Saturday, December 9, 2023

How I make them


Among the questions I receive regarding the pictures I make of library workers with their spirit animals, the most common, by far, is how do I do it.

And nothing kills the mood, nothing shatters the real wonder of it all, nothing destroys people's interest or fascination faster, or more completely, than simply... answering.

"Oh." People respond flatly to my answer with a quality that evokes, to use a seasonal analogy of a slightly cloying kind, someone having been informed there is no Santa Claus.

And if in that explanation I mention AI, which I do actually use plenty of in my work, the disappointment in the death of magic and the shattering of dreams is, if possible, even more profound.

But before I explain something really important to me about how I use AI, something that hopefully will be less devastating to your appreciation, let me show you a series of pictures I worked on today of a temporary Library Associate whose name is Sahra (I'm not sure how her name is spelled). Her chosen animal is the cheetah, which was a choice somewhat suggested by her very clothing. 

This trio at this point could maybe be considered finalists. As happens a little too often, my source pictures were insufficient here and so there are a lot of repetitions in them.

So anyway, here is the thing about AI:

I think people hear about it and think it is some kind of magical shortcut cheat. Because most news, marketing, and even critics either lie about AI, do not really understand the limits of its capability, or, most of all, don't understand that much about it as a creative tool.

 Yes, AI is a kind of magical shortcut cheat. But, and this is important, it is even more like when you have a complicated, shitty problem with some large company and you call and talk to their AI computer phone system.

If you can make that crap work for you, you will have earned for it.

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