An Experiment in AI Art generation

This stuff is very interesting. People (actors or historical figures) can be combined with concepts and placed in a particular movie and probably genre. Changing, say, Alexsandr Potemkin (1933) to Nosferatu (1921) makes a huge impact on the type of images that are generated. It takes quite a while to generate a proper image and I find films with a highly distinctive visual style will return the best results. It is likely the amount of available images affect the outcome. It would be interesting to see if it can handle landscapes as well as persons.

Anyway, enjoy stills from Seibu sensen de hoshi ga moete iru (Stars are Blazing on the Western Front) a long-running opressive pre-cold war era tokusatsu masterpiece that never was.

The early seasons has both the Axis and Allied powers discover fragments of the Saikyō no chikara in the form of powerful crystals, the remains of a powerful Nature spirit that landed on earth 65.000 years ago. While the world trembles with the premonitions of WW2, both sides scramble to develop super-sentai weapons programs from the newly acquired artifacts, and soon the streets of Europe and Central Asia become the focal point of not only the deadly cat and mouse game of military espionage, but the far more lethal pyrotechnics of technologically augmented Martial Arts!

The elite officers of the Donnerfaust-Kommando are the first to receive the benefits of the Axis Super-Sentai weapons program

In Se04E05 (‘A Fury Splintering Marble’) The SchwartzerblitzSchockangriffsgeschwader occupy Vienna in search of an ancient Teutonic martial arts tract. Can the men of the Allied Megaforce stop them in time?

Oberst Wallenstein is a recurring enemy of the Allied Megaforce and a formidable warrior in his own right, a master of HEMA, Elite Tiger tank driver and inventor of the EisernHammerschlag

First introduced in Se04E17 (‘Nuremburg, Crucible of the Five!’) the Adler-Fünf combine the Super Sentai martial-arts prowess with secretive occult powers and a five hundred year breeding program that would render them all but invulnerable to conventional weapons and martial arts techniques. A crystal-enhanced fire-bombing would eventually end four of the five.

The eccentric millionaire inventor Gerard Cline lobbies hard for the Super Sentai weapons program, and eventually convinces a reluctant Rooseveldt to give him the funding needed to develop one. The radiation of the Saikyō no chikara twists him in both body and mind, and his role as erratic genius and the moral duality of his mentor role is part of the show’s long-lasting appeal.

Eniguma (エニグマ) exists at first as a mysterious presence occasionally glimpsed by both the Megaforce and its opponents during particularly epic battles. After S04E18 (‘A Valkyrie born from the Blood of Heroes’) it is given an Orichacum shell capable of containing its energy by a joint Axis/Allied research program. This backfires in S06E05 (‘Wrath of the Goddess, Death of the Heroes’) when it rampages across eastern europe in an indestructable monstrous chassis. Only the combined might of all Super Sentai teams on the planet eventually kills the creature in an epic showdown in and above the streets of Vilnius.

Johnny America plays one of the Fifty two members of the Allied Megaforce from SE05 onward, and would have an illustrious career as a gunslinger, kick-boxer and expert equestrian. His shining moment when he cattle-rustles the Uberpferden from the Axis elite Superheavy Dragoon regiment is fondly remembered to this day, as is his catchphrase ‘Because I’m Freedom, Pardner’.

Helmut Kriegsmann is in charge of the Axis Super Sentai weapons program and the first to undergo the morphic process. His resulting permanent transformation into Menschenjäger Z would see him become the early season’s primary antagonist, after Adolf Hitler himself.

Unsatisfied with Rooseveldt’s reluctance to pursue the possibilities of Saikyō no chikara, Winston Churchill uses his connections within both the British aristocracy and the international monetary system to fund his personal Super Sentai weapons program Brightflame, unbeknownst to Members of Parliament and the British public.

Unlike the tentative Rooseveldt, Churchill is ruthless in his adoption of Saikyō no chikara, and the volatility of both the equipment and temperament of the early Brightflame operatives is a recurring element throughout Season 4.

Athough he would frequently attend briefings with Axis High command, the series would only allude to the awesome power of Menschenjäger Z until the season finale (SE04 ‘The Eagle with Nine Lives’) where he would face off against a hit team of all the Megaforce captains. The above manifestation is his third of six forms.

With the progression of the war causing a relentless push for better weapons, martial arts techniques and technologies, Churchill launches a new phase of project Brightflame. Codename Tetsu no kokoro (鉄の心 or Ironheart) would see the Brightflame operatives reinforced with automatons based on technology recovered from Eniguma. The ethical considerations of having a war waged by unfeeling automatons would eventually cause half of Brightflame to rebel. SE06E08 ‘Be still my Iron heart’ would see the destruction of Brightflame headquarters and the fall of its senior members at the hands of a combined taskforce of Brightflame and Ironheart senati warriors, and the last stand of the original cast remains one of the most moving moments in the entire series to this day.

The fifth season was highly controversial, with Hitler’s 9th and last clone escaping the grasp of the Allied Megaforce yet again and succesfully penetrating the barrier surrounding The Hollow Earth. He soon allies with the Subterranians, the race of half-mechanical demons that destroyed both Mu, Lemuria and Hyperborean Thule! Only operative Vsevedushchiy, the Soviet Union’s psychic Lenin android and a small band of dissident Subterranians can hope to stand any chance of defeating him.

By the time the 15th season rolled around the timeline had advanced to the year 5000 A.D. and the war continued unabated in the corridors, vaulted halls and factories of the Ecumenopolis of Earth Z. Augmented men fight machines that desire to become human, but who is who in this haunting vision of a nightmare future?

Season Seven Dosei no chi no akai suna (‘The Blood Red Sand of Saturn’) saw record viewership. The american superspy Dirk Daring (Orson Welles) is caught by Hitler’s teleportation ray and whisked off to far off Saturn. Here he is embroiled in an ancient blood feud between the Houses of the Grail and the Order of the Blue Flame. Both sides have received the boon of the alien hypertech, but have used it only for warfare and glory. Dirk Daring must survive a dreadful gauntlet of Duels, Assassins, Intrigue, Chivalric honor, Arranged marriage and Medieval War! And who is the mysterious Lord Pures Blutt, his foil and opponent? Could it be…?

With the end of the war drawing the attention of the japanese public away from science fiction and the hope of a better future and into postwar horror and depression, the series came to reflect this. Der Blutsauger is by far the most terrible opponent the Allied Megaforce had ever faced, and his coterie of Horrors, each with a lengthy backstory reflecting some element of original sin or societal evil, was a weekly terror for audiences around the globe. Its cast of tormented Protagonists would not only die during the course of the show, but would often be crippled or driven mad by the terrors they faced. The stylistic choice to render the entire series as a silent picture made the appearance of Der Blutsauger all the more horrific. The decision to end the series by having the primary antagonist destroyed with an atomic bomb after a nightmarish fight scene in the catacombs on the dark side of the moon perhaps reflected that at long last, the audience had reconciled themselves with the horror and trauma of the second world war, and the healing could begin.

The series would continue with Sentai Island, which was considered by many to have jumped the shark, despite the inclusion of starlet Marlyn Monroe as Sheeba, Queen of Sentai Island. With everything from demonic pacts, super-science, a secret order of Anti-Sentai warriors to a Growing Formula becoming part of this season’s already convoluted mythology, it did not take long before the season became virtually incoherent, and the ever growing cast of bizarre side-characters combined with the unprecedented episode length (4 hours) did little to fix the problem.

The first seasons (アトランティスのための戦争 Atorantisu no tame no sensō i.e. War for Atlantis) are mostly lost, taped over with propaganda footage during the second world war. Digital reconstruction and new quantum imaging techniques have uncovered some of the earlier episodes. Taking place on the legendary continent of Mu, the distant ancestors of all world leaders form the elite warriors of the Burūgādo, who seek to avenge themselves upon the villainous Daiyamondogādo for an ancient sleight. The Traitor General Zaiben unveils his new weapon, terrifying floating fortresses against which even the Saikyō no chikara is no match. Breathtaking cinematography, never before seen fight-choreography, poetic dialogue and legions of extras still make these seasons a sight to behold.


19 thoughts on “An Experiment in AI Art generation

  1. I’ve been experimenting a lot with AI image generation lately, so I can tell that this project is incredibly inspired. It can be really hard to get exactly what you want; entering the best prompt is itself almost an art form. Was this with midjourney? I’m constantly impressed with what I see people generating on that server. Some of it is mind-blowing.

    Also, is this your project? If so, bravo! I mean, not only is the art amazing, but the concept itself is super-cool. I would love to hear about the process, what kinds of prompts were used, etc. It must have taken a while to get all of this. I’ve been trying to generate some art for my upcoming adventure, and getting what I want takes A LOT of trial and error.


  2. Around a month ago, there was a guest on Tenkar’s Tavern Talking Crit Live, Alice “Lalla” Peng, who creates AI Art. She explains what she does: it does seem skilled work, with interesting results.


  3. Wow, I’ve played a bit with DALL-E but got nowhere near your results. What program are you using? I second Kent’s question, I’d like to get better at this. And yeah, such a cool concept/plotline!
    It’s becoming clear to me that AI-generated art is going to be a huge, transformative deal. Right now we’re in the ‘uncanny valley’ stage — there are always creepy imperfections on close examination — but I have no doubt engineers will solve that problem, there’s just so much money to be made by getting it right.
    And, I agree , love the plotline/narrative you put together for this! Would make a great basis for a campaign.


  4. I used Stable Diffusion, which is free.

    I have no idea how the AI works but I assumed it would compare what you typed in against some sort of vast database, some of which would be junk, so the more specific you got the closer it would get. ‘Power Ranger Orson Welles’ in and of itself is not enough to get to any of the images above. The program is spotty. So, the first thing I did was figure out how to get the machine to work with a monochrome palette, and use shapes that are more forgiving of assymetry.

    What I discovered is that if you add the suffix ‘in’ and then a movie name (like, say, “Alexander Nevski(1938)” the program actually tries to suit the images to the style and theme of the film by some sort of weird fucking voodoo. Selecting, say, Schindler’s List will get radically different results from Ong Bak 2. The bulk of the images were generated using ‘Power Ranger Adolf Hitler/Orson Welles/Vladimir Lenin/Winston Churchill’ as a source, and combined with films with a distinctive visual style like Alexander Nevsky, King Kong, Nosferatu, Citizen Kane, Metropolis, The Wizard of Oz, The Longest Day, Stalker and Schindler’s List. The signal to noise ratio is still not great so expect to churn through quite a few slides. Its about maximizing weird strengths and minimizing weaknesses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very good. I imagine it will become a favourite stomping ground for artists looking to generate reference material which they will then transform with traditional media.


    2. Midjourney is also free I believe and I always like the results from that AI the best. I myself haven’t tried it yet, god knows I wish I needed some art but I dropped all creative endeavors.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really like midjourney as well, but it’s only free for a trial. Once you create a certain number of images (100?), you have to pay $10/month. I am currently subscribed just because I like it so much. But it’s a devil to coax out exactly what you’re looking for, so maybe Stable Diffusion is better for that? Maybe I’ll give that a try.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. After additional experimentation, I don’t quite know how the AI can capture faces but it seems to have immense trouble rendering some faces (like say, Jerry Seinfeld (consistent but uncanny, the eyes seem glued on) or Sam Hyde (inconsistent)), while some others, like Vladimir Lenin, Tom Cruise, Che Guevara and Adolf Hitler, are remarkably stable. I wonder if this has something to do with sample size, physiognomy or a combination with the backdrop.


    1. Maybe it has to do with public domain pictures and artworks? I mean, there sure is more art of Lenin than Seinfeld, and he’s also less interesting to the paparazzi than Cruise, I assume.


  6. Several of these images look excellent, I particularly like the painted masked villains, the helmetoids less so. My instinct is that as time passes these early AI impressions will look like collage the more we see of them, i.e. unfinished and unacceptable as artwork. I have never been won over by CGI and prefer the reviled rotoscope technique to this day – the Bakshi LotR is a masterpiece – there you have an engine galloping beneath the artist.

    I suspect that the AI will excel at generating variations of natural random phenomena like rocks & mountains & forests & deserts & clouds & cityscapes.


  7. I wish there was a way for every reader to give you feedback on the images by clicking on them, The monkey stuff is great IMO, the identifiable actor/actress not so good.

    A Giant Monkey King with a grotesque crown, guarded by hitler-moustachioed human bravos with fierce white painted faces — now there is a scenario in that.

    I would like to see more architecture. That is what I would focus on myself.


    1. Architecture like doors, stairs etc. is equally dynamic, I’ve done some experimentation. I think the trick is to find several evocative styles (I prefer movies but other art could suffice) and then simply ask for doors or stairways or other features or if possible ask for archetypal imagery that will prove consistent over multiple requests.


  8. Fascinating to see what can be done with a bit of creativity. I’m excited to see what this technology does for small publishers. The operating costs to have visuals just got so much lower. Given how quickly images can be made, I wonder if this will change animation? I could easily see ai being used to quickly create scene outlines and then an artist can do some tracing to make an of scene. Some of the ai can be asked questions such as “how many fighting age males are in a 15th century French village?” And radically call t down on time performing research.


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