I just got back in the studio from a 10-day vacation before schools starts. I went to MN to hang out at a cabin on a lake. Very peaceful and relaxing. I read, slept, paddled boarded and played with some watercolor and digital art. I am ready to hit school, coaching Cross Country, launching the magazine and the Summit. I also want to introduce a monthly art contest/challenge. This will be in conjunction with DAGR Magazine. What I am looking for is fusion artistry. Not an image that AI spit out. An image that you may have used AI or your own image initially, then you re-worked it with your technique and voice. The re-work could be with digital only but I would love to see AI, digital and traditional media combined. I will give more clarification on guidelines next week but for now you can just submit images to topimages at msn dot com. For the next 40 days or so the theme is "AI Renaissance": Combine the power of AI-generated elements with traditional artistry to create modern masterpieces inspired by the timeless elegance of the Renaissance era.

This is going to be a great month. Buckle up!

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh

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Van Gogh 1-Unaltered Image Taken on my Iphone at the Van Gogh Immersive Experience Denver

One of the articles I saw this week gave me hope. MIT Unleashes PhotoGuard – Could This Help Us Protect Our Images?

As much as I love playing with AI, AND I am dedicated to figuring out how to use it in my creative workflow for business and art…there is still the elephant in the room regarding how it was initially trained. MIT’s current research could help with those challenges moving forward. These algorithms absorb information from the vast expanse of the internet and spew out content influenced by everything they've gobbled up. If you're an artist or photographer who finds their hard work copied without so much as a “may we” or “thank-you” or, heaven forbid you appear in a photograph, only to find an AI re-imagining your likeness doing something stupid, that is a problem.
Thankfully, students at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have come to the rescue with a dazzling new tool known as "PhotoGuard." This tool is like a superhero for your images, swooping in to protect them from malicious editing and unauthorized tinkering.
So, how does this work? Well, the secret lies in the smallest building blocks of an image - the “pixel." PhotoGuard subtly tweaks these pixels in a way that's utterly undetectable to humans, but it manages to confuse AI. It deploys two methods: the "Encoder attack" makes AI unable to comprehend what it's gazing at, while the "Diffusion attack" works a tad differently. It causes AI to see an image as something entirely different, rendering any edits it attempts utterly unrealistic and entirely useless.
Even though PhotoGuard is pretty impressive, it's not entirely foolproof, as MIT's doctoral student and lead author, Hadi Salman, admits. But it is a step in the right direction in my opinion - what if the companies responsible for these AI models offered APIs to "immunize" other people's photos? Imagine it like a protective shield for your images, guarding them from unwanted AI mischief and ensuring that artists, photographers, and all creative souls get the respect they rightfully deserve. A great start I think.

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Van Gogh 2. Unaltered image taken on my cell phone at Van Gogh Immersion Experience

As we know in the world of digital imagery, things can get a little sticky, just like that time when Getty Images went toe-to-toe with Stability AI, all because they allegedly copied a staggering 12 million+ images without asking for permission or, paying a fair share. Most of us have likely been ripped off before. I have had my images on a billboard, stock images stolen and I even found my courses and backgrounds free on a torrent site once.
So, while we eagerly await the grand release of PhotoGuard, let's take a moment to celebrate MIT's latest triumph, a boon for artists, photographers, and anyone who cherishes their visual creations. If PhotoGuard comes to market, you can rest easy, knowing at least that there is work being done so in the future your images may be safe from AI. In the meantime if you are using AI for stock imagery for your creations don’t use an artists name in your prompt. If it is a master artist that passed away long enough ago for their work to be in public domain, that MIGHT be a different story. Here is the original story from MIT's tech Review.

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Van Gogh 3. Unaltered image taken on my cell phone at Van Gogh Immersion Experience

News and Play Items

Chromatic Lens: "Elevate Your Product Photography: Enhance with Custom Backgrounds, Styling, and More". This is an AI aimed at creating product photography. Those of you who are amazing commercial product photographers may have a different take on this than I do. I personally want to know about as many apps that are coming as possible so I can stay abreast of changes and figure out how to work with them instead of against them.

AI Logo Art (Product)
AI logo art transforms your logos into stunning art with AI.

Other Resources
Ethan Hawkes awesome Ted Talk. I am going to show this to my students the first week of school. I love Ted talks.

“To express yourself, first you have to know yourself.” A powerful truth.
Digital Art Goes Rogue Summit Launch is coming!
The kick-off for Digital Art Goes Rogue Summit will be August 20 with Darrell Chitty teaching first. A schedule and the site should be open next week.

Digital Art Goes Rogue Magazine is launching also in August. I am hoping for the 13th of August. It should be fun. It is a free magazine and will focus on the merging of digital media, traditional media and AI technology.

Have an amazing week!