Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Alien Depicts the Alien

Humanity's own creations can be as opaque and threatening to us as any beast from another star. Who now sits before a computer or an easel who does not feel at least a little trepidation that these latest machines, which can write without thinking and paint without feeling, might rob them of the chance for a dignified income?

I doubt that day will come any time soon.

I recently completed a trio of generators which are variously alien-themed, and quite like the imagery for the aliens I came up with for them:

Lacking much artistic ability, I got one of those aforementioned machines to generate images based on my descriptions of these aliens, thinking it would make for a neat post. Unfortunately, most of these images were unimpressive, to say the least. Therefore I am still making that post, but adding my own drawings for descriptions where the generated images disappoint.


For an artist using AI for actual art instead of Artstation-knock-off pictures of women with bare midriffs and dragons, check out the work of friend of the blog Everythings.


"velvet worms whose front ends dissolve into a nest of eyestalks and tentacles"

"two daddy longlegs fused back-to-back, with manipulating digits on the ends of their legs"

This one's alright, but maybe the rest have made my standards too low.

"crabs with a trilateral body shape, stretched along the vertical axis"

"beaked, furless, four-armed rats"

They're four-armed rats. 2/4.

"headless vivisected bluefin tuna"

If you look closely, you may notice that this tuna HAS A FUCKING HEAD.

"a cross between a pyramidal tortoise and a stalk of broccoli, branching digits peeking out from shifting slats of shell"

"slithering eyeless eel-mermaids"

"something with the front half of a squid and the back half of a crocodile. Where tentacles should be there are uncomfortably human-like arms"

"spiny, colourful sea-slugs that extrude and reabsorb slimy pseudopods"

Yeah. Whatever. Fine.

"bidepal giraffes with dexterous fingers lining their arms and faces like x-mouthed seahorses"

You so much as mention an animal in another room and this machine will give you some uncanny distortion of it that has nothing to do with the rest of your prompt.

"a ring of two-trunked elephant heads on top of a bear-like body"

Oh great, a hairy elephant. Doesn't even have two trunks. Weak!

"starfish with the proportions of gibbons, and distended sensory/digestive organ sacs at the tips of their top arms"

...this is just a starfish...

"skinless ferrets that wriggle and twist together into colonial swarms"

Fair enough, I didn't really want to see skinless ferrets anyways.

"Donald Duck if he had a horrific body-wide fungal infection"

Not a fungus to be seen!

"metallic jellyfish with manifold straw-thin limbs and escutcheon-shaped bodies"

Doesn't look like any escutcheon I've ever seen.

"termites that evolved into the niche and general body shape of penguins. They’ve got grasping claws on the tips of their flippers"

Nope! Not even close! Kind of cute though.

"hairy pterodactyls that walk on their wings and manipulate objects with their feet and fleshy lips"

"eight-limbed gorillas with a head like a cross between a rose blossom and an anemone. A hive of symbiotes nests within their petals"

"a centaur, if instead of a man and a horse it was a mantis and a newt that were hybridized"

This machine can't do hybrid animals. Impossible creatures, a game from 2003, could do them. Sad!

"mounds of fuzzy folds almost like a pug’s face, only they’re the size of a sofa"

Ok... those are some fuzzy folds.

"is somewhere between an angel and a bedsheet ghost, winged and diaphonous, with a halo of glowing tendrils around their "head""

Pretty middle of the pack.

"is remarkably humanoid, albeit crucified on the stranger angles of space-time - four limbs, an upright stance, and a head bearing sensory organs impossibly bent, squashed, elongated, inverted, and otherwise distorted in ways that hurt the eyes to look at and the brain to consider"

You could paint this and put it in a gallery. I was in one the other week. They'll put up some real bedwetter dogshit.

"resembles a cluster of pale bioceramic scissors linked by fleshy red ligaments"

It got the colour and the scissors parts right.

"is an elastic, translucent purple membrane filled with free-floating, modular bones and muscular systems that they can consciously rearrange into new configurations"

It's goop but it forgot the bones.

"is spindly, iridescent trees with fractally-branching roots and branches"

Good enough.

"resembles tadpoles with tentacles instead of tails, linked together like the segments of a siphonophore or grapes on a vine"


"crocodiles with the faces of presidents, hopping around like kangaroos"

This is genuinely the most sensible thing it made with this prompt. Become unalgorithmizable.

"glowing balls of light connected by sunbeams"

"a great black triangle that spoke through my bones"

It made a couple of actual black triangles but I liked the vibe of this image. This looks like something you'd hear in your bones.

"metal drums with red eyes and claws like a crab"

That'll do, pig. That'll do.

"an ocean of amniotic fluid with fetal leviathans swimming within"

"worms made of braided spines"

I don't really like this image but it's enough of a pain to draw braids, let alone braided spines. Guess me & the machine are both phoning it in on this one.

"onion-headed skeletons in silver jumpsuits"

You know you're in for a good time if these are the guys showing up to abduct you.

"one-eyed albino giants"

I guess they get albino trees too. Good for them.

"old-timey outfits with no one wearing them"

There's something off about this one... oh right, there's FUCKING PEOPLE in those OLD-TIMEY OUTFITS which I explicitly noted should have NO ONE WEARING THEM.

"angels made of tie-dye patterns"

This is another pretty good one.

"the wandering ghosts of dead stars"

It's alright. The machine's better with more abstract prompts. Still did my own take:

"pools of oil that could move and think on its own"

No moving or thinking to be seen. Fail!

"plastic mannequins with something dark and wet between their seams"

This could be an album cover for the grimiest music you've ever heard.

"like a whole bunch of purple shrimp tried to stack themselves into an even bigger shrimp"

Well, they're purple shrimp, and they're stacked. If anything this exceeded my expectations.

"entities made out of scents and memories instead of flesh and blood"

 These are actually the only good ones. Like I said earlier, better with abstract prompts.

"things with faces like a cluster of goat horns, and beaks on the ends of their tails"

Oh I mentioned goats guess that means all I want are goats.

"floating golden cubes that moved things without touching them"


"eyeless, earless hippoes with whole cities in their mouths"


"trees with hands for leaves and teeth in their roots"

No teeth, but it managed about four hands.

"upside-down octopi squeezed into an icecream cone"

You know what? This one's on me.