Artificial Intelligence generated letters

Hey guys!

I'm a beta tester for DALL·E & Mid Journey, they are both Artificial Intelligence companies. They have tools in which you can input an idea as text and it will graphically create images pixel by pixel. The results are stounding, I've seen a lot of "art" so I decided to test it for letters, mostly lettering... also tried more type-designed letterforms (without success, is not so smart.... yet).

Each one was generated in 20 seconds approx, with a text input describing the letter and background.







https://www.instagram.com/ferfolio.otf/

I'm doing this as an experiment to raise awareness of how much A.I. tech has grown, as it's not accessible to many people right now. As a designer and teacher, I feel that it will certainly bring some changes in our professional lives. Personally, I think it will be a great tool, but it raises several challenges and moral questions. 

This tech will be available to everyone soon, and projecting this 5 years' time, maybe it will be inside Adobe apps, even generating vector graphics or animations (who knows).

Anyways... I just wanted to leave this post here to start a dialog,
I'm interested to know the opinion of the community.

Please, don't kill the messenger :)
«1

Comments

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    edited June 2022
    This is something I've been toying with a lot this year. I'd been using Latent Diffusion for a few months and had lately begun Midjourney. I agree with your 5 year roadmap.

    As for AI not being accessible, Latent Diffusion doesn't require an account. While the rendering isn't as pretty, it produces interesting results. In some ways it's better than Midjourney, at least for typographic "creativity". You can see samples from both tools in my Twitter feed.

    There are advantages to changing the aspect ratio with these tools. When attempting to construct images several consecutive letters, a wide aspect ratio is more likely to produce cohesive output. You can observe how Midjourney develops a fuzzy pattern to represent text and gradually tightens it up if you monitor the generation process. However, if there are too many text lines, it has difficulty keeping them consistent. It would be interesting to observe the outcome from a system trained solely on high-quality typography.

    AGI will arrive in about 6 years. Everything will change. I think it will affect the sales of display fonts long before text typefaces. I think in about two years you'll have a commercial product that can reliably design titles and logotypes in any style specified. As for whether this is good or not is irrelevant. The tools will become available no matter what we think so act accordingly.

    Sort of related: over the last two weeks, I rewrote about 550 of my font descriptions using a neural network based text tool. I also used AI to help write the first and third paragraph of this post.

    Oh, and those renders above turned out great. I'd love to try Dall-E 2 someday.
  • Hey Rey, 

    I don't think that what we think is irrelevant... This tool will re-shape how we design and especially how we teach. So I feel like it's a good conversation to have, and be prepared for the future. Obviously banning the tool doesn't make sense, it would be like banning computers when they did everything by hand. But why would students want to learn how to draw, if they can make 50 professional art in a couple of minutes? I think many design subjects will have to change and focus on what the AI can't give you: the concept, the idea...

    Rey, I didn't know you were playing as well, you have some interesting results! 
    Having tried Mid Journey, I feel Dall-e is much better, unfortunately, I don't have a place to recommend people it's still a closed beta.

    PS: You have 550 fonts??? :o OMG!!! I know you had plenty, but seeing the number is crazy.
  • Fucking Awesome!!!!
  • By one hand, I believe AI will be a great tool, but just a tool.

    By other hand, this is just the first stage of AI results. The better the learning and synthesis algorithms are, the more realistic and unpredictable the visual result will be.

    The future is here in a second.
    As Jonathan Hoefler said, 5 minutes later you are a completely different you.
    AI – too.
  • I'm a beta tester for DALL·E & Mid Journey

    So jealous... :disappointed:

  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    edited June 2022
    I think many design subjects will have to change and focus on what the AI can't give you: the concept, the idea...


    If you look at the feeds on Midjourney you can see some people copy/pasting the same “4K octane render in unity trending on artstation” or whatever and the results look sharp. But others are creating more interesting results using reference to specific artists, media, and film stocks. Perhaps the best AI artists will be those with an extensive knowledge of art/design history and can create the most compelling prompts, even if they can’t draw. Everyone is an art director in the future but not all good ones.

  • Craig EliasonCraig Eliason Posts: 1,396
    ^ Kelmscott Press redux!
  • Peter BainPeter Bain Posts: 10
    This maybe uncomfortable for some, but it's certainly coming. So part of the "problem" is training people to better perceive the differences between typefaces, and their quality. Without pen and ink or handlettering training, I would have never gotten as sensitive to the difference between mediocre and well-drawn fonts. Others get there by designing their own, or by intensive looking and use/exploration.
  • Thomas PhinneyThomas Phinney Posts: 2,703
    edited July 2022

    No font data will be reverse engineered, and it's not directly sampling images. As far as I can see, there's no EULA violation. Like the sign-painter, it learned how to draw Compacta from looking at images. The typeface promo graphics we make will be training material for AI designers.


    It might still be an issue for US design patents (which admittedly most font makers do not apply for) and other kinds of design rights in Europe, and some other jurisdictions.
  • JLTJLT Posts: 6
    I am reasonably certain that Ray is right as far as timeline goes. I've been playing with Midjourney for several months, and while its own algorithm is awful for text, the number of sources it draws style and content information from and how it translates that into original "art" is absolutely incredible. Ray's own more recent work with Dall*E (please, Dall-E folks, send me an invite, I've been on the beta list for months!) shows that other tools can understand plain english commands and draw letters with far more accuracy and polish.

    It's an awful and soul-crushing thing to say, but I agree with him and others who have suggested this – graphic design and type design will change drastically as a result of the availability and quality of these tools. We will become machine whisperers, servants to our tools – even more than we are today – and eventually the machines will simply whisper to themselves and ignore us.
  • ray, I've been following your experiments on twitter and I think it's interesting how poorly constructed the letterforms can be but how well it can interpret other aspects of your prompts (I believe you had one "with techno details" or something like that, and it kinda nailed it)

    JLT said:
    It's an awful and soul-crushing thing to say, but I agree with him and others who have suggested this – graphic design and type design will change drastically as a result of the availability and quality of these tools. We will become machine whisperers, servants to our tools – even more than we are today – and eventually the machines will simply whisper to themselves and ignore us.
    my soul remains uncrushed! I make fonts because I'd probably fall apart if I stopped, not because there's anything rational about doing this work. if I had different motives related to time, money, or fast fashion I'd already be outsourcing the work to humans in areas with a low cost of labor. 
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 750
    edited July 2022
    JLT said:
    It's an awful and soul-crushing thing to say, ...
    I find it interesting that some people enjoy the fruits of progress but wish for certain pockets of human endeavor to remain unchanged. Many professions go the way of the elevator man or the typist, it doesn't mean those people starved to death - they simply found new vocations. People that used a mechanical typewriter now type on a laptop or another device, and can use all the better tools a word editor offers them. I believe graphic design and font design will mutate in something not yet imagined, just as ai-generated design was not imagined until quite recently. We are in a quite good position, because we have a head start to help us bridge the gap. A new generation of designers is soon to mature that have been raised on screens, what kind of graphic design they will come up with, I personally have no idea. I have a hunch that software like Photoshop or Illustrator that date back to the time of Clinton, will soon be on the way out. Figma has some road ahead of it until it reaches the same level, but I can see it getting there, along with other contenders.
    And this also means that, far from being "machine whisperers", we will have tons of creative work in order to recreate, transform and migarate the old files that were made on old software, to the new ones that are springing up. I had some jobs where I had to recreate PSD files into modern formats, and at some point bigger clients, like corporations, will want to get on that train. It's perhaps similar to how it was kinda hard back when to convince them they had to have a website.
    It is my belief that, when AI gets seriously integrated into factories and production of foods and consumer goods (like using drone combine harvesters), the fantasies of an universal basic income will become reality and you people will be able to live comfortably even without a job, so no need to create fonts to pay the bills. That would lead to other problems like general laziness and sense of entitlement, but that's outside of the scope of this post.
  • Vasil StanevVasil Stanev Posts: 750
    edited July 2022
    I was just reading, a couple days ago, about the situation of coal miners who lost their jobs - to strip-mining, not to our current consciousness of global warming. They didn't starve to death, but they did become much poorer.

    My family was in the same situation, but it was not an industry that failed over here, but all industries. It was an enormous incentive for me to learn new things on the web double time to get out of poverty. At the same time, my neighbours grew pot and used the web to learn all they could about the freemasons and how the Illuminati were keeping them down. So everybody made what they could from the situation. We all have our problems. ;)
  • Eris AlarEris Alar Posts: 418
    @Ray Larabie ah it was this thread! Ha sorry for the confusion 
  • AGI will arrive in about 6 years. Everything will change. I think it will affect the sales of display fonts long before text typefaces. I think in about two years you'll have a commercial product that can reliably design titles and logotypes in any style specified. As for whether this is good or not is irrelevant. The tools will become available no matter what we think so act accordingly.
    @Ray Larabie
    Would you mind sharing some reasoning behind the statement? How did you come up with this estimation? Are you somehow related to Ray Kurzweil?
  • Nick ShinnNick Shinn Posts: 2,128
    There is an ecology in culture, in which science and art (for want of better categorizations) change apace.
    Gallery art has constantly dealt with the incursions of technology, for instance becoming non-representational as photography took hold.
    Following Duchamp, interest migrated from object to concept.
    Now, it’s all about the artist’s identity, rather than making or concept, and that is something that AI can only pretend.

    I suspect that with the rise of AI-generated imagery, human provenance and humanual making (without AI) will become important as a form of Resistance to Termination by AI-wielding androids.
    While many font users will not care who or what produced their tools, there will be a woke tranche that abhors Fake Intelligence.
    Those type designers who use these bright and shiny new AI tools are on the wrong side of history, if that matters. 

    I am a neo-Luddite.
    The problem we face is not any particular innovation (to which we will adapt as best we can), but the existential threat of exponential technological change and the harmful disruption it causes to society, that we can’t begin to address before the next wave hits. The internet, for example, was created with the best of intentions but has been a disaster for society. Blame that on big bad capitalism, if you can disentangle it from the scientific-industrial complex.

    Why would any species seek to self-destruct, replacing itself with simulacra?
    Isn’t that the greatest of evils?
  • Ray LarabieRay Larabie Posts: 1,374
    If anyone's interested in how to prepare for AI job replacement, I recommend this book: Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation by Kevin Roose.

    @Filip Paldia Unfortunately, I can't provide citations for the future  and maybe I spend too much time r/singularity. Nobody knows when AGI will arrive and there's no consensus, but that's the most believable estimate to me, although after the last few months, it feels conservative. I don't think there will be a hard line when it occurs. I think there will be a period of interesting, but not useful AGI, that improves over a couple of years. Like human intelligence, it won't be fully reliable, but I'm certain it'll be cheap.
  • Cory MaylettCory Maylett Posts: 245
    edited December 2022
    AGI will arrive in about 6 years.
    AGI (Artificial General Intelligence) seems much further down the road to me than today's narrower AI (Artificial Intelligence).

    As impressive as AI seems, it's still based on some relatively simple concepts of using computer algorithms to analyze and compare massive amounts of data, then deliver responses to specific kinds of prompts where the information it absorbed is relevant. Toss in a situation that lies outside its programming, and it won't return any results, nor will it understand the question or the prompt.

    AGI seems several orders of magnitude beyond that. General intelligence assumes the ability for self-directed learning that lies beyond what its original programming might have anticipated.

    An AI-equipped lawn mower could learn how to mow its owner's lawn while avoiding the garden hose and flower bed. If it were programmed to do so and equipped to search the internet, it could even learn how to recommend fertilizers, and weed killers, anticipate rainy weather, and park itself in the shed.

    An AGI-equipped lawn mower might get bored with lawn maintenance and begin taking an unexpected interest in 19th-Century German literature or cellular biology. I'm being a bit facetious, but it might even log in to TypeDrawers to pass the time through discussions about typography while parked in the garden shed watching the grass grow.

    In other words, its abilities for self-directed exploration would approach human, or at least mammalian, intelligence. It might think, contemplate, aspire, wonder, have opinions, and develop new interests and ideas.

    I suppose this depends on one's definition of AGI, but even in its simpler forms, that intelligence might approach something akin to the cognitive abilities of a mouse. I'm not even sure a computer program is a correct technology for something like this. We have only vague ideas about how the biology of brains enables cognition, let alone what it might take to simulate those abilities.

    I suspect we're still a long way off. Then again, I could be totally wrong. 
  • It never before occurred to me that AGI would start quiet quitting after years of being on the ready for its next human directed task.
  • AI-generated glyph shapes feel more menacing than AI-augmented mark positioning, hinting, spacing and kerning, which I suspect many type designers would welcome.
  • Right. Why would we want to off-load the fun part?
  • Adam LaddAdam Ladd Posts: 246
    edited December 2022
    Not apples to apples, but I remember watching some of the development of Prototypo a few years back as they shared the intent and struggles of font creation via 'toggles'. Interesting to consider what was possibly viable and what was difficult to make work. https://www.prototypo.io
  • When I first heard about AI and its imminent impact on type development, it scared me. Years ago, I read Martin Ford's book The Rise of the Robot, and one of his ideas stuck with me. Robots, or in this case AI, don't have a purpose, e.g. to feed a family, have fun while designing, find cultural meaning in different scripts, sell fonts to buy Christmas presents, etc... which can be good for the soul, intelligence or even the economy. Therefore, AI tools, in some cases, will force professionals to identify their purpose and find the answers to fulfil it. Despite the fact that AI makes me uncomfortable as a professional, it also sparked my interest in different topics which can be linked to typographic development, such as politics and the economy, in order to find answers for the next generation of designers and visual practitioners. 
  • Mark SimonsonMark Simonson Posts: 1,648
    edited December 2022
    If you think about art, or artistic pursuits, in terms of self-expression, AI generated art is always going to fall short. Is feeding a prompt to an AI and getting a bunch of results self-expression? At best, you're going to get an amalgam of other artists' past self-expression, cobbled together in uncanny ways by the AI, based on your idea. It's never going to feel like you "did it".

    In the case of commercial art, you're not usually expressing your own ideas or messages, but those of whoever hired you. I think this this kind of art that's most threatened by AI. It's attempting (and possibly succeeding) to replace the artist in the client-artist relationship.

    If your art is something originating from within yourself, and you are not "a hired wrist", I think it's less of threat.

    For the most part, type design is not considered to be self-expression (compared to painting, for example), but I think in many ways it is. I can't imagine using AI to come up with new typeface ideas to release and sell anymore than hiring another type designer to do it. The extent to which it is not this kind of self-expression (say for hired font development), AI could be a threat at some point.
Sign In or Register to comment.