So, I’ve been slugging my way through a short story that is emotionally fraught. No place to fit in the prompt. What you’ve got instead is an exploration of styles available through the art AI tool, MidJourney. I use this heavily in my graphic design of various projects, and when something new comes out, I try to explore that and figure out how it’s going to improve my ability to deliver, or just have fun with it.
The prompt this week from ‘Nother Mike was: There were bullfrogs in the bathtub.
This image was generated with the original version of MidJourney I started playing with, back in August 2022. You can invoke it with –v 3 now, since it is no longer the default. It still has some fun features. It stinks on ice at anatomy, as you can see, but the surreal or impressionist styling is fun for some uses. It’s much more an illustration style, in this almost a collage, possibly pastels or colored pencil without any polish, showing that characteristic Midj noise.
Midj has moved on to –v 4 now, that being the default. In the last upgrade a day or so ago, two variations of version 4 were added. This happy little guy – unedited, note the extra fingers, nostrils, and that’s not a bullfrog, more of a treefrog – was produced with the modifier –v 4a and most of the results I’ve seen with this style follow these lines. More digital art looking, digital painting to be specific. Illustrator styling, almost comedic at times.
This, then, is the other style introduced in that upgrade. You can invoke this with the modifier –v 4b. The style tends towards more realistic, less polished, while still being a definite digital painting style. You’ll note that the unedited results are more anatomically correct on the frogs here, the faucet somewhat makes mechanical sense, unlike the v4a version. There are still oddities – the feet on the tub, the odd bits of green something on the floor. Perspective is decently rendered as well.
Finally, a render from the current default, which is actually v4c at this point. The anatomy is worlds better than the initial version, v3 above, while still being a little odd in places, in particular the tadpoles (?) below the tub in the flooded bathroom. As with all the V4 styles, it’s a digital painting look. You can invoke an oil painting look, nature photography, or other finishes by adding them into the prompt, which I chose not to on this exercise, so I could get a feel for what v4a and v4b offered me as variants.
If you’d like to take part in the weekly prompt challenge – it’s not always about writing fiction! – you can find the rules and responses to all the prompts over at More Odds Than Ends. For instance, I prompted Fiona Grey last week with “That’s when that spa showed up. You know, the one with the cephalopods.”