An AI imagined my daughter’s birthday cake

Unicorn-shaped cakes often follow and resemble each other, with their white icing, single-tiered cylindrical shape, long eyelashes and horn at the front. All it takes is a visit to a pastry shop or a search on the web to be convinced. They are pretty, but in my humble opinion, my daughter who turned five this summer deserved something unique.

However, I had no better idea than what was possible to find on Google Images. And quite honestly, I wouldn’t have been able to draw my vision anyway if I had one. I could have asked a pastry shop to create the cake, but I wanted to get my hands dirty.

It is finally Midjourney, one of the artificial intelligence tools able to generate images of which I spoke in this article published this month in News, which got me out of the impasse. By experimenting with phrases like “A unicorn-shaped cake for a child”, I got dozens of different designs. They weren’t all great, and some were too abstract for my daughter’s taste, but I found one that was quite unique, satisfying both my creative urges and my daughter’s love of unicorns.

Some of the cakes generated by an artificial intelligence tool. Photo: Maxime Johnson/Midjourney.

HERE: picture 2

I then tweaked the cake design using another artificial intelligence, DALL-E, which is able to modify parts of an image (the unicorn on the original cake had two horns and a mean face) . I sent the final result to Isabelle Leroux, pastry chef and owner of Miss Cakes, in Montreal.

“It’s strange as an image, because certain elements are out of the ordinary. The proportions of the cake are unusual, for example, and the texture of the frosting seems to be somewhere between fondant and buttercream,” observes the pastry chef.

In other words, a human would not have created the cake this way. Isabelle Leroux reproduced it as I asked her, but according to her, it would have been possible to improve the result, in particular by remodeling the head of the unicorn.

Still, it’s a lovely and unique cake that was served at my daughter’s birthday party. And above all, the children loved it.

Concrete uses for AI

The unicorn party cake is just one example of what a person could do in their day-to-day life with AI tools like DALL-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion (a newer model, but open and free).

Over the past few months, for example, I have created with my girlfriend various virtual photos of fake houses, using the style of famous architects better known for their work on large buildings. When the frames are purchased, the pictures will take their place on a wall that has been empty for too long in our apartment. The colors, the architects, the style, everything has been fine-tuned to meet our specific tastes.

Recently, I was also struck by the missed opportunity that is rue Saint-Paul, in the west of Old Montreal. At this location, automobile traffic is permitted. Pedestrians pile up on the sidewalk while the street is mainly used for parking. In a few modifications with DALL-E, I tried to see what this end of the street might look like if it were pedestrianized.

Here again, a professional could certainly have done better, but I wouldn’t have paid an urban planner to illustrate one of my tweets. Someone could do the same exercise to sell the green alley concept to their neighbours, for example, rather than just explaining their project in words.

I also used artificial intelligence tools to play with my children, in particular to make them imagine wacky concepts that we then printed and colored with wooden pencils (like a dancing bear under a disco ball). DALL-E also allowed us to see each other with new haircutsand I plan to help my children soon create a more complex picture, which we can print out as a puzzle.

Beyond art and work, creativity

The question of the effect that image-generating artificial intelligences will have on artistic professions is often highlighted when DALL-E, Midjourney and other tools of the genre are discussed.

It’s normal. Many professions are likely to be affected by such tools, especially as they improve. But the story of the birthday cake also illustrates that technology can benefit everyone.

At the beginning of his career, Steve Jobs often presented the computer as a “bicycle for the mind”, which allows our brain to go further than by itself. Image-generating artificial intelligence makes it possible to create better, at any age, whether or not you know how to draw, paint or photograph. To use the formula, it’s a bike for creativity.

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An AI imagined my daughter’s birthday cake

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