Hi again.

Brian Joseph Johns here with an update for you.

You might ask, what the heck have I been doing for the last six days since I last published the final draft the most recent episode of The Butterfly Dragon: We Who Stand On Guard?

Besides dodging trolls, I've been working on refining and improving my artwork pipeline for what's to come. I can't give you many more details than that, except to say that it does involve the use of AI as a tool to speed up my pipeline and to improve the end result. In no way will I ever be using AI to write my stories for or anyone else. All written work in terms of the books and novels on Shhhh! Digital Media will always be hand written (in my head first, and then transcribed to a computer).

The closest I'll ever come to employing AI in my written work, is spellchecking, possibly grammar checking on occasion when I'm stumped as to how to express an idea and finally, as a research tool when I'm checking facts or trying to find the relationship between two seemingly unrelated concepts. Whenever I do use AI however, I will always give credit to the tools and software used, and to the AI itself if applicable. Call it an endorsement of the tools, much the same as a Carpenter might endorse their favourite miter saw or as an Electrical Engineer might cite their favourite circuit design software or multi-meter.

Its important to keep rules and structure in your writing (and in your life), because on the occasions when you purposely break those rules and that structure, it really transforms the act of writing itself. That's how you break new ground and as one of my mentors used to say about music theory: you can't break the rules if you don't know the rules, you just better have a very good reason for breaking them when you do.

So here are some of the pieces I've created with the help of AI, which derived its output from my own image library of Shhhh! Digital artwork and a written description of what I wanted, which is commonly known as the prompt text.

I don't exactly have the best hardware, but I was surprised over how well it actually did running this installation of Stable Diffusion.

These images were rendered by Stable Diffusion using multiple image sources from my own Shhhh! Digital art library that has grown considerably over the last twelve years. None of these images are final character designs, but just the first step in refining my artwork pipeline:

This one really got the shape of her face down quite well, but it didn't get her hair right. I have more images of Monique with her original short hair style than her newer long hair, so as I train new AI models to utilize her longer hair image, this should improve drastically.

This is a great representation of Alicia, though she's a natural beauty, and the makeup really does add artistic colour however.

This one of Alicia is a bit beyond what I imagine for her, but its inspiring nonetheless.

AI used to give the source image of Bryce more of a photorealistic look.
This is definitely a step forward.

This one definitely needs work and looks nothing like Mila, but its a start...

This charcoal image on canvas of Bella is actually quite good, though the scene didn't turn out. I guess it couldn't interpret what a crystal ball is. This will improve in the future.

A big improvement from the original image of Walton Norler, but he's a bit older and needs some gray. 

Both of these images are amongst my favourite renders of any Shhhh! Digital art. The AI improved image on the right really brings this design of Kori Jonglyu home. Awesome!

This is a design for Ebtissam (the head seamstress for West Meet East International). She's a woman from the UAE, educated at Ryerson's Fashion Program. She's quite beautiful. Notice that the source image is Heylyn Yates, which brings us to our finale...

This one uses the same filter as I tried for Alicia a few images back. Heylyn's face looks really good in this, though I want her to look assertive and confident. She's a woman who became a leader and problem solver, as her responsibilities grew. She needs that look about her, and this image is close.

This is a photorealistic image derived from the source image of Heylyn (Ai Yuanlin Ying) in the upper right corner. Its a great photo, but once again it needs that assertive problem solver look that is so much a part of who she is and what she represents as The Butterfly Dragon.

This isn't done with AI at all, but was an image I rendered years ago (2016 I think?).
It depicts Lyra: The Aerth Mother of The Sanctum Seclorem, who really is a strong symbol for the health of our planet, as she's the nurturer thereof. Be wary though, as she can be very spiteful when we mistreat the planet as we should be well aware by the multitude of natural disasters arising from our neglect.

I can't wait until I'm really able to utilize the technology of AI to bring the artwork to life and to be able to express the visuals I see in my head for the characters of Shhhh! Digital Media.

For those of you looking for more art of Mila, Shaela, Nelony, Dina, Valerie and Aikiko (Dragon Butterfly), I will do them some justice in the next two weeks and give them each their own deserving AI treatment. Something I'll enjoy immensely as I did starting out with these characters. The design for Dina will take some time, though I'll get around to it within the next month, as she might be making another appearance in an upcoming episode...

Well, looks like we're done here with my monthly report. Managed to get here without too much griping surprisingly enough. There will more stories very soon, though I'd look for them some time next week or the week following (February 1st and 2nd).

Thank you very much for checking out the content here on Shhhh! Digital Media. I'll be back soon with some Butterfly Dragon and Sanctum Seclorem goodness for you all. I'm off the play for a bit, and then I think I'll get horizontal until morning.

Have a great night and weekend!

Brian Joseph Johns 

Credits and attribution:

Check out Aitrepreneur's YouTube Channel for great videos on AI tools.

Artwork: Amy WongWendy PuseyGhastly, Brian Joseph Johns, Daz3DUnreal Engine...

Tools: Daz3DCorel PainterAdobe PhotoshopLightwave 3DBlender, Stable Diffusion (Easy Diffusion distribution), Borderline Obsession...