Tuesday, March 7, 2023

MidJourney: Banned Words & Creepy Images

 To follow up on my previous post about MidJourney:

I'm learning the ins and outs of the AI's language. Sometimes I have no idea what the commands mean that I'm using but they produce fabulous results. And just because some words are banned from the AI's engine doesn't mean it won't produce some seriously disturbing stuff.

Lately, I'm considering writing a short story involving the Native American legend of the wendigo, a monster that personifies insatiable hunger and greed. So I plugged Ojibwe teach/scholar Basil H. Johnston's description of the the wendigo into the MidJourney's prompt window:

The Wendigo was gaunt to the point of emaciation, its desiccated skin pulled tightly over its bones. With its bones pushing out against its skin, its complexion the ash-gray of death, and its eyes pushed back deep into their sockets, the Wendigo looked like a gaunt skeleton recently disinterred from the grave. What lips it had were tattered and bloody ... Unclean and suffering from suppuration of the flesh, the Wendigo gave off a strange and eerie odor of decay and decomposition, of death and corruption.

"Flesh" and "bloody" are banned words, so I removed them, but the AI accepted the rest and returned the following creepy results:

Whew, is that fun or what?

I found it interesting that most of the images had horns. I had to specify "--no horns" or "horns ::-2" for the latter image to pop. After researching the wendigo a bit I learned that later interpretations, after Europeans brought their own legends from the Old World, horns started showing up in descriptions of the monster. Why is any scholar's guess. And I'm sure there are some fairly good guesses out there.

Hmm, now to go enjoy ... lunch.

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