Brains: a postmodern Prometheus story

Year complete: 2023
Length: 5:18

25th Maryland Film Festival Sweaty Eyeballs Animation Festival 2023 Hamilton Film Festival Canada 2023 Lift Off 2023 Latest Visions Official Selection 2023 Sweden Film Awards 2023 Series Web Awards 2023 NY New Filmmakers New Works Baltimore Caribe International Animation Festival Portugal Indie Film Fest Award Winner

How I made it

I suppose this project started after seeing Rebecca Leveille Guay's post on Instagram where she shared some AI art that she made, and explained why the images ARE NOT ART.

Rebecca Leveille Guay's instagram post

I had not spent any time looking into AI, although I had seen some really interesting images online, and I knew my students have used ChatGPT for papers and such. Folks flipped out when the camera was invented, and yet we still photograph paintings. I wanted to learn about AI.

After reading about several image creators, I decided to use Bing's free implementation of DALL-E. I spent a weekend exploring its guard rails, limitations and possibilities. EROS was the first work I made using its output.

screen capture of the BING image creator

I decided to use AI to make backgrounds for a story using characters I've been casually playing with in my comics and sketchbooks.

drawings in my sketchbook

I was in Portugal when I truly started working on this. We visited Livraria Lello in Porto, and I bought a copy of Frankenstein. I read it on the trip, and found so many parallels to our current discussion around AI, that I decided to pay homage in my title.

drawings in my sketchbook

At the time of this writing DALL-E outputs 1024 x 1024 pixel images. I wanted to work at 1920 x 1080 in the animation, so I used another AI tool to increase the size of my images to 8000 x 8000px. It worked pretty well, and of the ~3000 images I generated, I ended using about 125. I have enough left over to do several other films, I think.

I also used ChatGPT to make a terminal like interface to produce gibberish text. I recorded my browser window as I used the tool, and then added to the animation when my protagonist is using AI. It was something like this:

A slightly different recap of this process can be read on my blog.