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Dalí’s Eye, or The Power of Image Inpainting

Made with DALL·E (Image Inpainting)

Made with DALL·E

I always wanted to co-create with Artificial Intelligence… I have already done it for years, but with DALL·E / MidJourney / Disco Diffusion / Pytti I think I found my kindred spirit. Wondering about dreams of Androids (they are not always about Electric Sheep).

Here is another dream (explanation follows).


If you are (as I very hope) a reader of my Merzazine, you should be familiar with Inpainting.

We’ve already seen it in different models. Basically, Inpainting means the AI-driven imagination of missing pieces in one image.

For example, Inpainting is used in the 3D Ken Burns Effect to fill in missing parts of the image, for example, places hidden behind an object:

Deep Learning power tries to complement the missing pieces.

You can also play around with Inpainting by NVidia, but beware, sometimes AI phantasizes weird stuff as it did for me as I wanted to get rid of that poster on a wall:

Inpainting is also used in 3D Photography Inpainting — and it was something that fascinated me with this model, as I’ve seen this:

Screencap from 3D Photography Inpainting demo video (Source), Photographer: Herbert List / Magnum Photos

3D Photo Inpainting fulfilled the missing pieces of Picasso art behind the maestro.

And so I did some experiments with art as well:

In these cases, AI tried to interpret small parts of artworks in its own ways. Small, but nevertheless.

In the case of DALL·E, it does the entire job.

DALL·E Inpainting

Current DALL·E User Interface has a function of Inpainting as well. You upload a .png-image with transparency or delete some fields in the image with built-in tools, and AI does the rest.

So, in this case, I created several images and cropped them again and again until a seamless zoom emerged.

My first image was this:

“A weird eye, by Dalí” Made with DALL·E

Then I cropped it and asked DALL-E to create an entire face featuring this eye:

“Weird face, by Dalí” Made with DALL·E

It created many weird faces, but the above was the most ordinary one. As next, I wanted to create a person the owner of this face. And in the best case, an entire family.

“A Sunday family, by Dalí” Made with DALL·E

In the following, I created more and more world around, emerging by unfolding visual storytelling and thinking about the world around:

Made with DALL·E

And as of last, “an Eye” again (DALL·E created for me an entire manneristic face):

Made with DALL·E

Combining this voyage across the dream realms, I found that such layer-building is an exciting and engaging way of storytelling. This is another example of human-machine cooperation. Some kind of Cadavre Exquis, invented by surrealists. I played with AI this game years ago — with GPT-2.

An interactive act of co-creation, inspiring an AI with your prompts, and being inspired by machine imagination.

Oh yes, my friends. AI will never kill human creativity. AI will support it in entirely new, unexpected ways.




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Futurist. AI-driven Dadaist. Living in Germany, loving Japan, AI, mysteries, books, and stuff.