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Why Do AI Images Look Weird?

You’ve probably encountered artificial intelligence (AI) images in the past year, regardless of whether you’re an active user of an AI art generator or stumbled on our AI art search engine. While many of these pictures are realistic, ironic, or funny, a lot of them are also just downright odd. 

There are even some AI images that look like they came straight from a nightmare, evoking spine-tingling feelings from anyone who sees it. But why does AI generate these types of weird scenes in the first place? It all boils down to the technology and how artificial intelligence, or at least the AI generators, are trained and designed to function.

How Does AI Generate Images?

To know why AI images look weird, you must first understand how the tech works. AI uses neural networks to train models to recognize features of a certain entity that’s present within a dataset. 

In simpler terms, AI generates images by matching keywords to attributes it’s learned to connect to other images. 

For example, if a programmer trains an AI model with millions of photos of cats, and tells the model that each of them is a cat, it will be able to discern the characteristics of that make up a picture that you would recognize as a cat.

AI image generators work by matching prompts to their vast image data, on which they were trained. 

This information includes images scraped from the web that are available to anyone, which could also mean copyrighted materials (it is indeed possible for AI-generated art to be copyrighted) and personal images.

Why Do AI Images End Up Looking Strange?

AI doesn’t create images the same way we do. Instead, what it does is more akin to data visualisation. Unlike humans who get inspiration from reality, AI models derive what they make only from what they’ve been trained on. 

They don’t really “know” anything; the best they can do is spot and reproduce trends from data. They can’t make sense of what they’re given, which is why some AI images are so weird.

In other words, repeating patterns are easy for the AI models to faithfully replicate. However, objects with complex geometric patterns that don’t clearly repeat–such as hands and fingers–often look a bit out of proportion.

This nature of AI images shows some of the still-existing limitations of technology. AI generators are limited by the images they’re trained on and the calculations they’re designed to make. 

What Do AI Images Say About Us?

Still, AI images are created from actual media, most of which are produced by humans. So, what does this say about us, then?

Many people think that odd AI-generated images are the way that AI comprehends the world, and in that sense, it can be an accurate reflection of what’s out there in totality. Similarly, some people say that weird AI images might be a clue to what we don’t see every day; that if it produces images of, say, monstrous beings, these things might actually exist. 

When working with AI and AI images, it’s important to remember that this technology doesn’t think the same way as us, and it lacks any mechanism of perception or theory of knowledge. So, in that sense, it’s good to take these strange images with a grain of salt.

How Do I Make AI Images That Aren’t Weird?

Not all AI images are weird. As shown by photos of dogs in royal outfits or hamsters jumping out of a sushi platter, some AI images can be realistic and evoke positive feelings for both the creator and the audience. But how do you generate these types of images? Here are two tips to get you started:

Choose Your Prompts Wisely

AI image generators create based on keywords that you give them. To avoid getting weird images, choose your keywords well. Err on the side of positive phrases and avoid ambiguous terms that could be misconstrued by the model. 

Chances are, you already have something in mind (unless you’re going rogue, which could be a rewarding adventure!), so try to describe it in the most exact way you can to get just that. It also helps to have your own images ready so that you can train the generator to produce the image and style that you want.

Create on the Right Platform

Choose a trustworthy platform to generate your AI images on. NightCafe, for example, focuses on enabling artistic expression with various different models. In so doing, we hope to give users like you as much freedom of expression as possible without being limited by any one company’s idea of what AI art should look like.

Final Thoughts

Due to limitations in AI technology, some AI images can come off as weird. This isn’t a bad thing, though–it doesn’t reflect our world nor does it expose some underlying secrets. And if you’re creating your own AI art, it’s easy to stray away from these weird pictures, too. With the right keywords and the best platform, you can create beautiful and positive works. Try making your own AI images on NightCafe today!

Wondering how to edit AI images? Check out our latest post.

Create jaw-dropping art in seconds with AI

This is the most fun I've had on the internet in a long long time

u/DocJawbone on Reddit

Fun Fast Free