Since I last experimented making art with Dall-E I’ve been wanting to try some more interesting prompts. I want to see if I could create an image from a specific idea and have that image (or something close to it) be generated by Dall-E in a way that I can actually use it for a design project. So for this exercise, I want to make some album cover art with Dall-E.
I ended up making some really cool looking art with Dall-E, concluding that yes, you can make awesome album cover art with an AI that could actually work for a real-world client project. Check out my process here.
Getting The Text
To begin I’m going to grab the album cover art text using the process detailed here in this post: Album Cover Art Challenge | How To Do It which shows you where to get random text for the band name, album name, and imagery. Though this time, we’re just grabbing the text since I’ll be generating the art with Dall-E instead of using a stock photo.
I’ll need to do the text part first though, since I’m going to use the album cover as a starting point for what to ask Dall-E to make. I grabbed the band name from Wikipedia. It gave me: Spinturnix Americana
I got the album title from a quotations page. I got the quote: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.” by Albert Einstein. So the the album title we’ll shorten this to is: But not one bit simpler.
Prepping The Art
In Photoshop, I’m going to make a document that’s 1024px by 1024px square at 72 dpi. I won’t be printing this image and Dall-E only generates initial imagery at those dimensions, so we’ll keep everything in that format. I’ll just slab the text on quickly without any formatting first. I’ll figure out the typeface once I have the image.
Generating Art With Dall-E
Okay, so now that we’re ready to make the art we need to figure out the type of art we want to see. The album title is But not one bit simpler so we could try to generate a really clean, simple image to go with that text. Alternatively, we could generate something hyper chaotic to contrast with the text and create something different thematically.
So let’s choose a first prompt to make some art with Dalle-E. For our simplistic image let’s try something odd yet simple like: ‘a blue sock laying in sand on a beach realistic’.
I think the first image here is the best. It’s simple and looks real, and there’s plenty of room for text. But is this too boring for an album cover? Obviously the text will play a big part in how interesting the visuals end up, but I still want to generate some more visual options. So what else is simple?
Let’s try a small grey bucket full of water with a whale swimming in it top down realistic’. Dall-E gave me nothing good for that one. Just some illustrations rather than realistic looking imagery, and certainly nothing that would work for album art.
How about we try ‘a cute orange kitten standing on it’s hind legs drinking a cup of tea digital art’. It’s cute and simple. Now that gave us some good options. The cats all look a bit weathered, but cute. This might work well for a jazz album, though we haven’t really specified the genre of this album cover. I’ll add ‘in a cafe’ to the prompt to get some imagery in the background. One of these might work, maybe.
One or two of those cat images might work, but I’m not sold. They make for cute visuals but I don’t know how well the images themselves would work for an album cover.
Now let’s try something more chaotic. I went with: ‘A battlefield of treasure trolls fighting each other with swords digital art’. It’s the most chaotic thing I could think of.
I think Dall-E’s idea of a treasure troll is different from mine, but I do like the imagery here. Some of these would probably work for a metal album cover with the right typography. Can we turn these trolls into kittens and have a kitten battle?
The kitten battle is much less chaotic and just a bit random. I’m still not feeling like we’ve generated art with Dall-E that we can actually use for an album cover. If there were a client for this, they might have more of an idea of what they want to see to give us some direction. On the other hand, a client might have much of an idea either. What else should we try?
What else is chaotic? Maybe tornadoes? Space tornados? What is a space tornado anyway? Let’s try it.
Here Dall-E generated four extremely cool looking, very chaotic images from the prompt ‘a battlefield of space tornados fighting each other with swords digital art’. One of these should absolutely work; the second one is my favorite. Should we also try space hurricanes too? Why not.
The Album Cover
So I took my two favorite images for the most recent chaotic art that Dall-E generated into Photoshop and messed around with the typography until I created something I was happy with. The images I used are quite busy, visually, so I wanted to keep the text simple but also not get lost in the overpowering visuals.
I used the typeface Agency FB for all the text and only edited the actual imagery a bit, toning down colour values and adding some noise. The visuals are strong enough to stand out without much else being done to them. What do you think?
I think the chaotic imagery turned out really well. The artwork itself is just fantastic and pretty chaotic, while being somewhat abstract. The first image is otherworldly and just so cool looking, and the second image, the ‘space hurricane’ has a really neat symmetry to it that fits the battle idea well.
The last thing I wanted to try was album art that used the super simple image of the sock, just as a bonus. I had to edit the image a bit here, getting rid of the left shadow and adjusting the colour a bit, but I think it turned out. I could definitely see this is a real album cover.
Making Album Cover Art With Dall-E – In Summary
I really like the imagery that Dall-E ended up generating, even if it took a while to get there. The main limitation I found with this particular task was trying to figure out what image to generate with such a blank slate.
It would be helpful if Dall-E had some more parameters for generating an image, like style, colours, symmetry, etc., similar to how Wombo Dream does by allowing you to choose from a variety of image styles.
Creativity works better under constraints and there weren’t many here, other than finding a simple or chaotic image; and that isn’t much of a constraint. I didn’t put many limitations on the project because I wanted to test Dall-E’s creativity without those constraints. Next time I’ll try a design project that needs a very specific type of image and we’ll see what Dall-E can do.
Have you used Dall-E for any client projects? It seems, for now anyway, that Dall-E is free for commercial use, meaning you CAN use it for client projects; though you’re limited to mostly digital products since Dall-E only generates imagery in 72dpi.
Do you think you can make art with Dall-E that actually works for your design projects? Let me know in the comments below.