Behind AI art is data – countless images used to train an AI art generator. When a user types in a prompt, the generator takes apart those pre-existing images to produce a new combination of colors and shapes, a debatably new piece of art.
AI art generators draw information from what they're exposed to, as do human artists. But there's a difference in scale in the way that humans go through input, process it, and attempt to produce something new when compared to AI.
Creators would have to manually opt out in order to protect their work from future AI image training. The opt-out request, however, would only go into effect after their work had presumably been used to train DreamUp in some capacity.
DreamUp is an AI art generator that creates art based on prompts, with roots in Stable Diffusion. Its ability to create art rests on content taken from the web, without the notice or permission of the artists who made the work. An artist on Twitter summed up the process well:
The content scraped from DeviantArt and other sources goes into a LAION dataset, which is then processed through machine learning, eventually resulting in a 3D model. The opt-out request occurs before more machine learning, but does not apply to the initial training.
They won't use art submitted to the DeviantArt community on DreamUp or other AI models or training sets.
They didn't consent to images being scraped from the site by third parties.
To help stop future unauthorized use of art in training AI models, they're rolling out a "noai" flag that will let AI models know that the artist doesn't want their work used. This will not guarantee that the artist's wishes are honored, but it's a start.
I tested DreamUp after seeing that DeviantArt had addressed the issues the artists brought up. I had to sign up to use it, and I had five free prompts to use. In the Prompt Guidelines is the following: "Imagery inspired by other artists must clearly reference that artist when published."
My image was inspired by a dream I had (thanks, subconscious) and my prompt was, "A car shaped like a shoe driving down a highway." These are the three images DreamUp gave me in under a minute:
Hmmm, I was picturing a different shape, but I don't mind the bottom picture.
I don't feel comfortable crediting myself for these images, since I don't think I had enough involvement in their creation, so I'll credit the generator itself.
I tried a different prompt too, "couple riding rocket ship through space," and got the following three new images:
My favorite of the three was the comic book one:
Finally, I tried a prompt with my little brother's favorite things "galaxy dragon Stephen Curry." His favorite of the three was this one, although Steph Curry's number is 30 and I'm sure he doesn't play for the Goory Boxty Terrors?
These images weren't cohesive, and had a melting, patchwork quality to them. Still, it was fun to experiment with DreamUp. I see it more as a point of inspiration for art than a substitute.
The ease with which you can type something into a generator and create an image has led to art communities filled with AI-generated images.
Some communities have banned AI art entirely. This plays into a wider debate about what gives art value and how AI fits into the puzzle.