DeviantArt’s AI image generator aims to give more power to artists

DeviantArt’s AI image generator aims to give more power to artists

You’ve probably seen the vivid swirls of mythic castles, fantasy lands created by AI tools like DALLE .. Images that look like they were created from a sample of Matisse’s original work might have fooled you. You might have been critical and wondered how styles of other artists can be copied without any type of repercussion.

AI art has taken over the world, winning awards and leaving industry observers concerned that artists’ styles might be co-opted and profited from without their consent.

“AI technology progresses so fast that sometimes they progress without the necessary checks, balances and balances,” states Liat Karpel Gurwicz (CMO of DeviantArt), an online art-sharing platform. “And they leave creators vulnerable to being hurt through what’s developing and the usage of these technologies.”

DeviantArt, which has been an online community for artists since 2000, hopes to begin tackling some of the ownership issues at the intersection of art and AI with its new AI image generator, DreamUp. All DeviantArt users can access DreamUp via the DreamUp website . However, different tiers have greater access to DreamUp. Before AI-generated art became widespread, DeviantArt hosted millions of pieces of art uploaded to it by users. Patrons could also pay for content, which allowed artists to make a living from the content they upload. But in the past four months alone, DeviantArt has seen a 1000 percent increase in AI-generated art uploaded to the site. This is just what has been tagged AI-generated. Moti Levy CEO of DeviantArt says that “there was most likely more [AI-generated] artwork uploaded than that.”

[Related: Shutterstock and OpenAI have come up with one possible solution to the ownership problem in AI art]

DreamUp will not look significantly different from other AI art creators at first. It relies on Stable Diffusion which is a third-party AI system that converts text into images. Stable Diffusion can be used by companies, and have made , their own image generators.

The difference is when users upload their AI-generated photos. The #AIart tag is automatically applied to any DreamUp image uploaded to DeviantArt via the program. This tag cannot be removed. The prompt also tags the image with any artists mentioned. If the prompt was “An oil painting of an alligator dancing as it reads a book in the style Matisse,” the tag would automatically be applied to the image. Gurwicz states that the page will also be watermarked with the DreamUp logo to provide as much transparency as possible as to the origin of the image.

But, like other popular AI-image generation tools, Stable Diffusion was trained without the consent of the image owners on images taken from the internet. This issue has led to tools such as Have You Been Trained , which can be used to inform people if their images or content have been used to train AI. This can be particularly problematic for artists. AI programs can quickly and easily create an image in an artist’s art style that they have worked hard to develop and curate. DeviantArt now allows artists to opt out from DreamUp letting their art be used in future versions. This option links a metatag to the artist’s content. DreamUp will deny users requests to create work in the artist’s style.

The current version of Stable Diffusion was not trained on this exclusion. This means that DeviantArt users may have used their previous content to train this iteration, but their style can’t be used as a descriptor moving forward, if they choose out. Gurwicz states that creating an AI art generator from scratch would take many years and leave us in a position where we are unable to make any changes to improve the current situation. “Considering the dire situation we find ourselves in. It’s the best solution .”


Even with protections in place on DeviantArt, debates related to art ownership on these types of platforms across the internet still remain rampant, and no clear answer has emerged yet. DeviantArt will not allow DreamUp art to be monetized at this time and will open its new AI transparency directives to other companies, while the legal regulations in the area remain unclear.

” At the end of it all, we cannot control everything on the internet. We can only control what happens at DeviantArt.” Gurwicz states. “We can set an example for others platforms and we can introduce standards that will be accepted across the internet. We can also try to cultivate a culture and etiquette within our community regarding how creators should treat one another. This is what we are focusing on

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