Google created an AI-powered nightmare creature generator
Google unveiled Chimera Painter, a web-based tool that allows anyone to generate terrifying cryptozoological entities in an interface that looks like MS Paint via Diablo. Why, you ask? Well, isn’t that obvious? No … no, I guess not.
Surely the strangest thing to hit Google’s AI blog for at least a month, the Chimère Peintre has in fact had something of a reason to exist. The team was looking for ways to speed up the creation of art for games, which is often fantastic and creative. An AI assistant capable of producing a reasonable image of a hunting owl bear, for example, could be of use to an artist seeking inspiration. In 2019 Nvidia released a similar tool to generate photorealistic landscape images.
To pursue this somewhat esoteric goal, the team naturally decided to build a whole fantasy digital card game where players combine animals and make them fight. So far, I think you’ll agree that’s pretty standard stuff.
Image credits: Google
The idea was that if there are a hundred animals in the game, and each can be combined with each other, it quickly makes a lot more combinations than any artist can expect to draw. But machine learning systems never complain and never charge you.
To create an AI agent capable of creating arbitrary creatures, the team first trained it on existing animals and their many parts by feeding the system thousands of CG creature images and corresponding images labeling their parts: claws, front of the leg, eyes, etc.
Soon the agent was able to generate plausible-looking animals from user-generated assemblies of parts, painting fur, skin, and other features based on how he learned. the appearance of “real” creatures. It is a generative adversarial network or GAN, which means that it is two working together: one generates an image, the other the criticism, then the first takes the feedback and generates again, and so right now.
Image credits: Google
Importantly, the system doesn’t blink (or should I say, dino-bat-hybrid one eye) when assembling labeled parts look nothing like a real animal. For all the Chimera Generator knows, there are dogs with chameleon heads, long noses, and unnecessary tiny wings. Why not?
And now I have to reverse my recent claim that Google lacks generosity because they have made the Chimera Painter available for everyone to play with. I have to warn you though, that it barely worked for me, allowing only the larger brushes and apparently choosing from a selection of cold cuts for its different textures.
Not that this was an obstacle to the execution of my vision:
Image credits: Devin Coldewey / Google
In conclusion, Google asks, “What can you create using machine learning like a brush?” Indeed, it seems that there is no limit. But maybe there should be.