A series of brief conversations with prominent AI artists to get a behind-the-scenes view of the different ways that AI fits into the creative process
Brady Walker: Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Lykai: Hello! I’m Lykai, born in Malaysia, and currently residing in the sun-soaked south of France. My creative journey commenced in the fashion industry, where I refined my expertise in concept studies and visual production.
During the pandemic, I immersed myself in the captivating world of 3D, beginning with simple donut models and engaging in self-learning from December 2020. My focus was predominantly on commercial and product advertising.
About four months ago, I started experimenting with AI and was astounded by its remarkable capacity to convey aesthetics previously beyond my reach due to hardware and skill constraints. It has empowered me to express myself on a personal level, build my artistic sphere, and explore the boundaries of 3D animation integrated with AI-generated 2D imagery.
BW: What has AI enabled you to create that you never would have otherwise?
L: From an artistic perspective, AI has provided me with the ability to construct a realm where time merges and reality becomes nebulous. It enables me to express my emotions with greater sensitivity. Technically, it has afforded me the opportunity to develop a unique artistic style unseen before, fulfilling a long-standing ambition. AI permits me to venture into animated artwork without the significant costs associated with traditional 3D rendering.
BW: Could you describe your process from the initial idea to the completed piece?
L: I apologize if my memory is a bit hazy, but I’ll do my best to outline my process! I treat still imagery and animated work differently. Both begin with introspection, capturing my current emotions through keywords and synonyms, then expanding these visually, occasionally with the assistance of ChatGPT.
For still imagery, I use Midjourney, applying specific text prompts to emphasize location, camera lenses, and the desired atmosphere. To achieve the final result, I integrate my previous 3D artworks as image prompts, iterating and refining until I obtain the desired output.
In animated work, the Midjourney portion remains constant, but I use AI-generated images and incorporate them into a three-dimensional space via Blender. From there, I reimagine how the 2D images spring to life, either through dynamic abstract simulation or by sculpting and rigging a main 3D character. The pipeline then involves adjusting the rendering with lighting and camera settings, followed by post-compositing in Blender and Photoshop.
BW: Do you have any practical tips for transitioning from an AI art novice to a proficient AI artist? (Interpret “proficient AI artist” as you wish)
L: To be honest, I’m still in the process of transitioning from being a 3D generalist to fully embracing my identity as an artist. It’s been only a few months since I embarked on this remarkable journey.
My advice? Never stop exploring, stay authentic, and heed your inner voice. Engage with software that incites and challenges you daily and seek feedback and inspiration from the right community. Twitter is a phenomenal platform for connecting with like-minded individuals. I’d like to give a special shout-out to @datasynced and @chrome_void who encouraged me to abandon Instagram and embrace Twitter.
BW: Can you provide our readers with a few prompt snippets or style prompts to experiment with?
L: Style prompts are deeply personal as everyone harbors their own preferences. The latest version of Midjourney thrives on simple prompts, generating splendid results. Nevertheless, I can suggest trying to create your own movie scene by combining the names of several beloved film directors, adding prompts like “blink-and-you-miss-it detail” for realistic scenery, and “step printing of (subject)”. Let your creativity soar!