Monday, March 8, 2021

Artbreeder is a website with an artificial intelligence that produces better and faster art than I ever could.

I'm a bit late to the game, but early last week I made a new account on a website called "artbreeder," and I started manipulating photographs of people I uploaded onto the internet. You get up to three a month (if I understand the terms correctly), and if you want more than that...well, you can pay a monthly subscription and it allows you to work on hundreds. I think it also speeds up the time your "seed" image takes to upload to the site. Mine usually take a few hours. So, I usually would just upload something before bed. When I woke up in the morning, I was able to play around with it as much as I liked.

Artbreeder's results are startlingly good. I'm also shocked at how quickly I can make an image of a fictional person that doesn't even resemble the original seed. In the manipulation of the photos, you have sliders. Just to name a few, there is gender, hair color, eye color, width, yaw, and pitch. These last two...the ones called "yaw" and "pitch," actually blew my mind. "Yaw" allows you to turn a person in a photograph in real time. And I can't tell that the original photo wasn't turned that way. To explain it further, let's say a person is staring off to the left in a photo, and you want to see what they look like straight on. You can do that by adjust the "yaw" slider. They turn right in front of your eyes until they are straight on and staring at you in the picture.

"Pitch" does the same thing, only it raises and lowers the head. Too much pitch in one direction will have your photo staring at the sky. The other way has them looking at the ground. There are sliders for the shape of the eyes, for changing the emotion, for making a person smile in a photo or frown or just like like they are holding back on something. Here's some samples of what you can do in this weird (and free) program and by the way, none of these people exist in real life to my knowledge:

Once the photo is uploaded, it takes about five minutes to make each one of these. You can also make them on your smartphone if you are commuting to work on the train and just want to kill time. The website has sliders you can just manipulate with your finger.

You can do other kinds of art on artbreeder too. The one above was done under the "portraits" heading. But you can do landscapes, science fiction, and you can combine pictures with just a slider. You don't need photoshop or anything similar. The program just does it for you.

Can you imagine how long it would take to do concept paintings for the characters above? I guarantee it wouldn't happen in five minutes using the "old school" techniques that I learned in art classes. I just wonder what this means for artists. Have they now been replaced by a robot? If you can create photo-realistic images of characters in five minutes going to are artists going to compete with that?

Anyway, disastrous societal implications aside...if you have not checked out artbreeder, I encourage you to do so. Here's the link. Let me know if it blows your mind in the same way mine was blown.


  1. It's better than The Sims like I usually use to make people

  2. Wow, that looks like fun. I doubt artists will be replaced, though. There's only so much one can do with photo manipulation. At some point, one really does need an artist to start from scratch.