Artist creates AI “time machine” to take hilarious selfies “in the past”
AI has been used for all sorts of different art projects so far, but we have never seen an AI time machine. Well, not until now. An anonymous artist has created one using AI technology and paired it with lots of knowledge, effort, and time to create amusing selfies “from the past.” His imaginary persona is called “Stelfie the Time Traveler,” and the artist shared with DIYP a bit about his process and about Stelfie himself.
From the drawings on a cave wall, art has been develpping and changing through history. “Each Era has had its own debates, its own masters, its own shapes,” the artist writes. “2022 has seen the rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) applied to Art, [which] has created different views in the various communities so Stelfie (and his creator ) decided to approach the topic in a funny way.”
As I mentioned, Stelfie’s creator doesn’t only write a few prompts and ends up with a result he shares online. In fact, some of his selfies require as many as 15 hours to reach their final form. It’s a joint effort of the artist and the program; the real and the artificial intelligence working together. The artist explains his process, revealing that he starts with a 3D software. he takes a few photos with the model in different poses and with different facial expressions. Then, he feeds these photos to a Dreambooth model, fine-tuning it multiple times until he achieves a result that’s realistic enough.
After all this, he starts the creation process using Stable Diffusion. But it’s still far from being done: he takes the image to Photoshop for some edits, and then loops back Stable Diffusion and Photoshop until the result is perfect.
“To me it is very important to have a clear idea of all the elements that are needed in a scene. This is essential to have natural and coherent lighting,” the artist explains. “Even if img2img can harmonize lighting quite well, if an element is missing in a scene and needs to be added later on it will require, at least from my experience, an extremely long time to match perfectly.”
“Sometimes I draw a sketch on a piece of paper to help me figure the final scene out. here is 0% chance to prompt all the elements of a scene and have it ready to go. The initial prompts are needed to create several rough versions of the environment. Once a good angle is achieved the outpainting and inpainting process starts. All the elements are added (in a very rough way) through Inpaint.”
Getting a rough version of the artwork could take between one and three hours, and the overall process of fine-tuning the details lasts from three to 15 hours, or even more. Stelfie’s creator recently shared a part of his process, which I personally found very interesting to see:
As a project, Stelfie the Time Traveler has several purposes, and each of them can make you think. First of all, his creator wants to prove that combining good artistic skills with good (and ethical) use of AI technology can unfold an entirely new branch to add at the art evolution progress.
But as the artist reveals, Stelfie’s real purpose is an invitation to reflect on something much more profound:
“Stelfie goes back and messes up with the past claiming he had an active part into the creation of the Mona Lisa of Leonardo or he helped Colombus to discover America. He met Darwin, Ulysses, helped Van Gogh, shaved Dalí’s mustaches and talked with many other amazing people. Essentialy and paradoxically he has been one of the reason your present looks like it is.”
In other words, Stelfie makes us remember that we are here because of the way the past events took place. “Every action we do and every word we say will shape our tomorrow.” This is why Stelfie wants you to fully enjoy the moment you are living in now, but at the same time, stay aware of the fact that it’s up to all of us to not mess up our future!
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.