When it comes to AI image generation, the only thing on anyone’s mind is DALLE 2. It’s for good reason; DALLE 2’s understanding of the prompts you give it is so far ahead of the competition that everything else feels pointless. However, latest AI Midjourney AI has a much different feel, and a much different point: it creates art.
Midjourney AI creates beautiful art
As soon as Midjourney became available, I jumped on board the hype train and purchased an unlimited month’s use of the AI program. (You can, technically, use the service for free.) For $30, I was able to add the tool into a private discord server and create as many pieces of art as I wanted.
Over the course of my time with Midjourney, I’ve created some fantastic art. It may not be exactly as I envisioned — in fact, not one piece has been — but they’ve either been somewhere in that ball park or far exceeded my expectations.
For example, in one instance where the AI completely exceeded my expectations came when I asked for it to make a “Lovecratian Princess crawling out of the muck”. What I imagined was a eldritch princess crawling out of a bog, I certainly got that. But it’s idea of what a Lovecraftian princess was completely overtook the initial image.
In one of the images, the princess’ arm transformed into a Cthulhu-esque monster that dragged the human body out of the beach. Still, the human-like body seems to be fighting this eldritch beast, screaming in protest. It was pretty much perfect.
Nevertheless, I created numerous versions of this one image. Some of them came close to my initial vision, such as one of a green, sea-encrusted woman emerging from the bottom of the ocean floor. Still, not quite what I wanted, but still very good.
How to make realistic images with Midjourney AI
Midjourney AI makes some of the most beautiful AI illustrations I’ve ever seen, but many do not wish to use it for that. Instead, many are trying to use the AI program to create photorealistic images, and it can almost do that!
Using certain prompts, you can make the AI create some realistic looking images. For example, the words “Unreal Engine” can sometimes trick the AI into emulating the game engine’s video game “realism”.
In one of my images, I wanted a photorealistic face trapped in a tree. Playing to the AI, I wrote a large descriptive prompt, this one: “a photorealistic face trapped in tree bark, screaming as he becomes one with the tree trunk. The peeling bark stretches his cheeks. Insects crawl around his face, his eyes glow red with fear. Unreal Engine 5.”
The best image given to me was similar to what I wanted. There was a photorealistic face trapped in tree bark, but he wasn’t screaming. His eyes were red — autumnal leaf patterns replacing the area around them — but he wasn’t scared. He was a sad tree man, with slightly mismatched eyes due to AI. But it was amazing.
Another photo real attempt was that of a demon crawling out of Hell. (I was desperate to get a crawling prompt to actually work; it did not.) The prompt was; “a demon crawling out of hell onto a scorched earth, its body falling apart, unreal engine 5, hyper realistic, photo-real”.
Again, what I got was not what I initially wanted, but it was cool. Instead, the AI gave me a twisted, burnt demon head, still aflame where its eyes should be. A third, red, demonic eye is still active in the centre. It is badass.
Midjourney AI is not DALLE, and is certainly not DALLE 2. It’s not designed to make photographs; it won’t put a photorealistic dog on a beach that’s almost impossible to discern from a real photo. Midjourney creates art, beautiful swirling landscapes based on anything as much as a concept.
For example, I gave the AI the definition for one of the most beautiful definitions in the English language. Dolonia: “The fear when people genuinely like you and you can’t fathom why. Wondering if they have you confused for someone you believe they deserve, someone who doesn’t have the qualities you hate the most about yourself.” It gave me this.
The AI even made beautiful images based on The Meaning of Life, Assimilation and the concept of dying. All of these concepts resulted in numerous images that all retained the feeling of those concepts, at least to me. Of course, everyone perceives those concepts differently.
But what can’t it do?
No, it can’t make a celebrity a finger
In our experiments, we started an open prompt on Twitter. Our goal, to get a wide range of prompts from the internet. Bad idea. Instead of gorgeous art prompts, internet shitposting took over; we should’ve expected this.
One commenter asked for Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti as a cat. Another asked for Breaking Bad‘s Mike Ermantrout as a finger. Neither got what they wanted.
Now, Midjourney does recognise some celebrities. It made a very sad Margret Thatcher as a coal miner, and a pig that looked very much like David Cameron. However, it’s not particularly good at making someone do something.
Midjourney’s understanding is art first, not situation first. While the upcoming DALLE 2 has fantastic situational awareness, Midjourney lacks in this regard. Nevertheless, you can still create some brilliant, beautiful art with just some cleverly placed words.