My big brother and el chingón de los chingónes, Rodolfo Rivera (@capicuaman) is always showing me the latest in technology. He was, in fact, the one who suggested I join Twitter so long ago.
Recently, he introduced me to ArtFlow.AI, a site which generates an avatar based on descriptions entered into the platform by users.
Type in “New Mexican brujo,” or “Spanish sorcerer, or “Warrior elf” and the service will produce a stunning and mystical face just for you. I entered “Emo Dora the Explorer” and when I saw a grown up Dora, sullen with dark makeup, I was truly surprised.
Surprise is precisely what this site is about—after you enter descriptors and physical attributes of the person you are trying to create, seeing the creation for the first time is a bit like seeing your baby for the first time.
The service does take a while to generate an avatar. The site says, “The generative process is computationally expensive and this takes quite a significant time to generate even on the most powerful hardware.”
But it’s so worth the wait, because what you receive is astonishing. Each image is unique and enchanting in its own way. The site says: “We do not use any existing images and the chances of generating an exact copy of an existing image are practically zero.”
It’s the wonder of artificial intelligence!
As a writer, I often have a sketch in my mind of what my charcters look like. Sometimes I have specific character traits or attributes in mind, yet most are based on the person’s energy or personality style. When reading about characters in a book, we each form our own distinct image of that person in our head. What I believe a character looks like might be completely different from someone else’s imagination.
So what happened when I entered descriptors of characters from my new novel, SLIP SOUL?
I received an array of beautiful mug shots, as though they were my characters’ portraits or model headshots. Though I have brought my characters to life already by writing them into existence, Artflow.ai brought them to life in full color and appearance; their features and personalities coming to life as real people.
As Rodolfo, the introducer of this baffling techology said to me, “Your characters already existed in the ether.”
So, please take a look at these avatars of the cast of SLIP SOUL. Is this who you see when you read about them?
As a point of reference, SLIP SOUL is a story within a story.
The “frame story” is about Osvaldo Reyes and Joanne Watson, a Mexican man and an American woman who meet in Oaxaca in the late 1970’s and then again in the present time. Joanne is a writer and gave Osvaldo an early draft of her novella entitled SLIP SOUL before the two lost touch. SLIP SOUL’s main characters are a young Mexican man named Pablo Garza and a Brazilian woman named Jucélia Duran.
Both the frame and the framed stories have other supporting characters that help and hurt the protagonists.
From Artflow.ai, I now present to you, the cast of Slip Soul …