Red Roses: AI generated vs Digitally Illustrated

Today some of my fellow designers asked me for a side by side comparison between AI generated surface patterns and digitally illustrated surface patterns. I thought it would be fun to write a response with contributions from an AI writing tool.

Me: As the conversation about the use of AI continues, I suggested learning as one way designers can alleviate fears about this new technology. For myself, I found that testing out the tools and discovering their strengths and limitations has helped me to keep perspective, and make choices that work for me in my creative process.

Frase IO: When it comes to creating digital images, AI can be a powerful tool. AI generated images offers designers the ability to produce high-quality visuals with minimal effort, which is especially useful for quickly creating visuals on tight timelines. In comparison, digitally illustrated images are created by hand and offer much more flexibility for expressing a designer’s unique vision and creativity.

Ruby Red Roses

Me: Here are two examples of repeating patterns featuring roses. The first ‘Ruby Red Roses’ was created using Midjourney AI, in the winter of 2022. After generating many unusable images of roses, I chose to work with this one. It required a significant amount of editing before it was ready to publish, at the time Midjourney AI repeating tile images were not truly seamless, so, in photoshop, I used the clone tool and blending brushes to erase the seams. I also adjusted colors and brightness, removed obvious errors like red leaves and green petals, and applied blending filters. The process took me about 5 hours.

Frase IO: In comparison to a digitally illustrated image of the same theme, Ruby Red Roses, the AI generated image is not as aesthetically pleasing and definitely not as detailed. Digitally illustrated images are created with more precision than AI generated images because they are hand-crafted and can be altered and adjusted to the artist’s liking. A digitally illustrated image might have intricate details like shadows, textured brushstrokes, and more complex color palettes. It would take much longer to create than an AI generated image, but the outcome is usually more visually appealing and custom tailored to the designer’s vision.

New York State Flower Roses

Me: The second example is ‘New York State Flower Roses’ a digital illustrated pattern that I created in Adobe Photoshop by drawing with my WACOM cintiq. This process started with photographing reference images, sketching, choosing a style and then painting each color in a separate layer. It took me about a month to create. 

Frase IO: A comparison of AI generated images vs Digitally illustrated images is an interesting topic to explore. On one hand, AI generated images can be created quickly with the help of algorithms and machine learning technology. They often have a unique abstract look that is different from traditional digital illustrations. AI generated images can also be used for a variety of purposes such as for advertising campaigns, social media posts, or even wallpaper. On the other hand, digitally illustrated images are crafted by hand and can be customized to accommodate a designer’s vision in ways that AI generated images cannot. They also tend to be more visually pleasing and aesthetically pleasing than AI generated images. Ultimately, it depends on the project and goals of the designer as to which type of image is best suited for their needs.

Me: The Ruby Red Roses pattern is limited in size, as you can see in these wallpaper mock ups of the largest scale possible achieved with these pattern tiles. I am also able to change the colorway of the New York Roses because it is illustrated in layers.

Frase IO: When comparing AI generated images and digitally illustrated images, the results can be quite different. AI generated images tend to have a more simplistic, uniform look that can often appear robotic. Digitally illustrated images, on the other hand, are more intricate and often have a hand-crafted feel that creates more dynamic visuals.

In terms of practical application, the AI generated pattern can be used more quickly and efficiently for large scale production. It is suitable for web designs, packaging, textiles and other applications that require a repeating image in multiple sizes. On the other hand, the hand-illustrated pattern offers more control over color palette and detail as well as scalability. It is better suited to projects that require a more detailed, customized look.

In conclusion, the decision to use either AI generated or hand-illustrated images is one that requires careful consideration and depends on the project. Each type of image has its advantages and disadvantages, and understanding their strengths can help designers make the right choice for their projects.

  1. Kathleen Howard says:

    I think both are lovely in different ways.

    • Ronya Lake says:

      Yes. It’s worth noting that the AI technology has changed in the months since I worked with it. I’m curious to see what people are making today.

  2. Wow! The generated roses look pretty good. I’ve been playing with AI a little. I became curious as to writing the prompts. For me it seemed like doodling. It generated some interesting images that gave me new ideas. — much like seeing an interesting pattern in shadows etc. Also i think it can help me choose better descriptive tags.

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