Err, this is cool!
Somehow, ArtBot (my tool to generate art using a cluster of distributed GPUs) has just generated: 1,000,000 images!
I’ve seen people share links to it on Reddit, Twitter, and even a YouTube video demonstrating how to use it.
It’s by far, the most used thing that I’ve ever created for fun. Pretty cool!
To the tune of R.E.M’s “End of the World”:
“It’s the end of the (Twitter) as we know it, and I feel fiiiiiiinnnnneeee!” via… me.
I don’t have high hopes for the future of Twitter, pending Elon’s acquisition. It’s a service I’ve long loved, been frustrated with, but also found immense value in.
I’ve gotten jobs because of it, made new friends because of it, learned a lot because of it. Granted, it’s gotten much more toxic and I long for the days when it was fun.
But I don’t think having this service in control of a self-proclaimed internet troll who has lurched evermore rightward is going to improve things. Alas.
Thanks to Reddit, I recently stumbled upon a cool project called Stable Horde. It essentially lets you generate images using a distributed cluster of GPUs donated by community members.
I had been creating my own web interface to remotely interact with a Stable Diffusion instance running on my own machine. I decided to quickly repurpose the web app and connect to the Stable Horde API. The result?
ArtBot, a Stable Diffusion demonstration that allows you to generate images using the power of the Stable Horde. It is awesome!
I think it’s time to end my AI art career on this high note. Generated with Stable Diffusion, running on my local machine.
“beautiful portrait painting of Barack Obama with a purple mohawk on top of his head shredding on an electric guitar at a punk rock show, concept art, makoto shinkai, takashi takeuchi, trending on artstation, 8k, very sharp, extremely detailed, volumetric, beautiful lighting, wet-on-wet”
I’m just going to start off and say that this was a beautifully written book and it really struck a chord with me.
The Anthropocene Reviewed is a collection of essays adapted from a number of episodes from John Green’s podcast. I hadn’t actually heard of the podcast before, so the material in this book was new to me. Each chapter in the book is a review of a different subject on something created by or affecting humankind.
Everything from Dr. Pepper and Canadian geese to the Notes app on our phones and the Internet in general. The chapters are part review and also part historical research. I just loved it. I think part of the reason I enjoyed this book was because we’re roughly the same age. So, a number of his thoughts and experiences roughly correlated with my own. “Are you me?!” is something I thought a number of times in the book.
Take, for example, his review of Super Mario Kart:
I was in tenth grade when Super Mario Kart was released, and as far as my friends and I were concerned, it was the greatest video game ever. We spent hundreds of hours playing it. The game was so interwoven into our high school experience that, even now, the soundtrack takes me back to a linoleum-floored dorm room that smelled like sweat and Gatorade. I can feel myself sitting on a golden microfiber couch that had been handed down through generations of students, trying to out-turn my friends Chip and Sean on the final race of the Mushroom Cup.
We almost never talked about the game while playing it—we were always talking over each other about our flailing attempts at romance or the ways we were oppressed by this or that teacher or the endless gossip that churns around insular communities like boarding schools. We didn’t need to talk about Mario Kart, but we needed Mario Kart to have an excuse to be together—three or four of us squeezed on that couch, hip to hip. What I remember most was the incredible—and for me, novel—joy of being included.
That rang so true.
Another chapter of the book reviews Canadian geese. Fun fact: growing up, my mom had a flock of (non-Canadian) geese in our yard. The wings were clipped, so they couldn’t fly away. But I have distinct memories of them running after me in the backyard, pecking at my legs and back. And that awful honking. It’s no wonder that I really think that geese are the worst animals in the world.
But even though Canada geese are perfectly adapted to the human-dominated planet, they seem to feel nothing but disdain for actual humans. Geese honk and strut and bite to keep people away, even though they’re thriving because of our artificial lakes and manicured lawns. In turn, many of us have come to resent Canada geese as a pest animal. I know I do.
Image of how I remember what my mom’s geese looked like. Probably. Image generated using Midjourney AI.
The Anthropocene Reviewed is of my favorite books that I’ve read this year.
A problem that often happens to me: I get the inspiration to whip up something in Node.js (for fun, for experimentation, for a side project, etc) but then I realize that I need to go through the process of actually setting things up before I can even start writing some code.
Usually, I have to dig through previous projects and copy over my eslint and prettier config files, read through some documentation and remember how to setup TypeScript again, install the correct dependencies for running tests. Before I know it, I’m bored and tired and no longer interested in doing whatever I was going to do.
I decided to experiment with some command line tools and created a Node.js script that can help me quickly bootstrap a new project with common configuration parameters that I use. It’s available on GitHub: Bootstrap Node Project.
The GIF above shows this tool in action. I’m able to get the scaffolding for a new project up and running within about 20 seconds! After running, the project structure looks like this (with associated npm start and test scripts, all ready to go). That is pretty awesome.
my-cool-project/ ├─ .husky/ ├─ node_modules/ ├─ src/ │ ├─ index.js (.ts) │ ├─ index.test.js (.ts) ├─ .eslintrc.json ├─ .gitignore ├─ .prettierrc ├─ package-lock.json ├─ package.json ├─ README.md ├─ tsconfig.json (optional)
Obviously, it’s highly opinionated and caters to configuration options that I personally like to use. But I figure it’s a great resource for anyone who wishes to roll their own utility to quickly bootstrap projects as well.
A few short weeks ago, I had downloaded a simplified model for generating AI-created images on your local machine. The internet (myself included) had a lot of fun with it, but the quality was definitely lacking, especially when compared to the more serious AI image platforms being created by some big companies.
I recently received my invite to the MidJourney beta and I am just blown away!
For now, I’ve just been putting in ridiculous prompts that simulate styles for various artists (oh, man. I have a feeling this is going to piss off a lot of artists in the future…)
For example: “Apocalyptic wasteland with crumbling buildings and debris, thomas kinkade painting”
The potential here is pretty crazy — for people who aren’t artistically inclined, they can start generating images and scenes based on what they come up with. Some people can probably use this as a base to get to rapidly start iterating on new ideas. And of course, others are going to be mad.
For me though, I’m excited about this new technology and it’s something I’ve been eager to play with.