The increasing sophistication and ease of use of AI art generators has sparked a lot of debate online recently. The ethical issues surrounding copyright and accreditation are enormous. Users experimenting with programs like DALL-E, Midjourney, and the Free AI Art Generator are arguing over a myriad of issues related to creative ownership and license, even the question of whether a particularly effective AI art message could be copyrighted. author, even if the resulting art may not be
But above all, artists have raised considerable questions about the theft of their work to “train” AI art generators to produce works in a particular style. Most of these programs work by learning from the styles of the images they have received. So if they ingest an artist’s distinctive work, that work eventually begins to seep into the show’s new “original” creations. But if an artist’s style is digested into a free bot that can regurgitate and iterate on it in seconds, how is that artist supposed to make a living?
A current AI art trend on social media highlights exactly what artists are concerned about: Users have been feeding AI artbots the names of familiar movies and TV shows, adding “Wes Anderson-esque” .
Anderson (the director of The Grand Budapest Hotel, Moonrise Kingdom, Fantastic Mr. Fox, isle of dogs, Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, rushmore, and more) is an incredibly distinct visual stylist, and has been a prime target for “in the style of” pastiches for years, long before AI artbots were all the rage. Most moviegoers immediately recognize his distinctive look, centered around extremely elaborate and precise set design and production, usually rendered in muted earth tones and pale pastels. He has many familiar touchstones for comedians trying to imitate him: the use of chapter titles and other on-screen text, a love of elaborate still frames, characters with minimal emotional affect, and a clipped, precise manner of speaking.
On YouTube, creators have been re-editing movies and trailers in satirical versions of Anderson’s work for years, especially after the popularity of The Grand Budapest Hotel. They usually lean into the absurdity of, say, a horror or action movie rendered with its deadpan intensity and precision. Whenever the Wes Anderson imitation crosses over to a new medium, it often begins with a Stanley Kubrick cover. the glow – probably in echo of the grandfather of the clipped YouTube trailers, which represent the glow Like a feel-good romantic comedy.
This latest Twitter trend wasn’t even AI artbot’s first attempt to carry its style over to other movies: there’s similar tweets dating back to at least 2020. But Sparkly cheep it unleashed a new avalanche of other Anderson pastiches. Some were created in response to the Sparkly Art. Others, created earlier, are being retweeted in the thread by users who have had similar ideas and want to share their convergent evolution.
This flurry of new “Wes Anderson-style movie” tweets is a perfect showcase of why artists and creators in particular are concerned about AI-generated art, visual and otherwise. No artbot will truly replace Wes Anderson – his work comes from a distinctive voice and artistic mindset. Individual stills are not going to replace full movies, and Anderson’s films are much more than just visual images.
And all these AI images are funny, ironic in a way: a parody of her style and a form of creative expression, akin to fantasy casting. The images showcase the creativity of the creators, who are increasingly exploring what kinds of projects the writer-director’s style can be applied to.
But still, it’s easy to look at the images above and see how easily AI art generators can devalue an individual artist’s style and voice, making endless creative variations readily available at the push of a button. After a while, the joke gets a bit repetitive. All the pictures start to look a bit alike. All of the signature styles that Anderson has been refining for over 25 years can be boiled down to a single repetitive joke, to the point where his own actual stills from the film may not stand out much in the mix.
Not that we should be alarmist about a simple viral trend on social media. If anything, Wes Anderson’s artbot craze is a useful test for artists trying to get programmers to build active protections for your skins and styles in AI bots. It’s a useful way to look at the legal and creative issues ahead, by showing just how sophisticated and elaborate the art of AI mimicry has become. Future AI bots can guard against exactly this kind of specific stylistic imitation. So enjoy your Wes Anderson Star Wars while you have it, just in case. And don’t forget that AI pastiche isn’t just about crossing a familiar movie with a familiar style: it can come up with new movie ideas, too.
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