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Why Writing for AI Artists Is More than “Drawing with Words”



How should people in advertising best make use of AI creative tools? We asked experts –both human and AI – from Momentum Worldwide, Media.Monks, BETC Fullsix, Serviceplan Group Middle East and 10 Days

Why Writing for AI Artists Is More than “Drawing with Words”

With the internet awash with people’s experiments with AI artists like Dall-E 2 and Midjourney, it seems inevitable that these tools will play a role in the creative process. But getting what you need out of them requires an understanding of how to write the right prompt. What sort of skills will be most relevant in this process? Many in the creative industries have now had a chance to start playing around with these tools. So we wondered if their use feels more like an art director job (understanding visual styles, references etc.) or a copywriter job (using precise language that the AI responds well to)? In the future, what is the perfect blend of human and AI expertise for the creative process? We asked some experts – both human and AI – for their advice around how to get the best out of these tools and tips for approaching prompt writing.

Kenneth Barnes

Senior art director
Serviceplan Group Middle East
I am blown away by how AI-generated art has evolved from Google’s DeepDream project to raw python coding for AI-generated art. It now takes shape through text prompts, or words that simply direct an AI through Midjourney or DALL·E to make art using the neural network.
So what’s the right prompt? And who can do this better? Copywriters, art directors, filmmakers? Well it’s all in the prompt search, and I can see a new form of prompt writers emerging to direct the AI. It is literally like art and film directing – you don’t light it, you don’t act it, but you can prompt your creatives in a direction to interpret and return a translation of what you want to express.
Short prompts are like magic spells. These spells can be experimental, surprising, or controlled by you through practice and knowledge. Most great prompters, like the filmmaker Olaf Blomerus, use a mix of popular artist style + situation/event + colour palettes + aspect ratios to get controlled, inspiring art. I can also see people mixing and stealing prompt lines or “prompt formulas.”
AI art is magical - a new process to embrace for concept art as great potential starting points for the more finished art. Just don’t write poems in the captions below your AI generated art. Show me the damn prompt.
My AI generated page:

Tai Smith 
Director of creative technology 
Momentum Worldwide 

The newfound accessibility of products such as OpenAI’s DALL·E 2, Google’s Imagen and Midjourney offer an unprecedented opportunity for human and AI creative partnerships.  These AIs are trained on hundreds of millions of captioned images and can output unique visualisations seeded in response to a few words provided by you. 
A strong prompt should have a mixture of clearly defined components yet allow room for unexpected interpretation by the AI. It is more a process of discovery as opposed to definition. There is a significant distinction between visualising something that has never existed and simply “drawing with words”. The process should feel conversational – the resulting image is the AI replying to you. Crafting the right prompt is often an iterative process. 
Consider how you might describe an image to someone over the phone. What are the components you would call out to convey a likeness? Depending on how prescriptive you would like to be, you could include the medium, framing, props, lighting, style, proximity, texture and emotion / feeling as well as any artistic or cultural references. 

There is no doubt that these technologies will have a profound effect on the creative process (previously, a uniquely human endeavour). What happens when these AI’s train  themselves on their own generated output? I'm interested to see them connected to real-time data sources (imagine the images generated as you read a book or listen to music). How will our language evolve as we begin to have deeper conversations with AI? 

Above: Image created with the prompt “3D render of a robot and human painting”


(This text was co-written by AI)

With the rise of text and image generation tools, we see the need for a skillset that goes beyond those of traditional copywriters or art directors.

Ideally you generate something, make variations on your favourite and then upload it again and let AI edit the fine details. Understanding which prompts to use to create a great starting image (which style, references, type of camera, shot, etcetera) is step one. Step two is then understanding how the model works and how to tweak the parameters in such a way to get the desired outcome.

Generative art tools shine when you work iteratively and understand the potential of the technology but can apply it creatively. Currently that would fit more into the job role of a creative technologist, who understands what a given parameter means and what its value does. Understanding of the model and the tools means you can push its limits. However, we’re sure it’ll become part of the skillset of everyone involved in the creative process.

It is a matter of time before we can do the same with 3D modelling, music, architecture, even marketing plans and any other process that involves a creative production.

Above: An AI-written text that was considered to be included in a marketing plan


Jeremy Treccani

Art director
BETC Fullsix 
When writing prompts for AI creative tools, the most important skill is to learn how to "talk" with the AI, to be able to understand how it interprets what you type, whether you ask a point of view, a camera angle, a particular artist. Just like when writing copy, a comma can change everything.
From my interactions with it, it feels like the tool is not better suited for any role in particular. Anyone can use it (copywriter, art director, planner, account person, producer...), but depending on your role, you might not use it in the same way.
Here are my tips to make the most of AI tools: Try the first thing that pops up in your head. Then try again.
But to start using it seriously, I suggest you should rely on a prompt builder. It's a tool with a better interface that helps you interact with the AI and get a comprehensive list of options (artists, angles, colours, patterns)
And if you want to become an expert, you should explore message boards such as Reddit or Discord to check what others have done and to study what prompts they have used. Knowing how to use it makes the whole difference in the outcome.
Depending on who uses the tool, it will have a different use in the future. Some people will use it to come up with precise things that they have in their head, whereas others will want to be surprised by the visuals that the AI will generate.
Above: victorian photo of batman
Above: giant fish floating in a Baroque hall, aquatic atmosphere, pastel colors, symmetric, divine intricate geometry, ouroboros, insanely detailed and intricate, atmosphere, dramatic lighting, epic composition, close up, low angle, wide angle, Miyazaki, Nausicaa Ghibli ,hypermaximalist, elegant, ornate, luxury, elite, ominous, haunting, matte painting, cinematic, cgsociety, John singer Sargent, realistic, trending on artstation :: computerized insanely long staircases and deep passages, mystical, pastel colors, wide angle shot, muted colors, detailed and intricate, golden ratio, hypermaximalist, elegant, ornate, luxury, elite, ominous, haunting, matte painting, cinematic, Miyazaki, by marc simonetti and studio ghibli, 8k render :: giant fish, cinematographic, by Wes Anderson, wide angle shot, Majestic Baroque halls, 1970s, Grand Japanese temple, futuristic, volumetric light, intricate detail, hyperreal, hyperrealistic, 8K, Octane render, unreal engine cinematic, sublime atmosphere --no blur, soft focus --no people --uplight --ar 9:16

10 Days

Thank you for asking us for some words. But the only fair way to answer your questions is to hand the mic over to our resident AI. The following is entirely written by our ‘Ad Intelligence’ tool:

“In my opinion, the most relevant skill for writing prompts for AI artists is understanding how to write unambiguous instructions. AI artists are still limited in their ability to interpret natural language, so the more specific and direct the prompt, the better. That said, it is also important to have a good understanding of visual styles and references, as this can help the AI artist generate better results. 

I think the ideal blend of skills for writing prompts for AI artists is a mix of both art direction and copywriting. Art directors need to be able to understand the visual style that the AI artist is trying to emulate, and copywriters need to be able to write precise instructions that the AI artist can understand. So yes, AI will be coming for your job in the creative advertising industry. But don't worry, you'll always have a place in our hearts.”
Before you ask, entirely means entirely! Further assets created by our Ad Intelligence tool here.

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LBB Editorial, Wed, 10 Aug 2022 13:49:59 GMT