Are you a writer struggling to bring your characters to life through illustration? Are you still in the process of crafting your story, but yearning to see your vision come to life on the page? AI technology may just be the solution you’ve been searching for. Join us as we delve into the story of Paula, a talented female writer who leveraged AI to elevate her storytelling and bring her characters to life. Paula’s journey as an auditory writer serves as an inspiring example of how AI can be a powerful tool for writers.
Paula currently works in the healthtech field, but has been writing fantasy stories for young adults online for over six years. She says that writing offers her relief from the challenges of modern-day life. It also provides her with a vivid and ever-evolving world that serves as a refuge from the chaos of today and allows her to connect with readers and writers from around the globe.
But writing can also become a source of stress and frustration.
Question: How did you get started as a writer and what is your current process?
I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I started out writing Jane Austen fan fiction on a very well-known fan fiction site. Even though I’d read the books, I just had to know what happened to those fabulous romantic couples after the story ended!
Gradually, I started writing original fiction on an online reading site called Wattpad. At first, I struggled. I couldn’t seem to finish the stories I’d started, and I couldn’t figure out why.
Eventually, I realized I’m an auditory writer, meaning that when I’m writing a story, I can hear my characters’ conversations long before I envision them. And as much as I loved how rich my characters were turning out, they still felt incomplete because I couldn’t picture them in my mind.
This meant that visuals became key to my writing process.
Question: What solutions did you try before you found OpenArt Booth?
Typically, to create these visuals, I would gather images and screenshots of actors who resembled the characters I was writing about. And then like many authors, I would create mood boards, and gather images of locations, props, and artifacts to pin up around my computer so they could keep me inspired.
But my main story, The Otherworlders, has an ensemble cast of nine very diverse characters. So, gathering references and inspiration for them was taking a very long time.
So, since I can’t draw a stick figure to save my life and finding reference images and commissioning original artwork was becoming problematic, I was thrilled when AI came onto the scene. Having worked in technology for many years and having always considered myself an early adopter, I was eager to dive in.
But for whatever reason, the AI gods did not look favorably upon me. While I understood the concepts behind the technology; used all of the latest models and platforms; and watched hours and hours of Youtube videos, my characters still ended up with two heads, my landscapes were fuzzy, and my buildings would lean, precariously, at a forty-five degree angle.
Needless to say, as far as Artificial Intelligence was concerned, I wasn’t finding the right tools to help me creatively. Instead, I was just getting more and more frustrated by the day.
And that’s where OpenArt’s Photo Booth came in.
Question: What’s your process for using OpenArt Photo Booth?
Because Photo Booth is so easy to use, all I really have to do is find good training images for my AI models. Early on, I’d decided to create a model for each of my nine main characters. And since Photo Booth is so affordable, I could easily do that without blowing my art budget or limit my ability to experiment creatively.
You see, OpenArt’s Photo Booth is quite different from any other AI art platform I’d used before. They have these Style Packages, aka Presets, which are carefully curated, proprietary prompts that can generate close to 100 images and illustrations from just one set. So, as far as my process, I just have to create my models by picking the best training images I can find, purchase any of the style packages that appeal to me, and then run my models through Photo Booth. When I do that, I consistently get high-quality images in an incredible variety of styles. No more double-heads! 🙂
Question: What are the benefits of using OpenArt Photo Booth?
Besides being easy to use, Photo Booth is also quite versatile. By leveraging the Style Packages, I can create a variety of images and illustrations in styles that I never would have imagined, and do it all in under an hour.
Also, with the Style Packages, I can see my characters rendered in different mediums, in a variety of poses, and expressing various emotions. This helps me to better visualize them which then helps me create richer personalities and more interesting character dynamics. It’s the same with settings and landscapes. Photo Booth helps me bring images in my head to life.
Lastly, I can create character illustrations that are much more representative of the diverse cast of characters I write about. My characters come out looking like the race, or ethnicity, or even alien species I’ve chosen for them, instead of all looking the same.
Question: What areas do you think OpenArt can improve to help you more?
I’d heard in the Discord that built-in editing tools were coming and that’s exciting! I’d also love to see an easy way to generate variations on a particular image. Sometimes you’ll create an image that’s 80-90% of what you want. Being able to make more incremental changes to a particular image would be a great way to fine tune it without having to rely on image editing software.
Question: Will you recommend your workflow to other writers?
Definitely! Writing fiction requires so much mental and creative energy that having to learn new technology, no matter how helpful it can be, is often intimidating and overwhelming. But OpenArt’s Photo Booth makes it easy.
However, I would suggest that writers view Photo Booth more as a tool for exploration and inspiration than one for creating the perfect set of illustrations for their work. AI art generators can be fickle, no matter how good the prompt or the platform, which means that you can waste a lot of time tweaking a prompt to try and produce the perfect image you have in your head.
But I think a better use of the platform, and of one’s time, is to leverage both the variety and quantity of images you get with each Photo Booth generation and let that spark and feed your creativity. Since images can range from photorealistic to anime-style to watercolor to oil painting, you’ll get some images or illustrations that fit very well with your current work. As far as the rest of the images, the way I see it, you’ve got assets you can use in later projects, or in your marketing and social media, or even let them serve as inspiration for new works and projects going forward.
If you’re interested in learning more about Paula’s experience with OpenArt’s Photo Booth, feel free to reach out to her on Instagram or Twitter.