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Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Creativity

June 01, 2024  •  Leave a Comment

Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Creativity

"Don’t expect a creative idea to pop out of your computer" - George Lois (the original "Mad Man")

AI is all around us now, and although it still surprises and sometimes amazes me, it is still very recognisable and obvious what it is.  I believe that is because it fundamentally does what it is asked as long as you give it clear instructions and you use your own ideas.  Ask it to use it's own imagination and it quickly fails.

Ask it to produce images of Cars or Cats, and it does amazingly well.  Ask it to produce impossible images of Cats doing the Can-Can, and again it produces what you tell it to.  Ask it produce an emotion such as despair or wonderment and then it falters.  It is not actually intelligent.  It assembles creativity from others - and nothing more.

At Barnett Photo Studio we sometimes get enquiries from businesses about using AI images in their advertising and promotional materials.  They usually want to save money and don't want to invest in professional photography.  That's fine, we understand.  Really good photography and video doesn't come cheap - but the marketing and promotional advantages that come with using professional and personalised images are the only things that can bring money into a business - everything else is just an expensive, an overhead.

So we discussed about where AI sits in all of this.  How can it help?  What can it actually do?  We set about giving it some tasks to create images we had previously created ourselves from our mood boards and creative briefs we have drawn up with existing clients.

Sharp knife cutting a lemonOur Original ImageOur Original Image AI generated image of sharp knife cutting lemonsAI LemonsAI Lemons

 

 

 

 

 

For a start, we gave it our famous image of the knife and the lemon - clear and sharp and to the point.  How would it handle such a dramatic and well-recognised image such as this one created in our studio?  Well, it got the knife and the lemon, but that's about it.  For something that's supposed to be "intelligent" it still cannot understand what hands are supposed to look like.  Even members of the British Royal Family managed to make a mess of hands in Photoshop, and maybe there was an element of AI editing involved?  So, if you want to creative images tailored to your specific business, service or product - then AI is not the answer here!

Handmade copper ring photographed against tree bark and mossArtisan handmade luxury ringArtisan handmade luxury ring We did some very specific product work with an artisan jewellery designer.  Our brief was to create something different.  Anything except the boring white background that every other item of jewellery is shown against.  Anything different from what everybody else was doing - which was simply copying and never creating.  So, what did AI do with jewellery?  AI generated Image of ring jewelleryAI Image of ringAI Image of ring Very boring, standardised, generic images of what a token item of jewellery could look like.  It just took it's cues from the millions of other boring images that our client so desperately wanted to differentiate herself from.  The AI images are worse than bland, and not suitable for our young jewellery designer who is getting herself noticed within the industry.  Certainly not reflecting the creative passion of someone who lovingly creates bespoke pieces from inspiration all around them.

AI generated image of ring jewelleryAI JewelleryAI Jewellery So, we tried to be a bit more specific.  We took the original images outside in nature, with our beautiful mini Rotolights clamped to our tripod and a macro lens and went in search of natural and inspirational backgrounds that nature had provided for us.  Then we gave the AI program the same brief that we had to create for ourselves anyway - so we had already done a lot of the work.  The result was only very slightly better, but obviously not the actual ring that our creative girl had made by hand, and when you are purchasing something don't you want to see the actual item?  There are only certain circumstances where an artist's impression is acceptable.

Professional photographers bring a unique creative vision that AI lacks. They interpret a brand's message and translate it into compelling visuals.  Real photographers interact with clients to understand their specific needs and preferences, which allows for personalised and tailored images.

A good Advertising, Brand and Commercial photographer will get to know and understand their clients, and draw up a creative brief that communicates their "Big Idea" simply and effortlessly in a way that engages and drives interactions and sales.  Not all advertising and marketing images do this - but all the successful ones do!

Lemons and Limes dropping into sparkling waterCitrus Splash - Advertising ImageCitrus Splash - Advertising Image AI generated image of citrus fruits falling into sparkling waterAI Citrus FruitsAI Citrus Fruits AI generated image of citrus fruits falling into sparkling waterAI Lemons and LimesAI Lemons and Limes Photographers possess in-depth knowledge of composition, lighting, and post-processing techniques that AI cannot replicate.  Also you need to consider industry experience.  "Seasoned" photographers working with food have a wealth of experience in various advertising projects, providing insights and ideas that AI lacks.  Working in the advertising industry in London gave me some real knowledge of the "dark arts" of subliminal messaging that is essential in effective visual communication.  AI can't even begin to get it's head around subtle persuasion techniques using emotions.

 

Assorted spices on black slateSpices of The EastSpices of The East

This image of the shallots and spices was sketched and re-sketched many times.  The colours were carefully chosen to bring harmony as well as excitement, and the angles and lines carefully adjusted millimetres at a time to provide a pattern where the eye is lead around pleasing parts of the image.  The AI equivalent has the basic ingredients, but unfortunately nothing more.  It lacks so many elements of what made our original image so effective.

With any business it is vital to recognise and really understand Brand Consistency and Identity.  We spend a lot of time at Barnett Photo Studio really getting to know our clients and what makes them tick and we need to understand their problems in order to be able to solve them.  I don't know of any AI program that sits down with people and gets to know them and their back-story over a cup of coffee!

Green Chillies and SpicesGreen Chillies and SpiceGreen Chillies and Spice Understanding "Brand Identity".  We believe it is essential we work closely with our brands to ensure images align with brand identity and marketing goals of our clients.  People buy from People!  The power of good creative advertising imagery relies on real humans understanding what real humans are offering, and then buying into that promise, whether it's goods or services or something else.  AI simply can't do this.  Ever been really annoyed by a Chat Bot that simply doesn't identify or understand your pains and frustrations when trying to sort something out?

AI generated image of bowl of vegetablesAI VegAI Veg    AI generated image of bowl of fruit and vegetablesAI Fruit and VegAI Fruit and Veg AI generated image of Red OnionsAI Red OnionsAI Red Onions

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another great advantage of using a professional company, either ourselves or someone else with a great track record is that of "Maintaining Consistency".  We believe that it is vital to maintain visual consistency across all advertising materials, strengthening brand recognition.  The brand needs to be easily identifiable and the message repeated simply and often.  Your customers will buy into you if you offer the reassurance of consistency.  AI images tend to generate something new from scratch every time, and make multiple attempts.

Of course, AI images can be endlessly fascinating.  I have seen wondrous things.  I have also seen beautiful, creative and joyous creations while wondering round art galleries in London or Manchester, (and many other places).

AI has it's place.  But not in the creative universe.

Please comment on this by all means - we'd love to hear your thoughts.  YOUR thoughts - not AI generated ones!

 

 

 


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