July 3, 2023

Babe Elliott Baker: Building Better AI Tools

Babe Elliott Baker is an art director and designer who brings a unique skill set to AI art. After discovering Midjourney's beta, he began tinkering with different tools and is now building an image library tool for AI artists. Read more about his takes on "happy accidents" and AI art as an additive, rather than a replacement.

Babe Elliott Baker: Building Better AI Tools

Realm AI: Could you please introduce yourself and share how you developed an interest in AI art?

Elliot: My name is Babe Elliott Baker. I'm an Art Director & Motion Designer based in San Diego. I developed an interest in AI art when Midjourney started teasing their beta release. I remember being invited to the Discord to try it and was totally blown away. I got pretty obsessed and never slept, like everyone else... It was a lot of fun. A couple of months after that, I discovered Stable Diffusion and now I'm able to generate images locally for free and not have my imagination be censored. 

Realm AI: How would you define your art form? Which genre or style best represents the art you create?

Elliot: My style is sort of all over the place. I like to combine abstract with figurative / portraits, light and darkness, chaos and order, glitch, grunge, displacement... things of that nature. I usually get bored doing the same thing over and over again, so I tend to experiment with various concepts... I'm really into the process itself..  where happy accidents are made.

Inspired by liquid textures, Elliott created this fascinating piece and shared his process here.

Realm AI: What are your thoughts on the impact of AI art on copyright and intellectual property rights? How do you navigate the complexities of ownership and attribution when collaborating with AI systems?

Elliott: I could be wrong, but I feel like there's a misunderstanding of how generative AI works in terms of training and diffusion. It doesn't copy and paste from a database like people think. It works more like an artist that visits an art gallery, gets inspired, and tries to make something with similar techniques from memory. It may have the look and feel, but it's not a replica. 

Watch this clip of Daniel Jeffries, the CIO of Stability AI describing how some of it works. What I like about Stable Diffusion is that you can train your own model or style embeddings to generate something totally unique, which is what I'm interested in. 

Realm AI: As AI art gains recognition and popularity, how do you envision it shaping the future of the art industry? What impact do you believe AI art will have on the art market, art education, and the overall artistic landscape?

Elliott: I see AI art as an additive and not a replacement, so I see there being oversaturation. Since it doesn't require as much experience or skill to make something cool, there will be more people out there to compete with. I'm sure budgets will get smaller and deadlines will get tighter. This is where having an artistic/designer background will still add value. It's important to have a good eye and ideas. I think the giant companies out there paying for this stuff will want that. The landscape for things traditional will always be respected and valued... there may even end up being more of a demand for it once everything looks too perfect and artificial.

Elliott shares his process for this fungus-inspired piece here.

Realm AI: What steps do you take to engage with the AI art community and foster connections with fellow artists working in this field?

Elliott: I like to share my creative process. Other artists find it inspirational or educational and that's usually how I connect with them. We're all learning these tools in real-time together and posting our results on social media, which is motivating. @dreamingtulpa produces a wonderful AI art newsletter called AI ART WEEKLY with AI art cover challenges that are a lot of fun. That's also been a great way to meet and connect with other AI artists in the community.

Realm AI: What are some of the key technical challenges or limitations you face when working with AI art tools? How do you overcome or work around these challenges to achieve the desired artistic outcome?

Elliott: The limitation for me is hardware, because I just want to generate art on my own machine for free and not have my imagination be censored. The better the graphics card, the better the quality and time saved. Other challenges can be learning all the software that's out there. It's easy to get overwhelmed and stuck learning new tools or techniques and not really making anything. It's important to make time to study, but also time to play and create... apply what you learn.

Realm AI: Have you had the opportunity to explore our app, joinrealm.ai? If so, how would you describe it to others who may not be familiar with it?

Elliott: I haven't been able to explore your app, because it's only for iPhone and I have an Android, but from what I have seen on the website it looks really cool.

Realm AI: Are there any ongoing projects or collaborations that you're currently working on and would like to share with our readers? We'd love to hear about any exciting ventures on your artistic horizon.

Elliott: I started working on a tool with a developer for AI artists & collectors called BASE, which allows you to store images privately on the cloud, tag and sort, compare, make notes, and selects... just helps you stay organized when working with a lot of images. The beta is available to try at getbase.app. Aside from that, I want to explore more music and sound-driven AI animation. No collaborations yet, but I'm always open to them.

Realm AI: Could you reveal your personal top three favorite AI art pieces? What captivates you about these particular creations?

Elliott: Three favorite AI art pieces. There are probably too many to choose from, so I will just mention three new favorites off the top of my head...

I really like what Kodiak Arcade is doing, combining generative AI art/animation with their original music.

Jon Finger has been exploring some great cinematic/vfx style work with gen1 using selfies and everyday objects, which is inspiring.

Artificial Bob is an early inspiration of mine. He has some great deforum work and I love this new series he's been exploring, Bio Decadence.

Realm AI: Finally, as an AI artist, what are your long-term goals and aspirations? Where do you envision yourself in the next few years within the dynamic field of AI art?

Elliott: The more I explore the creative process the more I want to share it, so I've been thinking of putting together videos. Would love to eventually get paid to prompt... imagine that.

Connect with Elliott here:

LinkedIn Profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/babe-elliott-baker/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/spiritform

Website: https://www.spiritform.com