🖌️🧸💾 Demystifying AI Art: A Technical Tour for Enthusiastic Creators

Satori Canton🧸
6 min readDec 12, 2023

Hey there, AI art aficionados! Let’s take a minute and dive into the techy side of AI art creation. Whether you’re a seasoned artist on Playground.com or just starting to explore the wider AI art universe, this article is your friendly guide to understanding some of the technical jargon that often leaves us scratching our heads. Let’s decode the tech talk and make your AI art journey smoother and more fun!

What’s in a Filter? Understanding Checkpoints and Models

  • Filters in AI Art: On Playground.com, when you select a “Filter,” you’re not just tweaking the colors or contrast like in Photoshop. You’re actually choosing a new rendering configuration or even switching between different models like StableDiffusion 1.5, SDXL, or Dall-E.
  • Models and Checkpoints: Think of a model as the brain behind your AI art. Each model (like StableDiffusion or Dall-E) has its unique way of interpreting your prompts. For example, a class of 5th graders all have similar abilities, but each child has their own way of interpreting instructions. A checkpoint, on the other hand, is like a saved state of this brain, capturing all its learning up to a certain point. It’s what an individual 5th grader knows and is capable of on report card day.

Loras: Adding Nuance to Your Art

  • Loras (Low-Rank Adaptation): These are like secret spices that add specific flavors to your AI art. They’re extensions or add-ons to the existing models that tweak how your art gets generated, often leading to unique and surprising results. They manipulate the image at a very low/simple level of the process and can have a big impact on the final result. This can include new styles that the model isn’t trained in or even individual faces used for characters or people the model doesn’t already know. It’s like taking that one special 5th grader and putting them in a magnet school of the arts.
  • Negative Prompt Loras: Sometimes, you want to tell your AI what not to create. That’s where negative prompt loras come in — they help steer the AI away from certain themes or elements, giving you more control over the outcome. Negative prompt Loras like SimpleNegative can take your art from commonplace to masterpiece with just one key word in your negative prompt.

Deciphering AI’s Artistic Gateway: The Magic of VAE

Variational Autoencoders (VAE): The Wizard of AI’s Dual Worlds
In the realm of AI art generation, the Variational Autoencoder (VAE) plays a pivotal role, akin to a skilled wizard adept at navigating between two distinct worlds. On one side, there is our familiar visual world, where images exist as we see them on our screens. On the other, there lies the latent space, a mysterious, data-driven realm where AI interprets and manipulates these images. The VAE is the bridge between these two worlds, translating visual objects from our screen into the language of AI’s understanding and vice versa. Think of the VAE like a CD-ROM ripper. It takes an audio stream that we can hear in our ears, and turns it into a tiny MP3 file we can cary in our pocket and computers can play back. The VAE rips an image from the computer screen and puts it in a world the model can envision (and vice versa).

Latent Space and Latent Images: Navigating the Seen and Unseen
In the AI’s world, the latent space is where the true magic of creation happens. Here, images exist in an alternative form, known as latent images. These are not the concrete pictures we view on our screens but rather abstract representations, encoded in a language that AI can understand and manipulate. These latent images are versatile and malleable, shaped and reshaped by the AI’s algorithms, much like a painter envisaging a scene before it takes physical form on canvas. Think of it as the world on the other side of the computer screen or what the image would look like on the other side of the mirror.

The VAE’s role is akin to that of a translator with an artistic touch, one who can seamlessly convert the images from our visual reality into this latent form and back. When we input an image or a visual idea into an AI art generator, the VAE transforms this input into a latent image that the AI can comprehend and work with. Conversely, the VAE reinterprets the AI’s latent creations, turning them back into visual art that aligns with our human perception. This process is not a mere technical translation but an artistic transmutation, where the VAE ensures the essence and subtleties of our visual ideas are intricately woven into the AI’s latent creations and faithfully rendered back into images we can appreciate and connect with.

Through the VAE, we’re able to witness the enchanting dance between the seen and unseen, the real and the abstract, as AI art transcends the boundaries of traditional art forms.

Expanding Your AI Art Horizons

  • Playground.com: The best place to get started experimenting with AI art. Most of the technical choices have been made for the user. People with no experience in art can get started for free and create beautiful artwork immediately by remixing prompts from the robust community of creators. You can remix my prompts from my Playground profile.
  • CivitAI.com: A treasure trove for AI art creators! (includes NSFW content) Here, you can view and download a plethora of models, checkpoints, and loras. Recently, they’ve even added the capability to generate art directly on the site. It’s a fantastic resource for those wanting to explore beyond the basics. You can view my own custom models and images rendered with them on my CivitAI profile.
  • Tensor.art: For the advanced AI artist, Tensor.art is your playground. Hosting thousands of models and loras from CivitAI, it provides an interface to experiment with these in your rendering process. Their developer API is a gateway for those who love to tinker under the hood and customize their AI art experience. You can try out my own custom models on my Tensor.art profile.
  • Developer API: Speaking of which, a “Developer API” (Application Programming Interface) is like a set of tools that lets you interact with the AI model programmatically. It’s perfect for those who want to go beyond the standard user interface and create custom art generation processes.
  • Local Rendering: Instead of relying on a website to generate your art, local rendering means running the AI model on your own computer. It gives you more control, but it does require a bit of technical know-how to set up.

Navigating the technical landscape of AI art doesn’t have to be daunting. With sites like Playground.com for beginners and CivitAI.com and Tensor.art for more advanced exploration, there’s a whole world of AI art waiting for you. Remember, every great artist started somewhere, and understanding these terms is just another step in your creative journey. So, go ahead, experiment, and most importantly, have fun creating your AI masterpieces! 🎨👩‍💻🌌

© 2023 — Satori Canton🧸- @scanton on Discord — https://discord.gg/3QK2B3zhGb