For a long time, I have been experimenting with MidJourney as a way to test the generative AI waters. There's a lot that can happen when a machine interprets a series of descriptors and is asked to generate something akin to desirable on the other end.
Recently, I have enjoyed the daily theme channel for MidJourney, which uses Discord server channels for communicating with their models (instead of a web page like Bard, or OpenAI's tools do).
Each day, a theme is set and the community uses that theme to drive the creative juices within the channel. This can have some great results, and also some rather funny ones. Examples of recent themes include:
- Office Horus
- Constellation Map
It's this last one, arboreal, that I write about today, as it became the genesis of something interesting. My long-time tea buddy, LazyLiteratus, turned me on to the
--style flag which can be appended to the
--niji with MidJourney version 5. The Niji flag, or suffix, is a particular version of MidJourney designed to generate Japanese Animation (anime) style content. And, I have to say, it does a good job.
Using the "arboreal" theme, and the Niji bot, with the "scenic" Niji style, I generated an idea for a new anime show called the Secret Arboreal Fan Club. As a long-time anime fan, this title seems entirely within the realm of what a real show could be named.
Creating the Secret Arboreal Fan Club
Here are a few of the results for the following prompt.
Now LLM models, like the ones used by MidJourney, react to each change you make to text you feed it. If I were to change just one of the words or remove the punctuation, I might get notably different results.
Here, I wanted to convey that there's a group of people (probably middle or high school students) who have some connection to arboreal (forested) settings. I think MidJourney did a good job with this initial prompt.
But, we're not done! Let's upgrade our Secret Arboreal Fan Club to have some airships! Because, who doesn't like good airships, am I right?
As a longtime fan of anime, I have a favorite artist, Yoshitoshi Abe, and so, I've asked MidJourney to match or approximate his unique qualities. Abe-san actually has airships in some of his work, so this ask shouldn't be a stretch.
Here are several examples using the prompt indicated above.
Alright! Now this has the makings of a show I might actually watch. Some interesting-looking characters, and a cool and curious world.
But we're still missing some things. What might our intrepid group of arboreal misfits need to build a compelling world that draws us in? Why, conflict, of course!
It's pretty hard to buy into a story, without meeting the characters. It took some time and learning to draw emotion out of the body language and expressions of the characters, but I think I was able to round things out nicely.
When generating characters for a story, there's some process involved. As with anything, jumping headfirst without some planning will bring a lot of grief later when things need to be reworked.
Let's start with our venerable chaperone. Most of the cast are middle-school or high-school students. We need a leveled mind to move the group in the right direction and act as arboreal sensei. Just wait until you see what he can do!
Akiko is our spunky, friendly leader. She founded the Secret Arboreal Fan Club. She's friendly, forthright, loyal, and honest. She'll defend all members of the club with every ounce of love and energy she has.
Shinya is our resident aloof grumbler. Everything is inconvenient. But, he knows his stuff, and you can depend on him when it counts.
Renata is our quiet bookish, and studious team member. When she says something or asks a question, it's always meaningful.
Hiro is our emotional buddy. He has a seemingly innate sense of what plants are experiencing. He knows when they're hurting, or thriving. On occasion, this happens with people too. He can sometimes get melancholy.
Kaede is the youngest member of our troupe. Bubbly and effusive, she loves people more than plants. But she loves the Secret Arboreal Fan Club.
Emma is not Japanese. Though she's never lived outside Japan. She's our obsessive hard worker. She never gives up, and she's full of passion for everything she puts her mind to.
No anime is complete without some kind of special companion for the group. It could be a normal pet, a magical creature, some kind of spirit, or another person.
In our case, Kodo is the club's friendly magical Tarsier. He's adorable, yes, but very alert. He travels with the crew and makes sure they're always aware of dangers.
There's too much to cover in this one post. I'll be adding more content for our intrepid crew in the upcoming weeks.
Our next posts will cover the character bios for the group, as well as work through setting up and visualizing some of the conflicts and challenges they will need to overcome as members of The Secret Arboreal Fan Club.
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