I’ve been playing around a bit with Adobe Firefly on my other site, [robotSprocket] and have been having fun with some of the AI-generated images there. However, I thought I’d spend some time and take a look at it from a photographic perspective.
And, what I’ve found, is that it can be disturbingly-good at generating photos if given good prompts.
For example, after feeding in some prompts related to the Pacific Northwest, I almost wonder why I spent thousands of dollars last year to drive the coast from Portland to San Francisco when I could’ve just asked an AI to create images for me:
Of course, I know why I took the trip: not just for the photos, but the experience. Photos don’t replace being there…you can’t comprehend the size of redwood trees without being in a redwood forest, having to walk a couple of hundred feet to go around a fallen one since they’re too big to climb over. You can’t experience the white-knuckle thrill of driving Highway 1 in Northern California as it weaves along the coastline, sometimes several hundred feet above the rocky beaches below, from a simple photograph. You can read my travelogue from that adventure here and here.
But still, it’s amazing how good these AI-generated photos are. And they’re only going to get better.
As an experiment, I thought I’d feed Firefly the captions for some recent photos on 75CentralPhotography and see what it generated.
“Golden Gate Canyon Road winds through the Rocky Mountains near Golden, Colorado.”
“A foggy, overcast view of the Gulf of Mexico, somewhere off the coast of Galveston, Texas.”
“Gulf of Mexico surf washes over rocks along a Galveston, Texas, beach.”
“The late-evening sun on the Tongass Narrows near Ketchikan, Alaska.”
“A fire escape rusts on the side of a building in Downtown Greenville, Texas.”
“The rugged, mountainous landscape of Tagish Lake, near the Yukon Territory-British Columbia border, Canada.”
“Colorado’s Pikes Peak under the evening sky.”
“A mountain rises above the blue ice of Glacier Bay’s Margerie Glacier, Alaska.”
Pretty impressive results that look fairly-plausible as real photos. Should photographers feel threatened? Maybe. A little bit. Me? I’m not going to stress…photography has never been my main source of income…my day job is a software engineer and that seems pretty safe.