Creator interview: Rhett Hildebrandt

In these creator interview posts, I’ll be asking a series of questions to people using AI tools for their work or artwork.
I hope you will enjoy the read and learn one or two useful things ;).

Madebyai: Can you tell us who you are and how you ended up doing AI generated art?

Rhett: My name is Rhett Hildebrandt. I started my professional life as an art director at an ad agency. So I have a large background in graphic design. I have since left the ad world and now own an escape room called The Quandary in Chicago IL.

I have always been fascinated with technology, futurism and especially AI. And I’m always scouring news and reddit for new awesome tech. I signed up for access to GPT-3 as soon as possible, same with DALL-E 2. But literally a week after I finally got my invite to DALL-E, I heard about Midjourney…then days after that, Stable Diffusion. And I haven’t turned back from SD because of the openness of it.

Madeyai: You run an escape room, it means that you already know how to create immersive gamified experiences, how do these skills help for creating a card game ?

Rhett: The skills from creating escape rooms have definitely helped creating the card game. My favorite part of owning an escape room is coming up with the puzzles and the stories of the room. We have recently started a push to make portable escape rooms that we can bring to parties and stuff. I initially started designing a card game as a hybrid escape room/battle card game. But it just wasn’t working how I wanted it to. Later I just had the idea of a battle card game that kinda had the playing card game of Spades as a backbone. So I took some of the ideas I had from the failed escape room card game and merged it with this new idea, and Deuspunk was born.

Madebyai: I am curious about your thoughts process, some people try to make the AI create exactly what they have in mind, others give freedom to the AI and try to see what the AI is ” telling ” them, more collaborative approach I would say, How did you approach this?

Rhett: My approach to working with AI is kinda similar to the approach I have working with people. For instance, when making an escape room, I often explain my vision to my employees on how the room should be, but as it’s being created, I allow them creative freedom to suggest new stuff or alter things and I’m always open and happy to implement good suggestions. When working with the AI, I start with a vision of what I want, but as I’m generating text and images, many times the AI will produce something that I hadn’t thought of, so I adjust my vision to incorporate that. I started designing the Deuspunk logo myself, but then I was like “I wonder if SD could make any good ones” so I gave it a prompt that was something like “a logo for the card game Deuspunk, A CCG where you play as gods and battle champions, vector, logo, simple, trending on Behance” and generated like 15. They were all pretty good, but the current logo that I chose was one of the ones generated. I was like “wow, that’s cooler than the one I was designing.” So I got that, cleaned it up a bit and now use it.

Madebyai: You told me that your card game Deuspunk will be kind of the sister of your escape room, what do you mean by that?

Rhett: It is just going to be a sister business, meaning that it isn’t going to be directly under the umbrella of The Quandary Escape Rooms, but run alongside of it. But I am planning on selling it and having Deuspunk tournaments at The Quandary when it is released.

Madebyai: When do you plan to release your cardgame ?

Rhett: I don’t have a set date, we are still in the playtesting process. I may do a Kickstarter as well. It was initially designed to be a mobile game, but now I think I’m gonna make a mobile and physical version. I’ll post news on the website, when I have it.

Madebyai: What do you think is the next big thing that gonna happen in the next couple of weeks/months, ai-tech related?

Rhett: I think AI is really going to be the way of the future. Right now, people need massive amounts of talent in a bunch of areas, or lots of money/connections to fill out the talent needed in areas they don’t have to start business or creative pursuits. AI is changing that. It is allowing people that have big ideas, but maybe not the raw talent or cash, to be able to realize their ideas by using AI helpers.

It is so crazy the boom we’ve seen with txt2img ai. Just in the last couple months, weve gone from DALL-E 2 showing it’s insane results over DALL-E 1, but being locked down with limited amounts of people being able to use it. To now, anyone being able to create unlimited images in countless styles. The community coming out with tons of models, optimizing the tech on a day-by-day basis. It’s truly amazing.

Soon we’ll have txt2video and in the next coming years, I think we’ll see a democratization boom of content creation that we haven’t seen since the start of YouTube.

When YouTube started, anyone could be a film maker, but they still had to have a video camera, time, friends, etc. And if they wanted the videos to look somewhat good, they had to have the talent to use editing and VFX software.

But with txt2video in the next months to years, we I think we see people create almost Hollywood level videos with just an idea and the ability to craft that idea into text.

What a time to be alive.

Madebyai: With your experience using the tools, you probably discovered a couple of tips and tricks, Which ones would you be ok to share with our audience?

Rhett: I’m definitely still learning how to best use txt2img. But some of the biggest things I’ve found is to start generating small batches. Like of 4-6. Constantly tweak the prompt until you start getting consistent results you like. Then generate a bunch (like 50-100) and choose the best from those.

Madebyai: what is the next thing you are going to try using Ai tools?

Rhett: I’m designing an escape room right now that deals with museum paintings. I am going to be using Stable Diffusion to generate fake masterpieces of art.

Madebyai: Is there anything else you want to share with our audience?

Rhett: Always keep creating. Creativity doesn’t mean just someone that can write a book or paint a picture. Everyone can be creative in their own way. And it is a blessing that we have more and more tools out there that can let more and more people use their creativity.

Madebyai: Where can people find put more about you?

Rhett: Definitely keep checking for updates. Keep an eye out for the Kickstarter. We also have a facebook and Instagram (@deuspunk_game). That people can follow for updates. And if anyone is ever in the Chicago area, they can always drop by The Quandary Escape Rooms and chat with us!

I want to say a big thank you to Rhett for sharing these insights with us, check also some of his creations that I added in the “ studies “ section.

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