In brief: There’s a lot of hate directed at AI-generated art, but the software still has the ability to create impressive pieces. Redditor Ugleh has been gaining a lot of positive feedback for the spiral-shaped medieval village he created recently, which does look pretty amazing.
Ugleh’s post of the optical illusion-like village has gained almost 4,000 upvotes and plenty of praise from users. It was created using the popular Stable Diffusion program, which you can learn all about here.
“Awesome! Looks like a job done by a professional!” wrote one commenter. “That’s really cool. Like, something I would actually put up on my wall cool,” said another.
Ars Technica, which highlighted the art, notes that Ugleh’s follow-up posts gained even more positive feedback, including one on X that attracted almost 7 million views and 168,200+ Likes. This one is another medieval village, though its geometric properties embrace squares rather than circles.
I need this on my wall pic.twitter.com/11qcEA2Rzg
– gaut (@0xgaut) September 14, 2023
The highest praise for Ugleh’s work came from Y-Combinator co-founder and social media tech commentator Paul Graham, who used the following colorful metaphor: “This was the point where AI-generated art passed the Turing Test for me.”
Not every comment on Ugleh’s work is positive. Being AI-generated, some have pointed out details like the shadows not matching up with the buildings or the people, and some of the chimneys are in the wrong place. There are also a few other tell-tale signs of the images being machine-generated.
The important element of Ugleh’s work is the use of ControlNet, a neural network model for controlling Stable Diffusion models by adding extra conditions – from a source image – for guidance. Ugleh used images of spirals and checkerboards for his generations (below). You can read more about ControlNet, including a step-by-step guide, on this site.
There’s a lot of controversy surrounding AI art. You just have to look at the D&D artist who faced a barrage of criticism last month for using AI to aid with some images in an upcoming sourcebook. There was also an outcry over the same technique being used for the Secret Invasion intro, and Myst’s developers were slammed for using AI-generated content in their latest game.
A hot-topic issue surrounding generative AI appeared to have been settled recently when a judge ruled that artwork created by the technology cannot be copyrighted. Ugleh has been inundated with offers to turn his images into NFTs, but he says he does not plan on making money from his latest creations and is not giving any interviews. “I am just a normal tech-savvy AI nerd who experimented with a new ControlNet technique,” he said.