We make tools, the tools make us

Actor Lewin Lloyd in Hid Dark Materials on the left, quick Midjourney v4 prompt on right

We just finished watching the first season of His dark materials – a great show based on a great adventure book – and I was struck of how the look reminded me of the moods created by some of the Midjourney prompts. And this feels new. The newness isn’t that an AI generated something in the style of a particular artist – the lawsuits for infringement have just begun – but that many scenes looked like part of the “prompt space.” My thought wasn’t that “ah, this looks like this artist/director,” but “ah, this looks like that bunch of stuff I’ve seen on Midjourney.”

Lewin Lloyd left, one minute Midjourney prompt right

This is unfair since HDM came our before Midjourney was a thing, but we’ll get more and more of this, and it will force artists not only to find something which is outside of the AI:s wheelhouse, but it will also force artists to work in secrecy to preempt trends. Imagine that you’re a director for a movie where you have a modicum of visual ambition, and you’d like to woo your audience with your cinematics. You might want to keep photos of your set & costumes a secret as long as possible, so that your superfans don’t swamp the net with AI generated fan-art. Otherwise, once your movie comes out, the look will feel old and overdone.

Of course, if you’re not relying on original visuals, this will play into part of your marketing instead; You can hold competitions for imagined scenes, most sexy action poses, or whatever. Regardless, there’s a whole new world of creative and business practices knocking on many doors, and they’re not knocking politely.