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The Avocado Turing Test

As promised, here is my attempt at getting Midjourney to emulate my painting. I chose my avocado/spoon painting (seen above) because I thought it would be interesting to test if it could achieve the visual alchemy between the paint and avocado-- that is, whether it could make the creaminess of the yellow/green paint "become" creamy avocado.

By the way, if you haven't already done so, you may want to read my previous articles on AI to put all this in context.

Again, prompts are in bold:


On a ledge at eye level, you see an avocado with a metal spoon against a dark background. In the style of American artist Duane Keiser, create a painting that uses bold, thick brushstrokes to convey the creaminess of the avocado, soft brushstrokes to depict the subtle reflections in the spoon. Consider how you can use light and shadow to create depth and contrast, and aim to capture the essence of this still life through your brushstrokes

Midjourney likes chocolate? I suspect it was the word "creaminess" that caused the confusion. Strange how it keeps generating giant spoons along with new varieties of bizarre avocados:


a ledge at eye level::4 close-up view of a halved avocado and a silver spoon::8 dark background lit by daylight::4 In the style of American artist Duane Keiser::12 create an oil painting::2 thick, wet, brushstrokes and soft edges::8

I started adding an emphasis to some elements in a prompt (called weights.) Two colons at the end of a phrase or word followed by a number denotes relative emphasis. So for example, a prompt that says: THIS::4 THAT::2 means to pay attention to THIS, twice as much as you pay attention to THAT. I think because I emphasized my style more than any other element, Midjourney took some liberties with the subject matter:


an oil painting in the style of Duane Keiser::8 halved avocado next to a silver spoon on a ledge at eye level dark background::10 gestural, painterly, impasto brushwork::8

I muted the emphasis on my style and started using the words "gestural" and "impasto" to describe "brushwork" rather than "brushstrokes." This seemed to get rid of most of the unwanted objects


an oil painting in the style of Duane Keiser::8 halved avocado next to a silver spoon on a ledge at eye level dark background::10 gestural, painterly, impasto brushwork::8

I made several variations of this prompt (ie I just repeated the same prompt over and over) until I got one that was OK: an oil painting in the style of Duane Keiser::8 halved avocado next to a silver spoon on a ledge at eye level dark background::10 gestural, painterly, impasto brushwork::8

This time I gave Midjourney a specific avocado painting to work from (the one you see at the top of this article.) I uploaded the image and then added my previous prompt. After a few attempts, I got these two. Aside from some AI oddities, I'm impressed. This is the first time I felt I could semi-control how Midjourney applies "paint." It took me about 100 prompt attempts to get to this point (though I think I could do it in a quarter of that time now.)


I also wanted to see if I could produce results without referencing my name or previous work directly, so I asked ChatGPT to give me some key terms to describe my work.

a halved avocado with a silver spoon, Realism, Impressionism, Everyday subjects, Loose brushwork, Rich color palette, Impressionistic Realism, Intimate and personal, Capturing fleeting moments, Still life, Everyday scenes, Light and shadow, Momentary glimpse

After several variations and adjustments to the description, Midjourney produced these two. Now I'm starting to think AI thinks "loose brushwork" also means drippy. Perhaps not as good as the previous prompt that used a reference image, but still OK.

I think Midjourney passed my Avocado Turing Test (and yes, I realize this was not a test for human intelligence!) Do I believe it emulated my painting accurately? Not quite, but it did show some finesse in using the texture of the paint to describe the creaminess of an avocado. It also did a respectable job of emulating my composition and lighting All of this, of course, brings up some very interesting questions, which I'll be writing about in future posts. Again, if you haven't already done so, sign up to be notified of new articles about AI and art.


5 comentários

09 de mai. de 2023

But will we artists stop using God's gifts to us in true hands and brushes painting??

Soooo hope not!! Reality, we need, real, genuine human contact, rather than

so much doing via digital online.

God bless, C-Marie


23 de abr. de 2023

I got a chuckle after viewing that one spoon which looked like it had spent a short time with the garbage disposal - something I am familiar with in reality. One thing in general that strikes me is the overall drama imparted by the AI and some interesting unintended consequences such as the table surface disintegrating and starting to descend down the edge! Also one of the knives has an interesting peeling edge - perhaps AI has an inherent tendency to disintegrate? fascinating goings-on!


23 de abr. de 2023

I didn't think it(ai) would be able to emulate your painterly style and it didn't manage it. Close, but missed out the magic of your works.

I bet it could reproduce a Leonardo da Vinci, or even a Dali once it knew what was expected of it.

Has it got a style of its own already? Photo realism?

21 de jun. de 2023
Respondendo a

It actually does 5.0 is overly weighted to photo realism part of using it to generate what you want is understanding the different versions and how they might help. In this case v4 may have actually worked better.


Excellent post. It seems as though it's worth spending the time learning how to use MJ's parameters and experimenting with prompt variations. I like the idea of using GPT to describe your work. I recently asked GPT-4 to suggest some subjects for still life painting in the styles of Cézanne and Monet and it came up with excellent suggestions.

Looking forward to your next post.

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