tiger imitation

Artists Dominating AI Art Generation Not Happy About Their Popularity

Animal photographer, Tim Flach, and Polish digital artist Greg Rutkowski have recently been made more and more popular in the AI art world as users have been making prompts with their name to generate copycat works; their popularity has skyrocketed but neither of them are happy about it. 

These artists oppose AI art generators on the grounds that the technology “scrapes” their work without permission in order to create sophisticated images.

Tim Flach, the president of the Association of Photographers and a world-renowned animal photographer, is among those who feel ripped off and claims that artificial intelligence can easily imitate the manner of his photographs.

“In the case of my tiger I have to put a lot of resources in there – I have to be in there with the tiger,” he said. “The machine doesn’t have to do that.

He added: “For us in terms of livelihood, will there be legal frameworks that will allow us to invest creatively going forward?”

Tim Flach

Trade associations are demanding immediate regulation.

The Association of Photographers’ chief executive officer, Isabelle Doran, told Sky News: “These enormous datasets were compiled from images that were collected without permission, so the photographers’ work must be compensated…

I believe that creators should be compensated for their contributions to these databases.”

The government is currently preparing an AI Code of Practice, but this will initially be voluntary.

“But also the fact that at the moment these images are being generated by scraping our images, taking them off our websites, but there’s no remuneration there.”

Rutkowski is a Polish digital artist who employs traditional painting techniques to create fantastical dreamscapes. He has created illustrations for games including Horizon: Forbidden West by Sony, Anno by Ubisoft, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering. Moreover, he has become an overnight sensation in the new world of text-to-image AI generation.

The new open-source AI art generator Stable Diffusion, which was released at the end of last month, now uses his distinctive style as one of its most popular prompts. Together with other popular AI image-generation models, the tool enables anyone to generate remarkable images based on text input. For instance, if you enter “Wizard with sword and a glowing orb of magic fire fighting a fierce dragon Greg Rutkowski,” the system will generate something that resembles Rutkowski’s manner.

Rutkowski was initially startled, but he believed it could be an effective strategy for reaching new audiences. Then, he searched for his name to determine if any of his work had been published.The online search returned results with his name affixed to work that was not his.

“It’s only been a month. How about next year?

“I probably won’t be able to locate my work on the internet because it will be inundated with AI art,” Rutkowski says.

Greg Rutkowski

That is troubling.

Some artists recognise AI’s creative potential.

Mat Collishaw will launch a new technology exhibition in London the following week.

He told Sky News, “When photography was invented 150 or so years ago, for the first 50 years most photography was merely an imitation of painting… it took photographers a long time to realise, ‘Hey, we can do this, we can go down here’… and I suppose it’s the same with every new generation of technology.

“It takes time for people to learn how to utilise this new tool to its full potential.”

Matt Collinshaw

However, where some see merely a new artistic instrument, others see the beginnings of a deeper, more concerning shift.

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