I’m really excited to share this with you! I’ve taken a BIG step forward in using AI for visualizing my cyberpunk novel MESH in the past couple days. Let me tell you the story while you take a look through this gallery of new concept art.
When I first started writing Mesh, I had a very clear idea of what the world looked like in my head. Translating that into words is one thing, but I know people will need to see the world in order to connect with it on a larger scale. That’s why I started working early on concept art with my limited graphic design skills.
But guess what? I’m not an artist. It’s been a major pain point for me that I couldn’t draw well enough to make the art of Mesh. Up until a few days ago, I was under the impression that I’d need thousands of dollars to commission basic concept art for Mesh. But, not any more.
MidJourney is a new AI-powered tool that can turn any textual description into impressive artwork. Using a simple Discord server, you can type in any prompt and the AI will attempt to draw what it thinks you mean. I was hooked in an instant.
Over the past couple of days, I’ve plugged passages from Mesh into Midjourney and received some beautiful, evocative results. As a person with a vibrant imagination but bargain-basement art talent, Midjourney’s AI-driven concept art represents a game-changer for me. Now I can help visualize the vibrant, psychedelic-cyberpunk world of Mesh in a simple, collaborative way.
But making concept art with an AI is a lot easier said than done! It’s not a simple matter of telling MidJourney: ‘Make me a vibrant cyberpunk scene.’ Conversational AI uses various technologies such as Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), Natural Language Processing (NLP), Advanced Dialog management, and Machine Learning (ML) to understand, react and learn from every interaction. You quickly find out that the machine doesn’t ‘get’ you as easily as people do.
That means that there’s a lot of trial and error when I use an AI in visualizing my cyberpunk novel! Hours and hours, if I’m not careful, chasing down rabbit holes of upscaling pictures and asking myself ‘is this what I had in mind?’ Sturgeon’s law (or Sturgeon’s revelation) is an adage stating “ninety-percent of everything is crud” absolutely applies to the business of using an IT to visualize your science fiction world. But when you get it right, the results can be positively remarkable.
Of course, MidJourney cannot replace the talents of a concept artist with years of experience. Whatever I get out of MidJourney still smacks of the same uncanny valley that AI-driven stories possess. As you upscale the pictures with MidJourney, many of its pieces take on a Maxfield Parrish-meets-Salvador Dali-meets-HR-Giger – too much detail that adds nothing to the meaning. It comes back to what I’ve said before: AI art connect with your emotions as much as human art can.
So, of course I’d love to work with a human artist to create Mesh concept art. Until I have the budget and support of a publishing company, I need all the help I can get. The benefit of the current state of these AI-driven concept art pieces is that they get me closer to the point where an agent or a publisher goes “Yes, let’s get this funded and budgeted.” I’ll never be able to do that on my own!
I hope you enjoy these pieces and if you’d like to learn more about Mesh, come check out the Mesh Portal Page here. Have a great Tuesday!