If you haven’t heard about Dalle-2 or any of its variations ( Imagen, Midjourney, Wombo), you are probably on a very unplugged vacation or have found that rock where, for some reason, some people sleep under. Regardless. Generative AI is here and, while not perfect, shows promises of excellence. While not a surprise- we have been expecting something like this to emerge- the rapidity of its availability is certainly unpredicted. As of today, anyone with a decent internet connection can generate images via a simple text prompt. Goodby photography. Hello, promptography.
But more than a gimmick to impress family on social media, image generative AI has real implications for the business world. And consequences. Every company today has to use visual content to sell. From product shots to marketing, for social media and blogs, newsletters, reports, and presentations, it is impossible to do without. Up until today, this meant two things: hire a photographer and/or purchase stock images. Photographers ( or photo studios) to take all the product shots and maybe some lifestyle/marketing images. And stock houses to fulfill any and all other needs. That meant companies like Shutterstock could rely on an ever-increasing demand for their images.
For product shots, the trend has already been slowly shifting. Computer-generated art, rendering, and photoshop has already helped numerous companies make their product look as appealing as they can. And while there might initially be a real photo to start, in the end, the product is more a recreation than a photograph. It won’t be long before it doesn’t matter. Already, AI can build a full-perfect 3d rendering of any object ( and faces) via a handful of still images. In fashion, clothes can be put on virtual models, eliminating the need for expensive setups of studios, real models, make-up, hair, and stylist.
Pretty soon, photos will precede the product. Companies will ask generative AI to design a new product like a car or a new dress, and production will follow. Instead of the opposite today.
The same evolution is about to hit stock houses. Instead of searching for images in a database of pre-existing images, companies will “build” them via a text/voice prompt. Generative AI trained with the company’s product shots, as well as company branding, colors, and mood, will create on-the-fly, on-demand images. Furthermore, existing images could be enhanced with generative content. For example, a boring corporate studio portrait of an executive could see the addition of a perfectly fitted set of sunglasses while the background is changed from a factory to the Swiss Alps. From Detroit to Davos in one click. These functionalities, available today, will be built as a feature inside a company’s already well-established digital asset management ( DAM).
Companies will soon need an in-house creative person/ team to generate new content. Someone whose role will be to translate requests into prompts and keep the AI up to date. Someone with both an artistic and machine learning background. This new DAM management role would combine the skills of a librarian, software engineer, and creative director.
From blank canvas creation to the repurposing of existing content, image generative AI is entering the everyday life of companies today. Not via broad, hype-seeking applications like Dalle 2 or Imagen, whose appeal is inversely proportional to its usefulness, but through deep integration of solution-specific deep tech applications. The real generative ai revolution will hardly be visible. It will happen at a granular, everyday level in every company worldwide. Either via generation of new images or repurposing of older ones thanks to integrated 3rd party technology providers. It has already started.
All images in this article were generated via text to prompt using openAI image generator AI Dalle-2
Opening (real) image: Photo by Ticka Kao on Unsplash
Author: Paul Melcher
Paul Melcher is a highly influential and visionary leader in visual tech, with 20+ years of experience in licensing, tech innovation, and entrepreneurship. He is the Managing Director of MelcherSystem and has held executive roles at Corbis, Stipple, and more. Melcher received a Digital Media Licensing Association Award and is a board member of Plus Coalition, Clippn, and Anthology, and has been named among the “100 most influential individuals in American photography”