Oh my, this is fun

First things, first. I blame this on Cedar Sanderson. Cedar’s a friend, fellow author and another member of The Mad Genius Club. She is also an artist. Over the weekend, she blogged about a Discord-based ai that does art based on your input. Oh, my. I am having so much fun with it and am finally starting to get a handle on it. The “program” is Midjourney and you can find it here.

Before I get into the fun I’m having and showing an example or two, there is something everyone needs to be aware of when using Midjourney. First off, it offers a trial where you can do up to 25 images. I say up to because they have a rather interesting way of determining usage, so your mileage may vary. You can get around much of this by subscribing to the site. Here’s the basic breakdown:

From the webpage:

There are 2 mainstream plans: Basic for $10/month and Standard for $30/month. Standard benefits from having access to ‘relax’ time and more than 4 times as much ‘fast’ time: go here to learn more about ‘fast’ and ‘relax’ time. Both can add the Private visibility option for $20/month.

If you’re like me, it won’t take long to use up the 25 minutes because it is addictive fun as you try to find the right prompt phrases along with refining what you get. And, yes, for those of you who like Baen covers, you can use “Baen” as a prompt.

Now, for the second point I wanted to bring up. There is a potential for copyright problems if you use the images created by Midjourney for commercial purposes–like cover image elements. If you are operating under the Free Trial, you are granted a  Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License. In other words, you can use it to make money and you have to give attribution to Midjourney.

That’s pretty straight-forward. Things start getting a bit murkier with the paid accounts. Midjourney says “You basically own all Assets you create using Midjourney’s image generation and chat services.”

However, and you knew there had to be one, the ToS also says:

you grant Midjourney a “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at your direction.” In other words, even if you “create” a new piece of art, and you have all rights to use the images the service creates, Midjourney also keeps its own license to use your works, including sublicensing.

In other words, it gets to keep your work and license–and sublicense–it as well. Hence the murky waters and possible copyright issues down the road. It is why I would recommend if you use Midjourney, you use whatever you create as elements in a greater whole and do so with an eye toward being able to claim derivative work. Also, note when you created the object, your terms used, and all iterations of it, much like you should be doing with your written work.

Anyway, now for the fun. I’m in the process of reformatting a number of my books for print. That means looking at the covers and deciding if the current covers work or not. It also means looking at what sort of images I might need for promotional material. Since the series in most dire need of a print update is Nocturnal Lives/Nocturnal Awakenings, I decided to see what I could do with Midjourney for Mackenzie Santos. It was a means of seeing what I could do with people since that seems to be the most difficult to master with the app.

I entered the following prompt terms: beautiful woman wearing blue jeans and shirt, in the style of Jane Yellowrock. Here’s what I got back. And, to make sure I am in compliance with the ToS, this is all created with Midjourney and attribution is to it.

Here’s the first iteration. You get four images in response to your prompt.

All were interesting but not in enough detail for me. But, of the four, I chose the bottom left to work with. After choosing to upscale it, I got the following:

Better. A bit more detail. So what happens if I take the upscale all the way?

Even more detail and a larger image. I like it, but it isn’t Mac. However, it does fit another character from another series and can be used for her. But I need to get the appropriate license. Which I will do.

So here’s another try using a reference to Baen covers and space marines. Again, full attribution to Midjourney.

This was the first iteration. I chose the upper right to upscale and will post it shortly. However, I also tried the variation command and got this.

And here is the upscaled image from the first set of four.

All of that took less than five minutes. The ones with the woman above took slightly long, but still less than 10 minutes, as I played with the prompt phrasing.

Yes, I could spend all day playing with this.

But I won’t. Too many other things to do today. However, take a look at Midjourney. It is a lot of fun–once you figure it out. The site’s faqs are pretty good and there are some good videos on Youtube to help you along.

Until later.

About the author

Writer, proud military mom and possessed by two crazy cats and one put-upon dog. Writes under the names of Amanda S. Green, Sam Schall and Ellie Ferguson.

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