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Easter egg, matte painting

AI-generated Easter eggs: Yes, it’s possible and here’s how you can design one yourself

It’s Easter and that can mean only one thing, tech companies like Google often introduce easter egg products on April Fools Day. While Google has an in-house team and a number of engineers to work on these ideas, you can get on with the action too – with the help of AI.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be used in a number of ways and all it takes as a starting point is a dataset. You can use AI to find easter eggs in products from tech companies or those embedded in their websites. Or, as Janelle Shane decided to use AI, put the intelligence of an algorithm to good use and design AI-generated easter eggs.

Can AI decorate an Easter egg?

Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs used for the feast of Easter, which celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. In Central and Eastern Europe, people continue to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, staying true to the old tradition. In modern custom, people in some places use chocolate eggs wrapped in coloured foil as a substitute.

People also use hand-carved wooden eggs, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. Now, whether you are planning to paint a chicken egg or use a hand-carved wooden egg, you will need a design to make your Easter egg stand out. An image generating AI, like OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, can help.

It is important to note that DALL-E 2 is still not widely available and to use the AI program, you will need to sign up for access here. DALL-E 2 is an upgraded version of OpenAI’s original image generating AI that can create realistic images and art from a natural language description. In simple terms, DALL-E 2 does not produce images that look cartoony but instead images that are more true to life than before.

If you don’t want to join the waitlist, Shane has a method that is simpler and easier to execute. For her AI-generated easter eggs, Shane used an image generating model from Midjourney, which combines OpenAI’s CLIP model with an “ever-changing mix of image generation methods.”

Easter Eggs
Easter Eggs, Acrylic on Canvas | Image Credit: Janelle Shane

All you need to do is give a phrase to the AI tool, and Midjourney will optimise the image to match the phrase to the best of its ability. For example, Shane entered the term “Easter eggs, acrylic on canvas” for her experiment.

The AI image generation tool immediately understood that Easter eggs are colourful and egg-shaped but the use of modifiers like “acrylic on canvas” acts as a signal to the AI that the final images must be, as Shane puts it, “nice artsy picture please”.

Significance of a modifier

The experiment to use an AI image generation tool to design easter eggs also shows the significance of a modifier. Shane writes that one of the challenges with using CLIP to generate images is that it delivers a number of “crummy pictures” as results in its online examples.

Easter egg, matte painting
Easter egg, matte painting | Image Credit: Janelle Shane

As a result, it is important to use a good modifier to get some unique results with your AI renders. For the second set of results, Shane is using a modifying phrase like matte painting and the AI offers results that are “epic enough to fit in with giant landscapes”.

Since AI learns from your habit, Midjourney’s image generating tool started delivering egg-themed eggs as a result after a point. It is not clear whether AI is actually thinking that offering egg-themed eggs, as a result, is a good idea or it is over optimising for the queries from the user. The latter seems like a more likely answer to this situation.

Ukraine flag collage
Ukraine flag | Image Credit: Janelle Shane

You can show your solidarity with the Ukrainian people by asking AI to generate designs with the Ukrainian flag. The experiment by Janelle Shane shows how image generating AI has gotten better over time and is capable of delivering results that one might actually use. However, if you are decorating an Easter egg with the help of AI this Easter, we would recommend you be honest about it. Happy Easter and God bless!

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