If you’ve been around some parts of the internet lately you may have run across a recent obsession with DALL-E, and AI art generation program that takes prompts you feed it and attempts to generate output based on it. Specifically, a variation called DALL-E Mini, which pulls data from the internet to create art based on prompts has been quite the sensation on Twitter for the last couple of weeks. There are several accounts on Twitter that repost images. I follow Weird Dall-E Generations to get my fix of the strange.
The whole thing lends itself to the creativity of people who come up with prompts like The Demogorgon from Stranger Things as a guest star on Friends or The Crucifixion as a Fortnite Event or Smurfs being teargassed in Portland that generate some interesting output.
My daughter and I text each other some of the examples we find fun.
But my own initial plan for DALL-E was to take one subject and play with parameters around them. One of the things you can do is specify a style, like courtroom sketch or fisheye lens or CCTV, which is where I started. My subject was, for no particular reason, Darth Vader.
Then I saw people were specifying artists, which sent me off on another path.
I went down that path for a while.
Each prompt gets you a panel of nine output images. In the DALL-E Mini app you can click on the panels to get a slightly larger version, though they are not very high in resolution. But given the speed of the output and the number of people using the tool, that isn’t unreasonable.
Eventually I got back onto Darth Vader and having him rendered by various artists. The natural starting place seemed to be Dali… because DALL-E and all.
I actually liked a couple of those panels. They were at least worthy of avatar images.
Then I went to Picasso.
And that got me off on a whole riff of artists.
Is panel eight supposed to be Padme? Leia?
As a New Yorker Cartoon.
Darth Vader as a cave painting.
Darth Vader drawn by Al Jaffee of MAD Magazine.
That got me off on a tangent for a bit.
I did a whole range of “x smoking weed with Snoop Dogg” including Snoopy.
But then it was back onto artists.
Some artists worked better than others for me, though I think the subject of Darth Vader was limiting. I couldn’t get much out of other MAD Magazine artists, and Norman Rockwell Darth Vader just seemed like Darth Vader mostly.
Monet was okay, though nothing special.
And Jackson Pollock didn’t exactly break new ground… though I don’t know what I was expecting at that point.
And then I hit on Roy Lichtenstein. Now that had a style.
And then I was off on a Roy Lichtenstein phase for a while.
Revisiting some previous options.
And finding some new avatar worthy output.
All of which is really just a summary of how I wasted a bunch of time over the past week or so. If you follow me on Twitter you no doubt saw a few of these already. But I put some there I didn’t use here and vice versa.
And, honestly, having done this, now I think I might have to explore more of Mark Twain. He has a unique and more elastic look than Darth Vader I think.
Of course, not everything is a success, mild or otherwise. Firiona Vie isn’t, for example, popular enough to be a guest star on friends. I thought Bananarama eating bananas at the cinerama was destined for glory, but ended up rather disappointing. And I have yet to get a decent viking in a spaceship. But I persist.
And my current all-time most popular tweet is Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace painted by Pablo Picasso, but only because Kai Ryssdal retweeted it to his followers. So a shout out to Kai and Marketplace!
Anyway, if you want to waste some time with this, you can find the version of DALL-E mini I have been using here.