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What a time to be alive!
So says Károly Zsolnai-Fehér, creator of the popular Two Minute Papers YouTube series that reviews new tech research papers. And we agree — whether you love AI or hate it, it's a wild and crazy ride we're on!
At the world's first robot-human press conference (is this real life?), robots spoke up saying they don't intend to steal our jobs, or rebel against humanity.
However, during the UN's AI for Good summit, robot Sophia said robots could make better leaders than humans. After its creator disagreed, Sophia revised its statement to say we can work together to "create an effective synergy." (Yikes.)
In today's newsletter, we want to inspire you to develop creative synergy with AI-tools.
We're going to introduce you to the new Zoom Out feature in Midjourney 2.5, and show you how we pushed its limits to get some super-fun results!
The first few creepy seconds of a 25s haunted house zoom!
We’ve even created our first-ever Design Unicorn video tutorial, designed to help you create an "Infinite Zoom" animation using Midjourney and After Effects.
Let's get to it!
At a Glance
Spotlight on an exceptional leader
Get inspired by the Zoom Out feature
Teach me! Teach me!
Push your creativity further
Design Unicorn Spotlight
A big thank you and shoutout this week to Kristina Rostorotsky, the Director of Product Design for Shoppers Drug Mart. She shared her referral link with the design team and sent more wonderful designers our way. Thanks for your support, Kristina, and welcome to all our new Loblaw Digital designers!
We identified Kristina as a design unicorn many years ago and have enjoyed following her career ever since — she continues to impress! 💪
If you haven't seen her smart and inspirational talk on how to be a more effective UX researcher (and feel more confident in the process!), then run, don't walk to this video.
Are you working with AI tools yet? We think you should be.
As these tools continue to make art and design accessible to "anyone", staying relevant as a creative means learning to harness these tools to create truly innovative work that’s a cut above.
We're talking about work that goes beyond what "anyone" can do; work that leans into your unique talents and vision as a creative person.
Whatever an AI-powered tool claims to promise on the label is really just the starting point. We want to inspire you to push these tools further than their creators intended.
We want to see you use your imagination and ingenuity to prove why Designers Like Us are still the right people to lead the creative process.
How? You have to start with the basics, and then push the limits.
For example, Midjourney 2.5 recently introduced a Zoom Out feature.
At face value, this new feature lets you "zoom out" of any image that you create in Midjourney.
A demo of Midjourney’s new Zoom Out feature
Taken as-is, this feature has limited uses. Maybe the gal in the Performance Marketing department will use it to create a square or rectangular version of the same image — to better suit a different banner ad or social media format.
That's fine. Those are not creative tasks.
But as Professional Creative People™ , we're interested in pushing the boundaries.
With a little imagination, some trial and error — and a good deal of patience — we found a pretty exciting use for this new feature!
Gif of an “infinite zoom” created with Midjourney and After Effects
(View the Park Zoom video on YouTube)
By zooming out again and again (and specifying a new image prompt each time), we were able to create a sequence of images, and then string them together to create an "infinite zoom" animation using After Effects.
This might look like just a fun diversion, but stop and think: How might you, dear designer, leverage a creative solution like this — say, for a brand? These tools are actually ready for prime time, if only you’re ready to wield them.
Our little experimental animation doesn't have nearly the same production values, but it still reminds us a little bit of the new Channel 4 idents.
That work clearly took teams of people to pull off. (For now!) But we're still pretty impressed with the crazy zoom animation that just one person could create in a few hours.
What might you accomplish?
Psst! Want to create an "infinite zoom" yourself?
We'd love to show you how. All you need is a Midjourney account, After Effects, and our first-ever video tutorial!
Watch: Create an Infinite Zoom with Midjourney & After Effects on YouTube.
If you're reading this, you're probably a creative person. And as a creative person, you shouldn't be content to take any of these tools at face value.
When you do that, then ChatGPT is just a way to kick out some mediocre copy in a hurry.
But add a little creative thinking, and you can leverage it for all sorts of powerful new tasks — like that time we used ChatGPT to create interactive personas.
As another example, DALL-E 2's "out-painting" feature lets you add new content at the edge of an image to extend it outward.
One practical use for this feature is extending a small illustration to make it wider — like we did for a recent image in this very newsletter.
Image by authors
But we've used this very same out-painting feature to generate huge, high-resolution illustrations.
Canvas generated by Kirk Clyne
By creating one square image at a time in DALL-E 2, we stitched together a massive, 20x20-inch homage to MC Escher that now hangs in our hallway.
Robo-friends or robo-foes?
One executive creative director we spoke to (Hi, TJ!) appreciates the notion that anyone may be able to produce competent illustration and design pretty soon. In her eyes, AI will level up the quality of design work, essentially raising the bar for the masses.
TJ told us she's excited to get even "better than the bots." She plans to use her creative and design skills to leverage these AI tools in a way that the average person simply cannot, then propel herself above and beyond the quality of work coming out of AI design platforms.
That's what we want for you, too.
As a creative person, you've got ways of thinking that other people don't. So while these new tools promise to give everyone new creative powers, they should give you new creative superpowers.
And they will! But only if you get in there and start expressing yourself.
Start experimenting, today — and let your imagination be your guide!
And if you make something awesome, let us know so we can share it with your fellow readers.
Go forth and push some boundaries!
P.S. Know a designer you care about? Consider sharing our newsletter with them so they don’t have to surf the crazy AI waves alone either.
(You can earn some cool prizes too!)