Saturday, December 9, 2023

An Opinion on AI Art

 Of course I have an opinion on this. And, of course, it's just an opinion. If you're interested:

For better or worse, this is the world we live in now: 100 images generated per second by AI. And you can bet that's going to double or quadruple in the next year or two. That's how computers work, after all.

As I've said numerous times over the last couple years: there has never been a better time in history to NOT be an artist. That is: to make a living as an artist.

I know you're talented. I know you're passionate. I know you've got drive and a burning desire to create. But Right Now is not the time, unfortunately.

That's not to say you should stop. I know you can't. Keep making art that you're inspired to make, just consider a different profession for awhile. I'd suggest a trade. The cost of entry is low (and often subsidized) and the starting salary is generous. The world will never not need electricians and plumbers. Give it a try! At least for now.

Because this AI trend isn't going to last forever. People are going to get tired of looking at it. In time, there will be those who find the old, human-made art and say, "why aren't we doing this anymore?" and BAM! You're suddenly an Artisan, not just an artist. You're a fashionable alternative to what will eventually become so over-saturated that it will be free to produce (most of it is already) and utterly valueless.

This happened to me a couple years ago, when the "art" made by tracing over photos in Photoshop or InDesign was all the rage. There was no line weight or soul to that stuff, and I was making good money and repeat business simply because I can ink with a brush. It was a nice to feel you will see at some point down the road when AI over-saturates everything. 

 Familiarity Breeds Contempt, as the old saying goes. That time is coming for AI art, I promise.

Between now and That Moment In Time, do something else. Let the fields lie fallow for a couple seasons. Leave your art online, but poison it for the AI crawlers. Keep it for human eyes only.

Between now and That Moment In Time: Endure. Survive. If you're a professional artist, I know you know how to do that.

This won't last forever. It never does.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

The Two-Dice Dice Bag

 It's human nature to believe that More Is Better, but as you get older you realize that's rarely the case. There's always a Sweet Spot; even Goldilocks knew that.

I know dice-hoarding has become a popular meme on the internet, but there may come a day when you wanna game and don't have the means to take a Crown Royal bag filled to bursting with polyhedrals. Maybe you don't have room in your luggage or something. No worries! You can roll anything and everything in D&D with only two dice: a d20 and a d6. Just like ol' Gary here!

Not just any d20, though; get yourself a 0-9 twice d20 and color-code it: make half the numbers one color and the other half another color.

Pictured below is my 0-9 twice d20 from 1979, color-coded black and red. Next to it is my trusty d6 from the early 80s. These are all I need to play D&D! I call it the Two-Dice Dice Bag. It's very simple, although simulating a d8 and d12 might seem a little odd at first if you're not used to it.

Here's how it works:

D4: Roll the d20 and divide by four:

1-5 = 1
6-10 = 2
11-15 = 3
16-20 = 4
Note that this is very easy to read on a color-coded d20: black 1-5 is 1, black 6-10 is 2, red 1-5 is 3 and red 6-10 is 4. With a little practice you can read these off very quickly.

D6: Roll as normal, obviously.

D8: Roll as for a d4, above. Also roll the d6: if an even number comes up, add 4 to the result.

D10: Roll the d20, ignoring the color-coding.

D12: Roll both dice, read the d6. If the d20 comes up even, add 6. If your d20 is color-coded, pick one color as the "Add 6" color to make reading the result even quicker.

D20: Roll the d20. If the number is black, read as-is. If it's red, add 10. Or whatever you've color-coded your d20 as, obviously.

There you go! Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.