Flooded with AI-generated images, some art communities ban them completely

From ars technica:

Confronted with an overwhelming amount of artificial-intelligence-generated artwork flooding in, some online art communities have taken dramatic steps to ban or curb its presence on their sites, including Newgrounds, Inkblot Art, and Fur Affinity, according to Andy Baio of Waxy.org.

Baio, who has been following AI art ethics closely on his blog, first noticed the bans and reported about them on Friday. So far, major art communities DeviantArt and ArtStation have not made any AI-related policy changes, but some vocal artists on social media have complained about how much AI art they regularly see on those platforms as well.

. . . .

The arrival of widely available image synthesis models such as Midjourney and Stable Diffusion has provoked an intense online battle between artists who view AI-assisted artwork as a form of theft (more on that below) and artists who enthusiastically embrace the new creative tools.

Established artist communities are at a tough crossroads because they fear non-AI artwork getting drowned out by an unlimited supply of AI-generated art, and yet the tools have also become notably popular among some of their members.

In banning art created through image synthesis in its Art Portal, Newgrounds wrote, “We want to keep the focus on art made by people and not have the Art Portal flooded with computer-generated art.”

. . . .

The current wave of image synthesis tools allows users to type in a written description (called a “prompt”) and output a matching image, almost like magic. The results often need cherry-picking and dedication to get just right, but with a skillfully crafted prompt, the results can imitate the works of human artists with sometimes stunning detail.

The most successful prompts often reference existing artists and art websites by name but rarely alone. Mixing artists can create innovative new stylistic blends. For example, here is the prompt that created the robotic woman in the center of the image at the top of this article in Stable Diffusion:

Beautiful crying! female mechanical android!, half portrait, intricate detailed environment, photorealistic!, intricate, elegant, highly detailed, digital painting, artstation, concept art, smooth, sharp focus, illustration, art by artgerm and greg rutkowski and alphonse mucha (Seed 79409656)

The most popular image synthesis models use the latent diffusion technique to create novel artwork by analyzing millions of images without consent from artists or copyright holders. In the case of Stable Diffusion, those images come sourced directly from the Internet, courtesy of the LAION-5B database. (Images found on the Internet often come with descriptions attached, which is ideal for training AI models.)

Link to the rest at ars technica

PG says AI is here and, absent draconian government interference, it’s going to stay here and proliferate. He’ll reiterate that AI Writing is already available for short-form work – a paragraph, a page – but it will definitely develop in sophistication and expand its capabilities just like ai art has.

There’s a search engine that’s devoted to finding ai art online – Lexica. The images PG examined included the prompt the creator entered into the ai art system to generate the image. ArtStation includes similar content.

Here are three images PG picked at random off Lexica and their accompanying written ai prompts which have been used to create the image:

full body portrait character concept art, anime key visual of a confused baby with googles, studio lighting delicate features finely detailed perfect face directed gaze, gapmoe yandere grimdark
Portrait of big bird’s child, big bird morph child morph, digital painting, realistic shaded, realistic shaded lighting, fan art, pix
Symmetry!! product render poster puzzle cube scifi, glowing lines! intricate, elegant, highly detailed, digital painting, artstation, concept art, smooth, sharp focus,

The Uses of Portraiture

Agnolo Bronzino: Portrait of Eleanora di Toledo with Her Son Francesco, 1541

From The New York Review of Books:

It is hard, looking at the young Alessandro de’ Medici in Jacopo da Pontormo’s painting of 1534–1535, not to empathize. Long-nosed and tender-eyed, he has a moody Adam Driver gravitas. Though he is looking at us, his hands emerge from his vast black cloak to fiddle with stylus and paper, where a faint female profile can be seen. Reputedly the illegitimate son of a Medici grandee and an African servant, Alessandro had been declared the first duke of the Florentine Republic at twenty-one. At twenty-six he was dead, murdered by a cousin.

The dukedom was the collaborative invention of Emperor Charles V and the Medici pope Clement VII, who may or may not have been Alessandro’s father. A painting of Clement by Sebastiano del Piombo hangs close to Alessandro’s in the Metropolitan Museum’s engrossing exhibition “The Medici: Portraits and Politics, 1512–1570.” Clement cuts an impressive figure in his papal robes, but his hooded eyes slide evasively to the side, and the expression on his lips seems close to a sneer. He looks like someone who would kick his dog, not out of rage, just to make a point.

But history argues otherwise. Another illegitimate son of another assassinated Medici, Clement had the ill luck to be named pope as the Reformation gathered force, and was unable to avert the sack of Rome. (As an outward sign of mourning for this catastrophe, he never shaved again, as later portraits show.) His chief failings seem to have been indecisiveness and a tendency to underestimate his enemies. Meanwhile, the seemingly soulful Alessandro was reported to be “an amoral libertine…so debauched that neither daughters of patricians nor nuns in convents were spared his depravity,” as Linda Wolk-Simon summarizes various sixteenth-century sources.

The detective in Josephine Tey’s novel The Daughter of Time so prided himself on being able to read a face, he was piqued to find that a picture he thought showed “someone too conscientious” was actually a portrait of the nephew-murdering Richard III. Doubling down on the side of the portrait, he sets about proving that the historic accounts of Richard’s villainy were fiction. (Unsurprisingly, the book is popular among art historians.) Whom to trust? History is written by the victors, but a portrait too is an argument as much as it is a document.

Standing in a museum, pondering people and city-states that no longer exist, the question may seem academic, but consider: in 2005 a group of psychologists at Princeton published a study that looked at how voters evaluated candidates on the basis of campaign photographs and how those evaluations correlated to election outcomes. The unsettling conclusion was that, while perceptions of likability and charisma had little to do with who got elected, estimations of a candidate’s competence formed after a one-second exposure to a head shot “suffice to predict the outcomes of actual elections” about 70 percent of the time.

Link to the rest at The New York Review of Books and PG apologizes for the pay wall, but here is a link to more history which includes the following portrait of Cosimo de Medici, one of the most important, successful and nastiest of the monarchs that made Florence a wealthy and beautiful city: