Revisions of Johanna, AI-Assisted lyric illustrations

Gallery: Revisions of Johanna, AI-Assisted lyric illustrations

I have to be honest. I don’t know about this one.

I set out to do another set of AI-assisted lyric illustrations, this time all of one song in its entirety… Bob Dylan’s “Visions Of Johanna”.

I got a little ways into it, and it was going well, when a few times in a row the generative algorithm overemphasized cats I had added as incidental background elements in the prompt, to interesting effect. So I had the brilliant idea: let’s illustrate the whole song with cats. I backtracked and started over again.

It was an instructive lesson, one that didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped.

It’s just hard to get a lot of variety out of the Stable Diffusion XL algorithm when the main subject is cats. Turns out, visually, cats are really not a very expressive medium. And especially so for lyrics of a song that refers often to relationships between things, and even moreso, talks in terms of absences, things which are missing or gone—ideas which are already tough to express in the kind of direct, concrete terms that a generative AI algorithm will understand.

As a result, I had to do a lot more experimentation, so the results are stylistically inconsistent—but I had wanted this gallery to stand as a unified piece, not a collection of disparate images. I’m actually now much happier with the unfinished set of original (non-cat) illustrations, which I have begin to clean up and post a sample gallery of on another page, under “Previsions Of Johanna“.

In the mean time… I’m posting this set because I did put a lot of work into it, and I do like many of these images individually, but, I just don’t know. As a whole it doesn’t work the way I wanted it to.

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