Introducing myself to the Emperor - Getting familiar and commencing the cull
I generated this series of images what seems like an absolute epoch ago. As a result, I've got to remind myself with each new Tarot card, what it is, exactly that I had in mind.
This process commences by examining the original card Art, then reviewing the images I've generated, picking out interesting thumbnails, and studying them for suitability.
The issue is that none of these images have any annotation or notes, so the only thing I have to go on (unfortunately, creation time isn't available to me, either) is file size, which gives me some direction as to those which I initially upscaled.
Still, the thumbnails only tell a little bit of the story, and I must cull the images like a Photoshoot where I hit the shutter too many times.
Moving on now to The Emperor. The card itself shows an old man sitting on a throne, wearing a red robe. He has a long beard. The stone throne upon which he sits has ram's heads on the arm rests. It is sparsely detailed but he is wearing a prominent golden crown.
With that in mind, and this being the first time I'm using MidJourney to produce predominately male subject matter, let us see what we get as an output!
All of the thumbnails look pretty convincing and seem to be of a high quality. They are fairly close to my prompt as well, which is a bonus. Perhaps this time around it will not be as painful to select the final image. Nonetheless, let's take a look at some in more detail.
The thumbnail for this image looked imposing. It wasn't until I examine the full resolution version that I see there's sort of a two dwarves in a robe sort of thing going on here, making for some strange proportions. Unless the idea is to get really meta how the throne is really the bones of the man who came before you...
Speaking of which, we have the next image which is an older, more stoic man, with surprisingly well rendered hands. Unfortunately, his robe is not red, and the missing elements of the rams really runs it out of contention for a final image.
The image below sees The Emperor change into a statue. It's a good representation, and the detail in the stone is quite incredible. We're not looking for a statue, however it is an interesting interpretation of the prompt.
For the next image, there's an incredible level of detail in the armor. There's also the return of the artistic Halo behind the character; but facial details, and again the lack of the pictorial element of the Ram means that I can't use this image as a final one. I wouldn't expect to find a hit in the first series of generated images, which is sort of the reason why I'm going through this culling process, trying to find the interesting ones.
This man looks friendly. The pauldrons upon his shoulders, which look to almost be part of the throne himself, do not look friendly, and do not look comfortable. I think that an emperor should not be able to sit comfortably, but I am impressed at how much better the AI model has been so far at modelling male hands as opposed to those of a female.
I wonder if this trend will continue as I look at more of these images in the future.
Time to consider some more thumbnails.
I like this idea of a tall throne / pedestal. You're helpless up there. Unable to do things, and it makes me feel that an Emperor would be disconnected from the very empire he is meant to rule. The coherence of this image is poor, so it won't be used, but an interesting rendering led me to an interesting interpretation, which is the fun part about experimenting with generative Art.
Here we have something completely different. Our Emperor is no longer human.
I'm not sure if they are half ram, half bear, half man, but this one looked interesting, made me chuckle, so I had to include it.
Looking at this next image, I think of one phrase, a lyric from the band Machine Head, "heavy lies the crown". This man looks like he's seen some stuff; and is sitting uncomfortably on a throne. The crumbling rocks at his feet seek to reinforce this. Either the AI is getting good at symbolism, or I'm just reading far too much into these series of images.
This one looked interesting for a few moments; on account of the expansive beard, standard crown, and the fact that we are suddenly outdoors. This looks like a classical portrait, and the AI even generated a signature for us...
Sadly in this first series of images I do not see anything of promise, but I do have many more images to look at, and I'm sure there's one that is going to jump out at me, and become the final result. The Emperor is Card 4 of 21 in the Major Arcana of Tarot, and this is a project I actually want to finish; unlike so many other things in my life.
AI is allowing me to be truly prolific in my creative life; but at the same time, the quicker I get this done, the faster I can move onto other ideas and stories; of which I have way too many swimming around in mind.
My to do list grows. The hunger to create is unending.
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