Many of my creative connections have posted about their journey with generative AI. While I've spent time on AI apps making ridiculous profile pics, I've only used AI generated art once professionally and it was as abstract as it gets (to be seen in Dulles Airport very soon). While abstractions can be beautiful, I wanted to experiment with the idea of replacing stock photography of real people for use in B2B design & marketing projects. The result was a mixed bag of "fine" and "not even close".
The positives. For starters, the photographic effects are pretty good. I found the soft/selective focus, composition, and out-of-the-box color are generally pretty good. AI also did a fantastic job in interpreting my prompts and the fact that it put software engineers in blue oxford's was simultaneously hilarious and spot on. I'd also say that the interpretation of people’s shapes, sizes, and color was incredibly useful considering the current focus on diversity in technology. Ultimately I found that the best images were shots of groups in action because it didn't require you to focus on a single part of the image.
The not so positives. Oh...those facial features. Out of 75+ images I rendered, only a handful had facial features that were close enough to get away with from a distance. Most of our customers are technology companies but the marketing is focused on people, and faces are everything. The other downside was arriving at something useful. Render/re-render time vs. stock photo searches were totally lopsided. It took significantly more time with AI and produced less than desirable results. I could see using my renders for mock-ups but can't imagine using any of them in a real-world project.
While I walked away thinking "not so much", what I've arrived at is "not quite yet" but I'm hopeful. It's incredible to think that we might be able to use a few AI prompts to achieve what could only be done previously with a director and a photoshoot. Who knows, we're probably only a couple of years away from AI replacing stock photography all together. Sorry photographers.
Let's be real though...the robots are coming for us all!