AI Art As Writing Prompts

So, I generated this image using MidJourney.

(Created by me using MidJourney)

That image is at least as good as many I have seen in ttRPG gear books, and would make a great tripod security robot, or battle armor for a 3-legged species, or mecha for someone who pilots it from a chest cockpit.

But none of those things were what I was going for. Moreover, at least at current iterations, AI image generators can’t give me that same figure mixed with others, or in a different position, or holding a different gun. If I want any of that, I am much better off paying a living artist. So I expect living artists to be a crucial part of my business needs for the foreseeable future.

Right now, I’d say 80% of the useable art I get isn’t exactly what I asked for, or is background without characters. Other people are doing better, but I can only analyze where I am.

Which means a lot of these images end up being writing prompts if I want to use them in a commercial product. I have the skill to do that, and in one sense it meets my needs — if I set out to create a product I can generate images to build the game material or fiction off of until i have all I need, then write to the images. But I can also already do that with stock art. The upside of stock art is that it’s often easier to get things in the same system, there is an original artist I can go to commission variations if I end up needing them, and a copyright definitely exists (though not, for example, for public domain stock art). The advantages of the AI prompt are that it won’t have been overused before I release my product with it, and it may be cheaper. But it also may not be subject to copyright (see my last article on this subject), which would mean once it was out, anyone could reuse it. Again, much like stock art.

And, of course, I could use the AI generated images as writing prompts, then pay an artist to create new images using the AI image as a reference, which is going to have a mix of pros and cons that won’t be clear until case law is better settled, but it certainly less risky than pure AI images.

If I decide to use AI images for commercial products, I strongly suspect they’ll mostly end up being used for the same sorts of purposes as stock and public domain art. I haven’t taken that plunge yet, and may never do so, but I can see how these would become one more tool. I can’t see how they could replace all the artists I regularly give money to, even if I wanted to do so.

(This is an editorial. No part of this article is covered by the OGL.)

Speaking Of Money…

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About okcstephens

Owen K.C. Stephens Owen Kirker Clifford Stephens is the Starfinder Design Lead for Paizo Publishing, the Freeport and Pathfinder RPG developer for Green Ronin, a developer for Rite Publishing, and the publisher and lead genius of Rogue Genius Games. Owen has written game material for numerous other companies, including Wizards of the Coast, Kobold Press, White Wolf, Steve Jackson Games and Upper Deck. He also consults, freelances, and in the off season, sleeps.

Posted on August 24, 2022, in Business of Games, Musings and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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