RB Search Gizmos

Get Public Domain Prompts for AI Image Generators With PD Prompt Machine

I have the visuo-spatial ability of a railroad tie. The closest I’ll ever come to making a visual spectacle is if I sneeze right after eating tomato soup. I’m not artistic is what I’m trying to tell you.

But I love playing with image generators. My brain is not good at drawing things but it’s great at describing things to draw. Most of the header images for the ResearchBuzz Search Gizmos come from DALL-E and some light editing.

While image generators are nice toys, they do have a downside: they’ve been trained on the art of human artists – human artists who have to buy food and pay power bills and rent. I don’t want to have fun at their expense, so I looked around to see if there was any way I could make a tool to source only public domain art when using an image generator. After a couple of false starts the PD Prompt Machine was born.

What I originally wanted to do was make kind of a Mad Libs thing that would generate prompt sentences based on parts of speech, but at my budget level ($0) and public API requirements (100%) I couldn’t find the necessary resources. What PDPM does instead is grab a random title from the Internet Archive’s open library and pair it with a random public domain artist from the Art Institute of Chicago. (When an artist’s name is not available, an array of art techniques is used as a backup, but that doesn’t happen often.)

How does it work? Just click the button. PDPM whirs for a moment and spits out a prompt.

Copy and paste the prompt into the image generator of your choice – I used both Stable Diffusion and DALL-E in my testing – and see where life takes you.

Sometimes they’re unintentionally hilarious.

And sometimes… well…

I’ve found that playing with PDPM is actually teaching me about artists. I mean, how could you not be interested in Antonio Canova after being confronted by this judgy dinosaur?

In fact, I was thinking about extending the tool a little bit to include information about and links to the artists. What do you think? Or maybe it’s good just as it is, as one-button whirligig. Anyway, enjoy.

2 replies »

  1. Ooooh, yes — an artist link would be great! I’ve been playing a daily game from the National Gallery of Art, called (maybe predictably) Artle (here>, which requires you to identify an artist using no more than four of their works as clues. I almost never succeed, although I’ve gotten some gimmes. BUT the main thing it does is teach me about artists — and art!– either through the NGA’s own bios and other links, or via general Web search. So I, at least, would love to see a link!

    BTW, in playing around with the PDPM I’ve also found myself replacing either the generated book title or the generated artist’s name with a title/name generated for an earlier prompt. E.g., one prompt generated was “Farewell, My Lovely in the style of pencil sketch.” Results from DALL-E were, well, interesting… but that “artist’s name” really didn’t add much. So I replaced “pencil sketch” with “Albrecht Dürer,” from an earlier prompt, and got much more satisfying results.

    (I also tried creating a DALL-E “selfie” by using my own name and the style of a PD artist. Reeeeally wacky results, because DALL-E evidently has no idea what I look like — it seems to think I look like something like the love child of Clifton Webb and E.B. White.)

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