Hi kids. It’s your Uncle Eric. I’m back with another image in this series, and I know you’ve been dyin’ t’ see it. If you don’t know, all of these digital paintings are based on my humble visage after feeding it through the ever popular neural network that is Faceapp. Now, your uncle has been criticized some for working on this b’cuz other people just don’t have any faith in my ability as an artist. So, one of the things they like to say is, “the machine did it!”. Now, I done said all along that it was a co-lla-bo-ra-tion with AI. But it’s not doin’ all th’work. Well, let’s look at that more carefully.
To get to this image I fist took the left panel of my last offering (which was a pair) and experimented with feeding it through the AI different ways. And eventually it created a monstrosity. Behold:
What the hell did it do to my eye? And where’d that veil come from? It’s jacked up, but I thought it was interesting and there just had to be something I could do with that.
At the same time, guess what’s wrong with my left eye? I have the beginnings of a cataract. Just found out while working on this, serendipitously enough. Maybe that helped me. Below you can see what “the machine did” and then what I did with a drawing tablet in my lap and a stylus over I don’t know how many hours.
Here’s a little challenge for my esteemed detractors. Download the pic above, and try to start with the image on the left (it’s the actual size I started with, too), and create the one on the right on your own. Then write to me about how the machine did it.
Perhaps we need to zoom in a bit.
And a little more:
Do you notice any difference between what “the machine did” and what I did?
Uh, yeah, I’m in a bit of a mood today. I think it’s because I’ve had a cold for a few days, and it’s now moved into my chest. I’m not as perky when sick as otherwise. This is a no-brainer, but when you’re sick it tends to deflate your optimism.
Anyway, one of the things I did was make the image about 10X as big, which is why the original looks so pixelated in comparison.
“Oh, well, maybe THIS time you changed it, but all the other times the computer did it!”
Uuuuuuuh . No. I always do something much more interesting and aesthetically pleasing with it, and it requires a fair amount of skill (which doesn’t mean I don’t now see glaring flaws in every piece so far):
and, er… Do notice the one on the left, below, doesn’t even have an ear!
Some differences are more obvious when you zoom in:
Oh, and… I had to try to fix those bottom teeth, below!
I did a pretty good job with the hair, but now I can see I botched the teeth and other things, though it might not be that obvious. And those are the more straight up ones where I don’t put an alien in the background or something.
Back to the current piece. Here’s what it looks like in PS.
I invented the left eye…
Oh yeah, and all those tumors…
I kinda’ like the mysterious thing in the background…
It looks a bit alien.
I’m not really the realist hyper-detail kind of artist, but I can give it a go now and again when I’m moved to. I tend to learn as I do things, and experimentation is a large part of my motivation. So, doing the details in this one was a bit of trial and error, and the result is an accumulation of errors and corrections.
And so now I’ve done 25 of these, which is probably about as many as I hoped to attempt. However, I think the best ones are still to come. This series, though, has gained no traction. My Instagram account has died. People don’t know what they’re looking at and don’t bother to find out. And this forces me to reconsider continuing this work or doing something else.
I make virtually nothing off of art and my following could fit in an elevator. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can do that will get me a larger audience and so I can make some money and live off my art (which I can do very cheaply).
As much as I love this series, and the potential I see in it, I may have to suspend it in order to work on material that is more accessible or appealing to a wider audience. I’m not sure. It’s an internal battle I’m having and juggling cognitive dissonance. If you know my work, you know I switch up my game a lot and experiment with different styles and approaches. That is an absolute taboo in the art world — you should create a distinct signature style for branding purposes — but, I think, really good for an artist. Point is, it’s not hard for me to switch gears for a while. In fact it’s often how I proceed.
But I am still torn, and this quandary has slowed me down a bit, but as with many things I can’t settle on an answer, and shouldn’t. I always want to surprise myself with what I make, in which case I can only predetermine so much.
Here’s the full 25 images so far. Will there be more? Let me know if you’d like to see more of them. Just click anywhere in the gallery to go into the screen-show mode.
And if you like the (experimental) sort of art that I do, and you don’t want me to have to quit or put it on a back-burner, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art back on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art and writing. See how it works here.
Or go directly to my account.
Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).