Thanks to AI and machine learning innovations, AI art has been all the rage lately. Whether it’s created by DALL-E-2, its little brother DALL-E Mini, or Midjourney, there’s no end to stunning vistas that can be created. Applications for this incredible technology have yet to be fully realized. However, these programs have the potential to revolutionize art. This means they may have a significant impact on the future of art in MTG.
Besides being the world’s most popular and expensive Trading Card Game, Magic: the Gathering also features some incredible artwork. Typically, the stunning artwork MTG has been known for has all been created by fleshy humans. However, that might not be the case forever. Instead, thanks to innovations in AI, the creation of many pieces of art could now be outsourced to programs on the cheap.
If you’re not familiar with the work of DALL-E-2 and Midjourney, you may think this will be a significant downgrade. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth, as the art these programs can create is truly spectacular. Regardless of the prompt these programs are given, you’re usually returned a piece of art worthy of being hung on your walls or even in a gallery. There’s no doubt that AI-generated art would look stunning on MTG cards. However, that doesn’t mean it should automatically be the future.
Admittedly, for Hasbro, AI-generated art could be an incredibly profitable venture. Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast would no longer need to shell out a lot of money for just a few works of art from each artist. Using a program like Midhourney AI, WotC could instead pay $600 a year and have all the art they need. This is obviously a whole lot cheaper than paying traditional human artists. While Magic: the Gathering is already growing Hasbro’s profits in 2022, more money is always welcome, no?
The Human Factor
For better or worse, while DALL-E-2 and Midjourny’s art may look spectacular, they’re not made by humans. This exposes several flaws within the way these AI programs generate their images. For instance, while Midjourney creates four, usually fantastic, images from a prompt, they’re often quite abstract unless you get really specific. Thankfully, this is something Midjourney, and especially DALL-E-2 can handle. However, they’re not always flawless. Additionally, learning the correct prompt to give for what you want takes time, effort, trial, and error.
Ultimately, no matter how specific your prompt, the art is the result of the machine’s whims. There is where humans are back in the game. Unlike AI, human beings can better understand the context and, often, the brief that they are given. Humans can also make subtle changes to an image when requested; something AI struggles to do. AI can redraw an image in a matter of minutes, if not seconds. However, that may throw up more problems.
Alongside the quality-based pros and cons for AI and human-created art, there’s also the human factor. As seen in the Pride Across the Multiverse promotion, the art created for MTG can do a lot of good. Not only can funds be donated to good causes, but WotC is also funding some incredible artistic talent. If AI art takes over, this talent may never see the light of day.
Ultimately, after the legal rights of AI-generated art get figured out, the deciding factor in whether Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast use this technology will come down to one key point. Is the art any good? While we’re keen to say yes, we’re happy to let you be the judge of that as well. Below, we’ve asked Midjourney to create some art based on Magic’s most iconic cards. Once you’ve had a look, why not hop over to our Facebook page and let us know what you think? Should Midjourney have a place creating art for MTG?