AI Art Generators Have Finally Figured Out The One Thing That Kept Holding Them Back

Midjourney’s Version 5, which was released on March 16, represents a significant advancement for artificial intelligence (AI) image generators. With this latest update, the software can now produce human-like hands with all five fingers.

The newest version of Midjourney created this image with the prompt, “photograph of a woman artist in an artist’s studio holding her hands up.” (all edits Elaine Velie/Hyperallergic using Midjourney)

Until now, AI-generated images often had telltale signs that they were not created by humans, and one of the most prominent of these signs was the inaccurate depiction of hands.

Despite the impressive capabilities of AI image generators, hands remained a challenge, leading to articles and online tutorials aimed at helping users work around the issue. Even humorous posts about the problem surfaced on social media.

The newest version of Midjourney created these images from the prompt “a color digital camera photo of two Caucasian politicians shaking hands and smiling outside of the White House.” The program rendered a portrait of George H.W. Bush.

However, with the release of Midjourney’s Version 5, the problem has largely been eliminated. While the software may still occasionally produce anatomically incorrect images of arms and fingers, the overall quality of the hand renderings is a significant improvement that marks a milestone in the development of AI-generated images.

A viral Tweet yesterday, March 16, took a more sinister approach. “Just a heads-up — Midjourney’s AI can now do hands correctly. Be extra critical of any political imagery (especially photography) you see online that is trying to incite a reaction,” wrote @TheCartelDel, a self-described 3-D character specialist.

In response to @TheCartelDel’s tweet, one commenter pointed out that Midjourney’s new version five images are still “in the uncanny valley.” Hyperallergic encountered a few unsettling traits while testing the new update, such as the appearance of rubbery skin, but overall, the results looked much more realistic than their version-four counterparts.

Several viewers have been unable to differentiate between artwork created by artificial intelligence (AI) and human-made creations. This was demonstrated a few weeks ago when a well-known Instagram account claimed that their photographs were captured using a Nikon D810 camera, but in reality, they were generated by AI algorithms. Although the portraits did not include hands, they were still able to deceive viewers.

The technology of artificial intelligence (AI) generated images has been at the center of controversy lately due to concerns about potential deceitful use. While some viewers may be fooled by AI-generated images, artists are pushing back against software like Midjourney.

The hands created using Version 4 (above) appear gnarled and less realistic than the hands made using Version 5 (below). Both images were generated with the prompt “color photograph of man artist painting en plein air in New York City.”

They argue that the programs “scrape” the internet for existing imagery to create new works, raising concerns about plagiarism. In addition to creators, major companies have also expressed their concerns about AI-generated images. Getty Images, for instance, has sued Stable Diffusion, another popular AI image generator, for allegedly violating intellectual property rights.

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