Generative AI as a Catalyst for Artistic Innovation

November 14, 2023

Using generative AI in our workflow has been like expanding our team with an internet's worth of brains and perspectives. Synthetic media often makes unexpected and unorthodox connections between ideas and concepts – we’ve all seen the hilarious AI-generated images in our social media feeds. But, in terms of the creative process, that oddball element can actually be a very good thing. As artists and designers, we have long been accustomed to working within established parameters and making deliberate decisions guided by artistic canon. Generative AI, in all its audacious and sometimes illogical glory, offers fabulously outside the box perspectives that can help us question and re-examine our tried-and-true creative instincts.

Preserving the Role of Human Creativity

The initial wave of generative AI's introduction was marked by a tsunami of hype where AI was granted full autonomy over the creative process, as everyone was enthralled with what the models could create with the simplest of prompts. However, this euphoria has given way to a more pragmatic approach, as developers have come to realize the need for operationalizing these tools for broader, collaborative use. This shift underscores the importance of maintaining a delicate balance between AI-driven innovation and a mindfulness of its existence within a larger human creative process that could greatly expand its use and adoption.

Saving Time and Brain Power

One standout example is Clipdrop’s toolset, which has demonstrated practical utility in tasks such as background replacement, upscaling low-resolution images and retouching photography. A notable highlight is the Relight tool, capable of analyzing facial photographs, overlaying a luminance-based three-dimensional model and subsequently adjusting lighting conditions with remarkable efficiency. Such tasks, which once demanded hours of meticulous manual labor, can now be achieved with a single click, oftentimes shifting the calculus on time and budget parameters for creative projects. While we don't use anything Clipdrop creates as a final product for our clients, it really frees up time and expands our minds as we brainstorm new concepts and treatments.

What truly excites us are the toolsets that empower creatives, amplifying our innate talents and imaginative capacities. We will always retain a hands-on role in the creative process, as the essence of our artistic projects lies in the decisions we make. The most compelling AI tools are those that expand our horizons, enabling us to explore uncharted territories. They should act as catalysts, propelling us towards unimagined possibilities rather than confining us to formulaic, automated outputs.

Being Cautious as the Landscape Evolves

There are challenges translating current generative AI outputs into final client-ready deliverables – which is a key reason why we think of it as a brainstorming tool and not a final product tool. Concerns regarding copyright and ownership have loomed large, tempering our enthusiasm for incorporating these AI-generated elements into our work. Nevertheless, the landscape is evolving rapidly, and the tools are maturing to address these concerns.

Generative AI has proven itself to be a catalyst for transforming the creative landscape. However, the true essence of AI in creativity lies in its role as an enhancer, augmenting human creativity rather than replacing it. As artists and designers, we eagerly embrace AI's potential to expand our creative horizons, all while keeping our place as the driving force behind everything we create.