Here’s what I have learned about AI. It’s great at throwing ideas out. It’s great at first steps. BUT. It takes an artist with talent to complete what’s needed and to make it world class.
When it comes to posters, I am no expert, BUT I did study design when younger and I understand some basics, such as fonts, logo design, balance of elements etc. Something so many screenwriters and filmmakers can get wrong when they self design. It’s NOT just words on a picture guys! I also wrote a post about movie posters sometime ago that still gets a couple thousand hits a day. You can read that HERE.
OK. MidJourney. Yeah I became aware of it earlier this year and posted about these images from an alternative JOKER here. Mind blowing.
So to today…
My friend Simon Cox has just re-issued one of his old horror movies, ‘Written in Blood’. As I am working on the second Augmented Creativity workshop with Bob Schultz (and part of that will be around rapid image creation for pitches), I thought, let’s see how quickly I can help Simon with a new poster image. One that feels more modern.
The idea was to spend no more than half an hour on it and to only use basic prompting, so that others who are more hesitant, can follow the process. This would then reveal what could be done with very little experience.
This post does’nt go all the way to a complete poster as human work is still needed to complete it. It’s more about creating that one killer image, and in a format so that it can be repuposed for posters that are landscape and portrait, as well as posts for all social media platforms and the myriad of sizes they require.
He already had some artwork that was produced years ago, and I personally felt it could use a refresh. So I just started prompting in MidJourney.
I began by uploading the original artwork to MidJourney to see what it would do when asked to re-interpret it.
The results were pretty rubbish, so I ditched that and went to simple prompts from scratch.
Here’s the first block from this prompt… /imagine foreground in graveyard, movie poster style, no text, night time London skyline, silhouette of man in foreground, –ar 16:9
This part oif the prompt, –ar 16:9, tells MidJourney to make the image 16:9 aspect ratio, so widescreen like a TV, as I knew Wimon would need wide art as well as vertical art.
Also note that MidJourney renders images as PNG files, so they have lossless compression, whcih I have also uploaded here so that you can see the full fidelity available. Also note, images are not that HI Res and I will show how I upres later in this post.
You will see I spent zero time making the prompt elegant or fully thought out. Remember MidJourney gives you four options, then you can work on one you like the most.
Ghost in the machine? What I have noticed with MidJourney is that somehow it kind of remembers what I have done in older prompts, and may integrate some of that in newer images it generates. It’s like a faint echo and it also may be my own imagination. But I don’t think so. Anyway, some of the imagery here does echo the oringal artwork.
I continued to tweak, more often than know, selecting one for the four images and reprompting using that selection as a starting point. After four more iterations, I zoomed out wider to get this image…
I contiuned to do many more iterations, all of this over a ten minute period or so, with Simon on the phone and me sharing images via messenger.
We made about 30 different versions in this 15 minute period. Then I suggested we switch to a graveyard. Here’s the first prompt for that and the resulting images…
/Imagine man walking away from camera in graveyard at night, spooky, moonlit, mist, cinematic –ar 16:9
Simon loved this image, though I thought it felt too photorealistic. I suggested we ask it to work in the style of legendary movie poster artist Drew Struzan, and this is what it came up with. Here’s the prompt…
/imagine in style of Drew Struzan, man walking away from camera in graveyard at night, spooky, moonlit, mist, cinematic –ar 16:9
So of course, the 15 minute test became an hour long image ‘creation adventure’ as we iterated and spun in other ideas. What I did discover is that MidJourney currently does not handle words well, so it could not do a movie poster logo.
I ended up doing a logo in Photoshop and laying in some text too. So it took some human artistry to move from a great image to a poster that we would recognise as one for a movie. I will let Simon share his final version when he is ready as it’s all over to him now.
But what about resolution? Ah yes. The images that MidJourney creates are great, but NOT quite hi res enough for all tasks. There are lots of tools that can do upresing an image, making a small image much bigger (using ‘AI’ to fill in the gaps). I used Topaz Gigapixel for it. I am a fan of the whole suite of Topaz tools, both for video and images. You can see the before and after below…
For me, MidJourney works best when you allow it to interpret more freely. Sure you can impact the tone and style very much, but it’s faster and the results are much better if you don’t micro manage it. Much like stock photos, you can spend a lifetime looking for an image that miatches the idea in your head, or three minutes that does the job brilliantly, just not exactly how you imagined it.
Remember, this is just a fraction of the workshop we are running about leveraging AI to accelerate your professional capabilities. You can read more a bout it HERE.
Dive into MidJourney now and get /imagine ing and share your results or thoughts below.