Posts tagged ‘nightcafe’


The End of the Road is Haunted (and a bit more Ruliad)

Two different and completely unrelated topics (OR ARE THEY?) today, just because they’re both small, and hearkening back to the days when I would just post utterly random unconnected things in a weblog entry those title was just the date (and noting again that I could easily do that now, but for whatever reason I don’t).

First, whatsisname Wolfram and his Ruliad. Reading over some of his statements about it again, it seems like, at least often, he’s not saying that The Ruliad is a good model of our world, such that we can understand and make predictions about the world by finding properties of the model; he’s saying that The Ruliad just is the world. Or, in some sense vice-versa, that the world that we can observe and experience is a tiny subset of The Ruliad, the actual thing itself, the one and only instantiation of it (which incidentally makes his remarks about how it’s unique less obviously true).

I’m not exactly sure what this would mean, or (as usual) whether it’s falsifiable, or meaningful, or useful, or true, in any way. My initial thought is that (at the very least) every point in the Ruliad (to the extent it makes sense to talk about points) has every possible value of every possible property at once, since there is some computation that computes any given bundle of properties and values from any given inputs. So it’s hard to see how “beings like us” would experience just one particular, comparatively immensely narrow, subset of those properties at any given time.

It might be arguable, Kant-like, that beings like us will (sort of by definition) perceive three dimensions and time and matter when exposed to (when instantiated in) the infinite variety of The Ruliad, but how could it be that we perceive this particular specific detailed instance, this particular afternoon, with this particular weather and this particular number of pages in the first Seed Center edition of The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment?

The alternative theory is that we are in a specific universe, and more importantly not in many other possible universes, and that we experience what we experience, and not all of the other things that we could experience, as a result of being in the particular universe that we are in. This seems much more plausible than the theory that we are in the utterly maximal “Ruliad of everything everywhere all at once”, and that we experience the very specific things that we experience due to basically mathematical properties of formal systems that we just haven’t discovered yet.

We’ll see whether Wolfram’s Physical Project actually turns out to have “vast predictive power about how our universe must work, or at least how observers like us must perceive it to work”. :) Still waiting for that first prediction, so far…

In other news, The End of the Road is Haunted:

These are in the cheapest one-credit mode, because I was in that mood. Also I kind of love how the AI takes “haunted” to mean “creepy dolls”.


Those mysterious scrawls and drawings

Just because I haven’t done this for awhile…

Still enjoying this, but I feel like I’ve sort of explored quite a bit of the space already.


The World Tree, and more Hugo and the Lamb

We made this World Tree series in NightCafe by appending things to “Concept art, pencil sketch, sepia tone”, starting with “Surprised by Joy”:

Surprised by Joy

Kind of adorable, eh? Might be a tardigrade.

Then for some reason we took it to The World Tree:

at the base of the World Tree
Climbing the World Tree
So high in the World Tree

And then some old friends suddenly appeared! It’s Hugo and the Lamb!

Hugo and the Lamb arrive at the World Tree
Hugo and the Lamb ascend the World Tree

(I don’t think the AI has the idea that to really look like you’re up in the World Tree, there shouldn’t be anything that looks too much like the ground right there. Unsurprisingly perhaps.)

Wind in the Limbs of the World Tree
Resting High Up In The World Tree
Eyes High Up in the World Tree

And on that somewhat eerie note, the World Tree series ends (for the moment). We don’t see Hugo and the Lamb sleeping in one of the eye-shaped little nooks, or making their way back down the Tree (perhaps via parachutes or aircraft).

Back on the ground:

Those two are amusingly similar, due to having the same starting image with different seeds. I imagine that the little character on the right there comes in and says something witty or ominous.

On the Road

And across the river (surprise crossover!) they enter Hyrule:

Is Link taking care of the Lamb? Is Hugo wearing a Link costume? Was Hugo Link (or Link Hugo) all along?

So many mysteries!


The Swordsmith

(I should just admit that this is what I do now.)


More AI dreams

Timely: “ink sketch: the Irish countryside”

I tried to elicit some other appropriate Irish images, but this was the main one that I liked. :) Very green.

And then, unrelated and just at random, some “Enigmatic sketches found in the ruin” (with different random seeds):

Again I love these for the hints of things lying behind them, and am a little sad to think there is nothing there…


More AI-generated pictures from AI-generated prompts

First I had this conversation with NovelAI; its contributions are in bold:

“So I want to have one AI produce a paragraph, and then feed that to another AI to produce an image from.”
“That sounds interesting,” the AI console typed back, “would you like me to generate a paragraph of interesting text, to get you started?”
“Sure,” I said, “can you do that”
“Easily,” the AI replied, and then it emitted this paragraph:
A man walked down a road. He was very old, but he had been walking for many years now, so his age did not matter much any more. The sun rose in front of him as he walked along, its light warming his face and making the wrinkles on his skin seem less harsh than they might otherwise be. His eyes were still clear and bright with intelligence, even though those around him often looked at them without seeing what lay behind them. He saw things other people missed; he knew how the world worked and why it worked that way.
“Wow, thank you!” I thanked the AI, “I’ll have to break that up into multiple prompts, but I can’t wait to see what VQGAN+CLIP comes up with from it!”
The next day, I fed the generated text to my CLIP-based AI, which produced these images:

I thought that last line was amusingly appropriate, although of course there was no reason to wait until “the next day”. I fed the generated text immediately to Nightcafe, and it produced these images (same prompt text for each, just different random seeds):

I kind of love it! See the face in the clouds in that last one?


Wandering Dazed Through Everything

First of all, I’m sick. Three COVID tests over three days are all negative, so probably not COVID, but still. I’d rather not be sick. It started over the weekendish, and is gradually getting better.

Other than being sick, and therefore sleeping a lot, I’ve been doing not much more than generating more and more and more and more images on ol’ NightCafe. They have cleverly rate-limited the three-credit bonus for twittering (or, as it turns out, Instagramming) creations to one per hour, so I no longer have an infinite number of credits, but they are well worth a dime or two each.

Oh, I also reviewed another book. It was… well, you can read the review. :)

Otherwise I have been generating lots and lots and lots and lots more images, and wondering at them. I feel like I want a huge coffee-table book of them to page through, or a vast gallery of them arranged by a thoughtful curator. And on the other hand I also feel that I’m plateauing slightly in my fascination, in a way, and that they haven’t been … surprising me as much lately. We’ll see how that goes!

There are lots of gorgeous complex maximalist images from it in the Twitter (and my own Yeni Cavan is quite maximalist for all of that), but what I’ve been most struck by lately are the small and simpler things, in the spirit of Pencil on White the other day. So here are some of them, pretty much randomly. Some of them result from prompts that are only about style, not content, so the AI is free to use whatever content it thinks is likely. Some are from vaguely suggestive prompts, some abstract, some in French. :) I’ll see if I can get WordPress to lay them out more interestingly than one per row…

I observe that (1) this WordPress “gallery” control is kind of awkward and non-optimal, and (2) this particular “Illustration, pencil on paper” prompt tends to produce odd African faces sometimes; I wonder what that tells us about the AI and the training set.

Part of the reason, I think, that I want to wander among these gazing for many hours, is the feeling that there must be a whole story, probably an interesting one, or several interesting ones, behind each of the images. If that turns out not to be true, or one comes not to believe that it’s true, it might significantly reduce the fascination. Or can one just gaze and make up one’s own back stories for each and every image?

Those four are “Monochrome print of…” but you’ll have to click through to see the individual titles; the captions on the WordPress gallery control were overlaying too much of the images.

See that rather creepy result from “Colored pencil on paper” up there? Well, that’s the least creepy result I’ve gotten from that prompt all by itself. I don’t know what that means at all. Is there a whole bunch of creepy colored pencil on paper body-horror stuff in the training set? Or is it some strange local maximum that happened to form in the neural net? Mysteries!

The captions interfere with the images there a bit, at least in this view, but YOLO, eh? I feel really torn by these pictures, between being fascinated by the thought of the artist looking out over the valley from their shack on a cloudy afternoon, and then feeling betrayed because there was no artist, and then feeling that they come from an amalgamation of all the artists who created the AI’s training set in all their separate times and places, and finally that they are as fascinating as the accidental (or not!) patterns in the water threading between the rocks and barnacles as the tide comes and goes.

To finish up for tonight, we just show off that it knows some French, as generative AIs trained on as much as possible of what was lying around tend to be casually multi-lingual by accident.

(I don’t know why it’s made that last image so gigantic; apologies if it does that for you also and is disturbing.)

For some other time, I’ve also generated some sets like images from Leonard Cohen lyrics (there’s a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in), from the World Tree (all sepia), book covers (did I already post some of those?), the wonders of Xyrlmn, cute Xenobots, and some other things. I feel like I should post all of them! And also that they can as easily be allowed to slip away relatively unrecorded.

In the meantime, we wander between the pictures, turn the pages, stroll the galleries, and let the patterns touch our minds.


The Colors of Chaos

I chose the title “The Colors of Chaos” randomly for an experiment with Gustave Doré, and that went so well (and so amusingly) that I tried a bunch of other artists as well. My impression is that the AI knows all of these artists, and can at least gesture in the direction of their styles. This is more difficult, and the results perhaps less interesting, for artists who would not generally deal with the colors of chaos! But overall I’m pleased with this tiny collection.

In the style of Gustave Doré
In the style of M. C. Escher
In the style of R. Crumb
In the style of Thomas Cole
In the style of Pablo Picasso
In the style of Hieronymus Bosch
In the style of Salvador Dali
In the style of Pieter Brueghel the Elder
In the style of Lisa Frank
In the style of Grandma Moses

Imaginary Isles

Sometimes I try a random prompt that springs into my head, and fun unexpected things happen. Why this particular style of illustration results from things like “Detailed colored ink on paper, illustration of … island”, I dunno! Maybe there is a subgenre, or a few prolific flickr posters?

(Harder to search the web for similar images than it is to search for texts similar to GPT-3 outputs, but nothing obvious came out when I tried.)

But anyway, I kinda love these isles, from the dreams of a neural network… :)

Sunrise. Suns scattered around like big egg yolks.
The Towns
Sunset; good night!

And a few bonus images, with slightly smaller / sketchier settings. I wanna go!


And all like that there

Back in the day (and especially back in the day), I used to just, y’know, chat a lot more than I do now. Rather than posting a particular thing about a particular thing, or a bunch of AI-generated images or whatever.

Speaking of which:

Ink on Rice Paper: Cozy

Why that is associated with “cozy”, I don’t know. Which is part of the fascination of this; exploring the odd mind of the AI. (See also of course GPT-3 and additionally Semantle for that matter, in the textual sort of area.)

I don’t think I’ve linked to semantle before, so there you go! I’ve become very much in the Wordle habit (even in the New York Times period here) (haven’t lost one yet!), and Semantle is also fun. It’s much harder, but on the other hand you get an infinite number of guesses. I realize in writing this that I got distracted and didn’t get yesterday’s, although I was within like two or three words of it.

(Long pause here while I do today’s Semantle in a mere 442 guesses, hahahaha. Toward the end there I was just typing random words that sprang to mind. In retrospect, though, it makes sense and I should have gotten it quicker.)

I also I used to use other fonts and stuff more often, because that is fun, and I used to write in raw html rather than in this WordPress environment here, which gets easily confused if you try to do anything too fancy, and often just deletes random markup that one might add in raw mode, oh well. Also it often looks radically different on my phone than on the computer here, in ways that I don’t have the patience or energy to look into to understand.

(Like, will this be in a different color everywhere? I dunno!)

I am reminiscing about Back In The Day, because for some reason that I can’t recall at the moment I was digging around in the ancient weblog on the personal site (whose front page still says “COMING SOON” and I really ought to fix that) looking for a particular funny story, and I read all various old entries while looking for it.

And also, I found it! Here is a copy of it, as well as that link there. The context (also interesting in itself) is a journal that I needed to get to someone in Indiana.

Then after lunch I took it down to the “Post Office”, where a lady agreed to take it to Indiana for me. I also had to buy her a little paper package to carry it there in. (That seemed sort of odd; why didn’t she just factor the package into the price of the service, the way she presumably does with gas fare and stuff?)

I’m not sure she’s really got a viable business model going here; the price was so cheap! I mean, she agreed to take the journal to Indiana (a particular place in Indiana, even) for like six bucks (including the price of the little paper package). I gather that there’s an economy-of-scale thing here, that she waits until she’s got a bunch of things all going to Indiana, and takes them all at once, to save on travel costs. But she also promised to get it there in just two days, so if no one else comes in and wants her to take something to Indiana by Wednesday, she’ll have to go there on just my six bucks, and there’s no way that that’ll even cover her costs.

(She’s probably got to pay someone to keep the place open while she’s going to Indiana and back, also; and then there’s rent, and utilities, and all sorts of other stuff.)

Probably she’s selling at a loss right now to get people used to being able to send things cheap, and she’ll raise prices later, once she’s got mind share. Sorta like did so well!   *8)

Still, it was nice that she was still in business today, so I didn’t have to, like, drive to Indiana myself…

Apparently this lady or her successors are still in business, which is nice!

That journal was part of a project which is probably (although not certainly) the same as this 1000 Journals Project, about which there is apparently a book and a documentary and stuff, which is pretty cool. I had (briefly) number 278, about which the old weblog talks a bit. Do go take a look! I wonder if it still survives, somewhere out there. Or even in the book or documentary!

There is some extra space for eyes

So that was all fun to discover and reminisce about. (Ha, I’d forgotten that I scanned the whole thing and burned it onto CD (remember “CDs”?) and included a copy of it in a little paper slipcase inside the journal itself. How clever of me!!

Hi-Tech Comix!

One thing that’s rather different from Back In The Day (in addition to having less control over the HTML, and not being in the habit of doing one catch-all entry per day, with the date as the title), is that I no longer feel guilty about putting more-or-less-huge images in the weblog here. On the assumption, I guess, that hardly anyone is reading this on like a 4096 bps modem or something. (But if anyone is, or is otherwise bothered by all of the huge images, do let me know! You can even leave a comment right here in the weblog and I might notice it.)

I am still very enamored of NightCafe and the inexpressibly vast universe of images that it’s willing to create. It feels (still) like I’m a tiny kid wandering through a vast library of lavishly illustrated books, dashing joyfully from shelf to shelf, delighted and overwhelmed.

I felt roughly that way about GPT-3 for quite a while, too, only with words instead of pictures; and, as the structure of these words hints, I don’t really feel that way anymore, at least not at the moment. I’m not certain how or why, but one theory that I have is that I gradually came to realize that there is no “there” there; that is, as far as I can tell, when interacting with a GPT-3 or NovelAI model, it’s easy to feel like the funny and crazy and suggestive things make sense in light of some thoughts or model of the world or way of thinking, and that by continuing to interact with it, one will come to know more about that way of thinking, and that’s cool. But after interacting with it for awhile, that seems less likely, or at least it’s more like “this writes stuff superficially like random fanfiction but without even that much sense to it” than it is like “wow, this crazy alien being I’m talking to sure has some interesting ideas!”.

I can easily imagine the same kind of thing happening with NightCafe; looking at the panel from “Hi-Tech Comix!” up there, my first fascinated reaction is that those enigmatic machines and blurred speech bubbles must be About Something, must be Saying Something in some enigmatic language and universe into which the image offers us a preliminary glimpse. But perhaps one ultimately realizes that it isn’t; it’s just a mindless imitation of stuff on Flickr or whatever.

If indeed that’s all it is. :)

What else what else? The family still exists and prospers. The little daughter is working remotely from Queens for an IT company (“IT company”) and going to tango events again now that there are vaccines and things are opening up somewhat. M and the little boy and I still live here in the ‘burbs, but I went in to work in Chelsea a couple of days last week (yay!), and I intend to do the same this coming week.

It’s wild how, after living up here and barely visiting the City at all for decades, once I started working down there I fell in love with the place, and have been going somewhat crazy not being able to get in for months and months.

Ah, Chelsea, how I missed ya!

I skipped my usual bowl of cold cereal at home, and got a Bacon Egg an’ Cheese on a Roll, Salt, Pepper, Ketchup from the vendor on the way to work the other day. It was glorious.

So that is a nice completely random weblog entry, as in Back in the Day. Now I will probably generate many more images (Twitter link assuming it works, and NightCafe link similarly), and perhaps play some Computer Games (although I’m kind of plateaued on everything I play, including WoW and Satisfactory and No Man’s Sky, but that doesn’t always stop me), and perhaps read some books (Oh, I was thinking I should do a weblog entry on a couple of rather meta books that I finished lately, maybe I will some time), fight some entropy, and/or go for a walk in the sunny chilly day.

Blessed be!


The Adventures of Hugo and the Lamb

A comic strip from NightCafe. In a variety of styles.

Episode 1: We meet Hugo, and the Lamb
Episode 2: At the Bridge
Episode 3: A twist!
Episode 4: The Sign
Episode 5: Return to the Source
Episode 6: The Lamb Considers
Episode 7: The Puzzle
Episode 8: A Dark Turn
Episode 9: The Nightmare
Episode 10: The Baker You Meet In Heaven
Episode 11: Resolution
Episode 12: Returning Home

Special bonus content: Coming This Summer, Hugo and the Lamb, the Motion Picture!

Publicity Still

Manuscript with ominous drawings

… all that was found at the scene was …


The Stormracer VII

I thought it would be fun to see what the Nightcafe “Artistic” engine would do with a slightly ambiguous product name (and basically nothing else). So we present: the development of the Stormracer VII!

(The caption on each image is the entire prompt passed to the AI engine.)

The big wheel in the concept art was apparently dropped during development.

One thing (of many) that strikes me here, is that the logos on the three documents that have logos, seems to almost spell out the product name. That seems to say something about the level of understanding that the AI has; other aspects say similar things, more subtly.


AI-generated AI prompts

So, obviously, I gave AI Dungeon a prompt with a few prompts that I’ve given to Nightcafe Studio:

Here are some good prompts for an AI program that generates images from text:
- vray rendering of my feelings for you
- vray rendering of diamond tentacles in space
- At the Cabaret; oil on canvas
- Illustrated plans for an interstellar cyberpunk yacht
- Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Sunlight through the window
- dark neon alien city; The Cost of Memory
- Modern realism retrofuture gernsback vivid vintage street scene
- Detailed steampunk cyberpunk noir library interior

And it continued:

- Detailed art deco fantasy architecture
- Detailed sketch of magic artifact
- Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
- vray rendering of SciFi city
- Medieval cathedral interior
- Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
- Digital concept painting, renaissance era
- Colorful fantasy city scene
- Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
- Fantasy medieval castle exterior
- High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
- Detailed concept art of alien city

And it would have continued except that I seem to have a thing about dozens lately.

So here we go! Images generated by an AI, from prompts generated by an AI. :)

Detailed art deco fantasy architecture
Detailed Art Deco Fantasy Architecture
Detailed sketch of magic artifact
Detailed sketch of magic artifact
Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
Fantasy gargoyle, black and white
vray rendering of SciFi city
vray rendering of SciFi city
Medieval cathedral interior
Medieval cathedral interior
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bartender
Digital concept painting, renaissance era
Digital concept painting, renaissance era
Colorful fantasy city scene
Colorful fantasy city scene
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
Sketchy cyberpunk bar interior; The Bar
Fantasy medieval castle exterior
Fantasy medieval castle exterior
High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
High fantasy city at night, watercolor painting
Detailed concept art of alien city
Detailed concept art of alien city

Not extremely notable: the images are more or less what we’d expect from the prompts, which are more or less what we might expect from the meta-prompts.

But still! Fun!


Victorian Sketches

Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Sunlight through the window
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Strolling in the sunny street
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Cakes in the Bakery Window
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Women's Hats
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Sunny Garden Gate
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Flowers by the Roadside
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Library Interior
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Leather Lounge
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; City Street Scene
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; The view from the window
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; The Street Leads Home again
Victorian colored sketch, lush comfortable; Sunset over the Palace

Dark Neon Alien City

Its name is inaccessible to us.

dark neon alien city
Welcome to █████
dark neon alien city; Public Square
Public Square
dark neon alien city; The Squalid Bazaar
The Squalid Bazaar
dark neon alien city; The Squalid Warriors
Warriors of the ████x██
dark neon alien city; The Cost of Memory
The Cost of Memory
The Lake of Industry
The Lake of Industry
dark neon alien city; The Palace of the Three
The Palace of the Three
dark neon alien city; Library Interior
Library Interior
dark neon alien city; The House of Fires
The House of Fires
dark neon alien city; The King's Procession
The King’s Pro████
dark neon alien city; Surreal Hotel
██████ Hotel
dark neon alien city; Rainbow Sunset

Travel Posters from Nowhere

One from each of the realms / prompt-prefixes that we’ve been playing with.

The NightCafe “Creative” engine (VQGAN+CLIP) is pretty darn good at posters, as long as you don’t mind the text being illegible.

Yeni Cavan Travel Poster #yenicavan
Yeni Cavan
Cogspin Travel Poster #cogspin
Neocine City Travel Poster  #neocine
Neocine City
Miller's Bend Travel Poster #millersbend
Miller’s Bend
Kranija Travel Poster #kranija
Technopolitan Travel Poster  #technopolitan
Travel Poster  #nightlife
Night Life
Travel Poster #moebius
In the Style of Moebius
Le Monde Moderne: Travel Poster #mondemoderne
Le Monde Moderne
dark neon alien city; Travel Poster
Dark Alien City

That last one is a new prefix that I was just playing with a little. But it made a good travel poster for it!

I will probably (or perhaps) write more words about all of this stuff that the AI is making; but at the moment I’m just wallowing in all of the imaginary pictures…


12 Jazz Posters from the Imaginary World


That Mœbius Style

We’ve been playing around with styles in NightCafe Studio (obviously), and recently with the styles of some specific artists.

(This is still all in “brand-new image” mode; somehow I’m less interested in the “style transfer” mode, where you ask the AI to apply some style to an existing image. That might be cool, also, but my primary fascination at the moment is more “let’s look inside the mind of this crazy emerging AI” and less “let’s use this AI as a cooler Photoshop”.)

One artist that the NightCafe AI (the “VQGAN+CLIP” one especially) does a notable job with is the French cartoonist (“cartoonist”) Jean Giraud, aka Mœbius. I discovered his work in Heavy Metal magazine back in the day; while I was often not crazy about the stories, the art was novel and exotic and immersive.

So anyway! I pointed NightCafe Studio at a bunch of prompts starting with “Detailed realistic image in the style of Moebius”, and this is the kind of thing that came out; the dataset that the AI was trained on must have had a lot of stuff by or referencing him. Enjoy!

Detailed realistic image in the style of Moebius; riverside
Moebius bedroom
In the style of Moebius: Starport
Starport buildings
In the style of Moebius: Starships I
Starships I
In the style of Moebius: Starships II
Starships II
In the style of Moebius: The Growing City
The Growing City
In the style of Moebius: How People Dress Now
How People Dress Now
In the style of Moebius: Meeting with the weapons dealer
Meeting with the Weapons Dealer
In the style of Moebius: Lift off
In the style of Moebius: By the Lake
By the Lake
In the style of Moebius: Meteorite
Weapons of War
Weapons of War

Night Life

Frightened business men with lamps
concept art film noir, library with lamps
concept art film noir, wonderful mechanisms
concept art film noir, street scene
concept art film noir, dancers
concept art film noir, cafe
concept art film noir, We are so happy to see you
The Latest Thing
concept art film noir, The nuns return to the air
concept art film noir, coffee
concept art film noir, Night Life
concept art film noir, hearts of sweet gold
concept art film noir, singers of fire and ice
concept art film noir, the hum of the crowds
concept art film noir, when the parade goes by
concept art film noir, finally to sleep