --testp --ar 1:2”

I like the jack o'lantern design, so I took one of those into photoshop to make some quick edits, colorize and halftone, and then back into illustrator to add some text and mockup on a shirt.  Without the use of AI artwork, I wouldn't be able to create this style of design as it's outside my skillset.  But leveraging the image creation opens up the ability to create designs that would not be possible.

Here is the final design ready to go as a two color with halftones, this would print really nice with discharge ink.

The reception of AI art has been controversial, with many artist calling it soulless. But just as there was a time when photoshop and illustrator was ill-received, the people who embraced the technology were able to excel in the long term.  Photoshop has been adding more AI assisted tools, and if you've used content aware fill, you've already been using one.

So will you be replacing your artist with AI anytime soon?  I think we are still years off, as you still need to be creative enough to write prompts, and have the skillset to finalize a design, and an eye for composition, but I see it as a way to supercharge your artists with what they couldn't do before, and quickly.

For more, and much better examples of what can be created with AI, check out the Midjourney showcase https://www.midjourney.com/showcase/ which includes the prompts used to create the images.


I reached out to impression magazine to see if I could write an article for them but never heard back, so I'm posting here instead.



in the prompts, --testp is for the beta version of midjourney which makes supposedly better images

blue moon:
Awesome write up!
Thank you!

This is great. Awesome write up and I i look forward to diving into this tonight.

Zane this is incredible. thank you for posting this.

Very spooky, 'tis the season!

One thing to watch out for is the copyright/who owns what's made with these AI programs. Always gotta watch out for the T&C!

From Midjourney's TOS (https://midjourney.gitbook.io/docs/terms-of-service#4.-copyright-and-trademark):

"By using the Services, you grant to Midjourney, its successors, and assigns a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at your direction. This license survives termination of this Agreement by any party, for any reason."


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