The one true constant in life is, everything changes, and in less than one year, thanks to AI, everything in the world of art and design has changed drastically. I have been a content creator for two decades working in art, design, photography, video, social media, radio, television, print, marketing, advertising, and everything in between. In my lifetime there have been many societal and technological disruptors that caused pivots in in our everyday lives, and in the job market — cable television, personal computers, the internet, email, google and so much more. It is a mistake to assume that AI is just another disruptor, but for now, I am contemplating this: how do we teach students that are preparing to enter the workforce to leverage AI, instill the importance of understanding the fundamentals of whichever discipline AI is taking over, and how do I personally adapt?


In the first week of classes in spring 2023 I introduced my class to Chat GPT, the Generative Large Language Multi-Modal Model created by Open AI. None of them had heard of it. I then introduced them to DALLE, the text to image AI also created by Open AI. Some of them did know that there was text to image simulators out there and they had seen images produced by AI on social media, but none of them really understood what it was. By the end of the last class that first week I had adequately expanded their horizons made obvious to me as I walked past a group of students huddled together in the hall after class and one student peeked up to look at me to say that they were all downloading the Chat GPT app. What had I done?!


In January of 2023 there were a few other Generative Large Language Multi-Modal Models and text to image simulators out there, but none as impressive as Open AI. Yet, Open AI had its obvious faults — Too many limbs or fingers, distorted faces, and Chat GPT’s writing was obvious and rudimentary, but all of it was improving dramatically fast. By the middle of this semester, I realized no one was going to hire me to illustrate a portrait of them ever again. I charged at minimum $300, and it takes me a week or two to complete an illustration. I was introduced to an app that took 10 photos of a person and turned them in to 100 different high-resolution illustrations in 5 different styles in 30 minutes for $13.99. That was the mic drop moment for me. Fast forward to today, the final weeks of fall semester 2023, and AI is in every tool I use to create content. AI is in every Adobe program, and in every visual editor used to create websites–I could go on and on, believe me. AI is in everything!


AI is going to change the workflow of design and visual communications, and since I teach students the fundamentals of design and how to use Adobe software, I became a little obsessed with learning all I could about AI. The most important thing to understand about these Generative Large Language Multi-Modal Models is that they are language models. Now, resolve yourself to the fact that everything, absolutely everything, is a language. The gears are turning now, are they not? Ok, that is another discussion for another time. As a content creator how do we navigate where AI is right now?


The previous three pages of this magazine were created with the aid of AI, from the graphics to the short stories. In Adobe Illustrator you can just make a box and type in “racoon” and illustrator will craft a vector image of a racoon in various styles. It allows you to be very specific in style and position. There are a few limitations, but they are easily navigable. While playing around with this new technology I considered how I may effectively leverage it to my advantage. To draw the racoon myself in Illustrator would have taken me a few hours. I am perfectly capable of creating a racoon that looked just like the racoon AI created, but the AI did it in less than one minute, with three variations. I decided I needed to use this opportunity to be creative and not feel defeated.


I imagined the absurd, which is my go-to for any given situation that causes me undue anxiety. I prefer to entertain myself in lieu of sulking sullenly. I just prefer to be happy, even if I must force it. So, I concocted a paragraph-long story of how a racoon found a can opener and learned to use it. This then led to a societal evolution of the racoon species that ultimately marshals humans and racoons living in society cooperatively as equals. I then asked Chat GPT to turn that paragraph in to a parable. Ten seconds later I had a story.


The story was a little rough and it required some tweaking and light polishing, but I did not want to detour too far from the original draft. I then went back to Adobe Illustrator to use AI assistance to craft a graphic to represent the new story. I did this whole process several more times with many different animals in many different absurd scenarios. I was just running with the experience of creating for creativity’s sake.


It took me about a week to really understand what I should do with it. I decided to completely brand the stories to parlay into a podcast. I created a logo, chose a color pallet, and I guided AI to do the rest. I fixed the graphics when AI could not do exactly what I imagined, and then I took all the pieces and branded the concept. I had two polished graphics, two polished stories, a logo with a complementing graphic, and a process I could repeat.


Here’s the opportunity: Come up with an absurd scenario involving the anthropomorphism of animals, paste scenario in to Chat GPT, edit the result, use Adobe AI to create characters and design elements, edit if needed, use those elements to craft the design, record then publish a podcast, and share on social media. A process that would be rather time consuming is reduced to a few hours.



In just a few days the podcast had over 100 downloads. I am not sure how to measure the success of this project or how much further I will take it. What I am aware of is that I have found a rough formula that could be applied to many subjects across many mediums. The increased productivity alone is astonishing. If inclined, one could take more time to improve the quality of the stories, but the graphic generation is high-quality content. Now comes the hard question: Am I the creator?


The questioning of who and what to credit will be an ongoing debate for some time. The premise of the stories and the strategic prompts came from me. It was my idea. I shaped and molded all the pieces together to form a cohesive concept and then crafted the project to completion. This is much like making my mother’s homemade pizza from her recipe; it is her recipe, all the ingredients were grown and produced from many different locations that I purchased from the store, after which I labored to follow the recipe but added a bit of a spicy kick to it with a special sauce and some jalapeños. It is my mom’s recipe, but it is my creation. The caveat is that when I take a selfie of me eating the pizza and post to Instagram, I am sure to credit my mother for the recipe.


Navigating the ethics of when and how to use AI is going to be complicated especially when there will be so many that do not consider the morality or ethical implications whatsoever. The assumption that the public will shortly believe that all content was generated at least in part by AI is probably an accurate prediction. Once everyone realizes that AI is embedded in all creative programs, AI becomes just another tool. Chat GPT still has some room to grow as a creative writer, but how long until it starts to feel just a bit less mechanical and a little more human? Graphics, art, and imagery on the other hand is pretty much a done deal in my opinion. Human empathy is still needed to craft effective design, but I fear AI is not far off from creating entire designs from text that require little to no tweaking. At that point, art becomes the prompt.


Moving forward, I will continue to teach the fundamentals of design and the technical skills required to use the Adobe programs. As well, I will include what I have learned about AI as I aspire to best practice guidelines for using AI in art and design. AI is here to stay and its exponential usage growth on top of the exponential growth of AI technology makes for a race towards an unknown and far off finish line. We must simply keep up. As I see no other choice but to continue searching for ways to utilize AI effectively and ethically, I suppose, I am All In.

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