Dall-E 2 AI image generator is a surprisingly great fashion designer

Karen X. Cheng

Karen Cheng is one of many creatives utilising AI as part of their idea generation process. Her recent fashion design project (opens in new tab) combines a few different AI models to get a smooth, automatic outfit switching catwalk video, and it’s a true testament to how AI can benefit artists in such an immense way. 

Her process first involved using Dall-E 2 to generate a whole bunch of designs over the top of some stills. By indicating the intended design area with the brush and feeding it a brief for each type of clothing, i.e. white overalls, Cheng was able to get some really interesting generated outfits. It even did an alright job of matching the lighting, though she did have to sift through a good deal of bad designs, like the “dress inspired by MC Escher” below.

So, the AI still isn’t perfect for idea generation, but it got there in the end.

After the initial generation stage, Cheng ran the frames through EbSynth (opens in new tab) to make it work with video, and then through Depth-Aware Video Frame Interpolation software (DAIN (opens in new tab)) to smooth the frames out.

The final video came out spiffingly, and almost matches the professional level of Paul Trillo and Shyama Golden’s incredible sci-fi fashion design project Cheng references in a later tweet (opens in new tab). 

As usual the comments are filled with the expected barrage of AI worriers concerned that robots will displace humans, and put them out of creative jobs. A concern I must confess I briefly prescribed to myself.

When I spoke to David Holz, the founder of the Midjourney AI image generating Discord bot (opens in new tab), he had some pretty positive view on how the rise of AI is affecting creatives:

“When we invented cars, and all of a sudden cars could go faster than we could walk, we didn’t chop our legs off, you know. And there are still professional people who move things around,” he says.

(Image credit: Karen X. Cheng)

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“It’s like this thing that amplifies people, but it doesn’t replace people. Cars didn’t really replace people, aeroplanes didn’t replace people, boats didn’t replace people. These are things that just kind of amplify society. They make us stronger and better, and let us do more.”

I’m with Holz on this one, and as long as AI is still unable to hold rights (opens in new tab), we creatives are probably quite safe. Just remember to start integrating AI into your workflow so the overlords can recognise you as an ally. 

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