As artificial intelligence becomes more advanced, it's beginning to have an impact in fields beyond just science and technology. One area where AI is beginning to make its mark is in art and design. We took a deep dive into this new technology to shed light on the subject by breaking down how AI is actually used in the creative industry and what we as designers, writers and consumers of these products can expect from this technology going forward.
What is artificial intelligence?
Artificial intelligence (AI) is a branch of computer science that deals with the creation of intelligent agents, which are systems that can reason, learn, and perform specific tasks. AI systems use machine learning to become better at these tasks and solve new problems, through a process called Deep Learning. In practical terms, AI applications can be deployed in a number of ways, including:
Machine learning algorithms that automatically improve with experience
Neural networks that simulate the workings of the human brain
Robotics systems that can carry out tasks autonomously
Natural language processing systems that can understand human language
Expert systems that use human knowledge to solve problems
For example, neural networks can learn to recognize patterns in stock-market transactions, and expert systems can diagnose medical conditions, though they have yet to match the flexibility and creativity of humans as they can only replicate a thinking process based on already existing data and processes. However, this doesn't mean AI can't be used in the creative industry, as there are several projects showing how AI can be used to provide inspiration and efficiency in the creation of art.
Some ways designers use artificial intelligence in their daily workflow
Designers are always looking for ways to work smarter, not harder. One way they’re doing that is by incorporating artificial intelligence into their workflow.
AI is present in some utilities that can automate repetitive tasks. Repetitive tasks are a designer’s worst nightmare. They not only take up valuable time, but they can also be quite boring. On its latest version, Photoshop has launched a handful on AI features that help with menial tasks such as selecting objects in a photograph, color correction and more.
What if you could take a picture of a sign, and have an app recognize it? Better yet, what if you could describe the font to the application, and it would find it? What The Font can do just that using neural networks and a database of thousands of fonts.
AI can also be a great source of inspiration for designers. By feeding data into an AI algorithm, designers can generate new ideas and concepts that they may never have thought of before. Although generated designs are more miss than hit, these tools are a great starting point to get you away from the dreaded blank canvas.
If copywriting is not your thing, there is also a few AI writers readily available to help you optimize your texts by correcting your grammar, expand on your ideas and even change the tone you want to convey to the audience.
Fun and games
Through machine learning, AI can construct images that resemble art through machine learning, using various self-learning algorithms that derive knowledge from data. AI art is the result of a collaboration between an artist and an AI system. The process allows the machine to analyze thousands of paintings, photographs, videos, texts, music, etc. to generate something replicating, recreating, and blending the styles of what it "saw."
There are several applications now available to the public. WOMBO lets you choose a certain art style and enter a prompt to generate images. Nvidia Canvas lets you draw simple strokes and it generates photorealistic landscapes based on what it thinks you are drawing. Dall-e Mini generates images based on text prompts. To test the capabilities of Dall-e mini, we created an experiment where we took some art by our team and described them to the program. Although all the results were fun, the variance in art quality is massive.
Although it is impressive that a computer can emulate artistic styles and generate interesting results, it's clear that we won't be putting down our brushes. We can see how artists could use this as a starting point to figure out composition or color schemes but not to make final pieces.
Even if the software was able to produce finished artwork, its existence is impossible without the artist telling it what to do, making it a sort of collaboration between humans and technology.
Where AI starts getting scary
AI technology is not just being developed to have fun creating weird art experiments and quick photo edits. Although publicly available services might seem like a mere curiosity, companies are already using robust software to revolutionize entire industries.
For over a year, Russian Studio Art.Lebedev passed off an AI designer as a human, by the name of Nikolay Ironov. After revealing that Ironov never existed, the studio launched its service to the public. The technology is capable of creating logos, website layouts, and even full brand identities in minutes, something almost unimaginable and a bit intimidating to human designers.
How did it manage to do it? Have developers actually manufactured talent and good taste? Far from it. If anything, Ironov has only replicated the talent and taste of the designers that trained it by feeding it countless amounts of previous designs and briefs, allowing them to indirectly work for an indefinite number of clients, free of the limitations given by the human condition. At the end of the day, the results given by the AI reflect the hard work and talent of the people behind it, as it is incapable of real creativity.
Will artificial intelligence replace designers and artists?
In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) has made significant inroads in a number of industries. From healthcare to finance, AI is being used to streamline processes and improve efficiency. The creative industry is no exception. In fact, AI is poised to have a transformative effect on art and design.
Creatives should not view AI as a threat, but rather as a collaborative tool with the potential to enhance and expand their abilities. The ultimate goal for many designers and artists, particularly those working in the creative space, is to pursue the intersection of art and technology. Graphic design has evolved significantly since its inception, and we are constantly witnessing progress, which we must view with optimism and intelligence in order to fully capitalize on new technologies.