OpenAI just gave artists access to Sora and proved the AI video tool is weirder and more powerful than we thought

A man with a balloon for a head is somehow not the weirdest thing you'll see today thanks to a series of experimental video clips made by seven artists using OpenAI's Sora generative video creation platform.

Unlike OpenAI's ChatGPT AI chatbot and the DALL-E image generation platform, the company's text-to-video tool still isn't publicly available. However, on Monday, OpenAI revealed it had given Sora access to “visual artists, designers, creative directors, and filmmakers” and revealed their efforts in a “first impressions” blog post.

While all of the films ranging in length from 20 seconds to a minute-and-a-half are visually stunning, most are what you might describe as abstract. OpenAI's Artist In Residence Alex Reben's 20-second film is an exploration of what could very well be some of his sculptures (or at least concepts for them), and creative director Josephine Miller's video depicts models melded with what looks like translucent stained glass.

Not all the videos are so esoteric.

OpenAI Sora AI-generated video image by Don Allen Stevenson III

OpenAI Sora AI-generated video image by Don Allen Stevenson III (Image credit: OpenAI sora / Don Allen Stevenson III)

If we had to give out an award for most entertaining, it might be multimedia production company shy kids' “Air Head”. It's an on-the-nose short film about a man whose head is a hot-air-filled yellow balloon. It might remind you of an AI-twisted version of the classic film, The Red Balloon, although only if you expected the boy to grow up and marry the red balloon and…never mind.

Sora's ability to convincingly merge the fantastical balloon head with what looks like a human body and a realistic environment is stunning. As shy kids' Walter Woodman noted, “As great as Sora is at generating things that appear real, what excites us is its ability to make things that are totally surreal.” And yes, it's a funny and extremely surreal little movie.

But wait, it gets stranger.

The other video that will have you waking up in the middle of the night is digital artist Don Allen Stevenson III's “Beyond Our Reality,” which is like a twisted National Geographic nature film depicting never-before-seen animal mergings like the Girafflamingo, flying pigs, and the Eel Cat. Each one looks as if a mad scientist grabbed disparate animals, carved them up, and then perfectly melded them to create these new chimeras.

OpenAI and the artists never detail the prompts used to generate the videos, nor the effort it took to get from the idea to the final video. Did they all simply type in a paragraph describing the scene, style, and level of reality and hit enter, or was this an iterative process that somehow got them to the point where the man's balloon head somehow perfectly met his shoulders or the Bunny Armadillo transformed from grotesque to the final, cute product?

That OpenAI has invited creatives to take Sora for a test run is not surprising. It's their livelihoods in art, film, and animation that are most at risk from Sora's already impressive capabilities. Most seem convinced it's a tool that can help them more quickly develop finished commercial products.

“The ability to rapidly conceptualize at such a high level of quality is not only challenging my creative process but also helping me evolve in storytelling. It's enabling me to translate my imagination with fewer technical constraints,” said Josephine Miller in the blog post.

Go watch the clips but don't blame us if you wake up in the middle of the night screaming.

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Windows 11 could finally make color management easier, and that’s great news for artists and gamers

Microsoft might be planning to release a new color management panel that’ll make picking the perfect color profile for your PC much easier. The perfect color settings make games pop out of the display more vividly, and if you’re a digital artist or photographer, the right color profile could make or break your next masterpiece. 

According to VideoCardz, the change was spotted in the Windows Insider program's latest Insider Preview Build 26052. This is a community of Windows enthusiasts and developers that get early access to potential new features and upgrades, and give feedback before the features are available to regular Windows 11 users. 

The new color management panel showcased in the build has been updated to the modern Windows 11 aesthetic and relocated to the main Settings menu, with easy-to-navigate options and a simpler layout. The old color management menu, which had to be accessed via the Windows Control Panel, has been effectively removed in Build 26052.

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Better control,hopefully … 

Most people who just use their PC for office work or school projects might never venture to this section of the Settings menu, but this could be great news for photographers, digital artists, video editors, and gamers who rely on getting the most out of their monitors. 

From the side-by-side screenshot comparison in the above tweet (sorry, 'X post'), you can see some new features too: the option to color-calibrate your monitor for specific profiles and enable automatic color balancing for compatible Windows apps. If you don’t want to manually color calibrate, you can either select the best option from the available profiles or create your own so you get the most accurate hues. 

While we're excited about this change, we do have to keep in mind that some features that are put into the Dev channel don’t always make it out to the public, so there is a chance we might never see it reach the public build.  We do however hope to see it come to Windows 11 soon because it’ll be a convenient way of managing your color preferences and profiles within the menu layout you’re already familiar with. 

If you want to give it a go, you’ll have to sign up to join the Windows Insider program first. Once you’ve done that you’ll be able to go straight to the ‘display’ section of your general settings and see the ‘Color Management’ option, where you can play around with different profiles and settings. 

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The AI backlash begins: artists could protect against plagiarism with this powerful tool

A team of researchers at the University of Chicago has created a tool aimed to help online artists “fight back against AI companies” by inserting, in essence, poison pills into their original work.

Called Nightshade, after the family of toxic plants, the software is said to introduce poisonous pixels to digital art that messes with the way generative AIs interpret them. The way models like Stable Diffusion work is they scour the internet, picking up as many images as they can to use as training data. What Nightshade does is exploit this “security vulnerability”. As explained by the MIT Technology Review, these “poisoned data samples can manipulate models into learning” the wrong thing. For example, it could see a picture of a dog as a cat or a car as a cow.

Poison tactics

As part of the testing phase, the team fed Stable Diffusion infected content and “then prompted it to create images of dogs”. After being given 50 samples, the AI generated pictures of misshapen dogs with six legs. After 100, you begin to see something resembling a cat. Once it was given 300, dogs became full-fledged cats. Below, you'll see the other trials.

Nightshade tests

(Image credit: University of Chicago/MIT Technology Review)

The report goes on to say Nightshade also affects “tangentially related” ideas because generative AIs are good “at making connections between words”. Messing with the word “dog” jumbles similar concepts like puppy, husky, or wolf. This extends to art styles as well. 

Nightshade's tangentially related samples

(Image credit: University of Chicago/MIT Technology Review)

It is possible for AI companies to remove the toxic pixels. However as the MIT post points out, it is “very difficult to remove them”. Developers would have to “find and delete each corrupted sample.” To give you an idea of how tough this would be, a 1080p image has over two million pixels. If that wasn’t difficult enough, these models “are trained on billions of data samples.” So imagine looking through a sea of pixels to find the handful messing with the AI engine.

At least, that’s the idea. Nightshade is still in the early stages. Currently, the tech “has been submitted for peer review at [the] computer security conference Usenix.” MIT Technology Review managed to get a sneak peek.

Future endeavors

We reached out to team lead, Professor Ben Y. Zhao at the University of Chicago, with several questions. 

He told us they do have plans to “implement and release Nightshade for public use.” It’ll be a part of Glaze as an “optional feature”. Glaze, if you’re not familiar, is another tool Zhao’s team created giving artists the ability to “mask their own personal style” and stop it from being adopted by artificial intelligence. He also hopes to make Nightshade open source, allowing others to make their own venom.

Additionally, we asked Professor Zhao if there are plans to create a Nightshade for video and literature. Right now, multiple literary authors are suing OpenAI claiming the program is “using their copyrighted works without permission.” He states developing toxic software for other works will be a big endeavor “since those domains are quite different from static images. The team has “no plans to tackle those, yet.” Hopefully someday soon.

So far, initial reactions to Nightshade are positive. Junfeng Yang, a computer science professor at Columbia University, told Technology Review this could make AI developers “respect artists’ rights more”. Maybe even be willing to pay out royalties.

If you're interested in picking up illustration as a hobby, be sure to check out TechRadar's list of the best digital art and drawing software in 2023.

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This new YouTube Music feature could be the best way to discover new artists

YouTube Music is implementing a Samples tab on mobile in an effort to introduce new artists to potential fans via “short-form video segments”. Basically, it’s TikTok.

The announcement states Samples will have their home in the bottom navigation bar in between Home and Explore. Selecting it launches the personalized feed where the algorithm will display “the latest release from an up-and-coming artist or a deep cut from a legacy [musician]” the website thinks you would enjoy. Each track will be accompanied by a 30-second video clip. Swiping up on your phone screen, as you probably guess, skips to the next song. 

On the surface, Samples sounds similar to the Supermix and Discover playlists already present on YouTube Music. In a recent Engadget report, YouTube Music product manager Gregor Dodson claims the algorithm for Samples is different. Apparently, the new feature is a mix between Supermix and Discover, highlighting musicians you may know while also throwing in clips you might not have seen before.

Right now, you may be rolling your eyes at the fact that yet another popular social media app is copying TikTok’s endless feed. However, considering YouTube Shorts have proven to be very popular with its user base, plus the near-infinite amount of songs on the platform, adding the same feature to YouTube Music just makes a lot of sense.

Music demo

We managed to get our hands on Samples, and we have to admit, it’s pretty cool. It’s fun to see music videos you may not normally watch to then discover an awesome band you never heard of before. Be aware each snippet will loop endlessly. They won’t change automatically. To watch the next entry, you’ll have to manually swipe up on the screen.

On the side, you’ll have a series of buttons for liking songs, adding them to a playlist, sharing your favorites with friends, or using them in a YouTube Short. Tapping the three dots on the bottom right opens a menu leading to an extra set of tools. As you can see in the image below, users will be able to download songs (assuming you’re a YouTube Premium subscriber) or check out the musician’s profile.

YouTube Music Samples tools

(Image credit: Future)

Available now

If it wasn’t already clear, Samples is a free addition. You don’t need to subscribe to the Premium plan. Just make sure you have the latest version of YouTube Music on your mobile device. It’s currently rolling out to all users across the globe so keep an eye out for the patch when it arrives. 

There are plans to expand the tech to other parts of the platform. Details for future expansions are unknown at the time of this writing.

Melding music with an infinite feed seems like a growing trend. Spotify implemented similar tech when it redesigned its mobile app. And TikTok is going a different route by preparing its own music streaming service. To be honest, we're a little curious to see how long it’ll be until we see Tidal begin supporting a scrolling feed.

While we’re on the topic, check out TechRadar’s list of the best music streaming services for 2023.  

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Stable Doodle AI can turn doodlers into artists

Stability AI, the developer behind Stable Diffusion, has launched a new generative AI that can turn simple sketches into high-definition images.

It’s fittingly called Stable Doodle and it's quite user-friendly. According to the announcement, “anyone with basic drawing skills” can try out the tech right now for free on Stability AI’s ClipDrop website.

The way it works is you begin by doodling something on the drawing board with the pencil tool. Next, you enter a prompt in the text box underneath to tell Stable Doodle what you drew. The AI needs some direction. You can also instruct it to emulate particular styles or famous painters such as Vincent Van Gogh. If you’re stumped, select “No Style” below the board and you will be given 14 different art forms to emulate, from origami to anime.

Click “Generate” when you’re ready, wait a few seconds, and then three images will show up in a grid alongside the original sketch. You can download the content in high definition or have the AI start over. Of course, there is an eraser tool present if you make a mistake or you want to wipe the board clean.

To give you some examples, below is a collection of drawings we had Stable Doodle create with the sketch we drew, plus a prompt.

Image 1 of 3

Stable Doodle generated image of cats

(Image credit: Future)
Image 2 of 3

Stable Doodle generated image of mech

(Image credit: Future)
Image 3 of 3

Stable Doodle generated image of a happy dog

(Image credit: Future)


As fun as it is, there are some limitations. First, anonymous users can only generate three sketches at a time before Stability AI asks you to wait 21 hours. You can wait the full amount of time to regain access or you can sign up for a free account. After signing up, it appears the limit is removed as we were able to create more than three pieces of art without issue. Do note the website doesn’t save sketches or generated content, so be sure to download them.

The other limitation is that the quality of “ the final output is dependent on the initial drawing and description”. You don’t have to be a master artist, however, clean sketches do improve the chances of getting clean artwork. If you compare our generated content and Stability AI's, the latter is much cleaner. There are fewer errors. But it's okay if you're not a great artist, as other reports hint at the fact the AI seems to rely more on the text prompts than what you draw.


The work isn’t over yet as there are plans to expand the AI. A company spokesperson told TechCrunch that Stable Doodle will one day allow users to upload their own sketches as well as introduce “use cases for specific verticals [like] real estate applications”. In the reveal, Stability AI states it envisions the tech helping professionals “free up valuable time” by creating important assets like “[materials] for presentations decks” or business logos.

It’s unknown when this update will roll out, although we did ask.

As mentioned earlier, you can try out Stable Doodle by going to ClipDrop or downloading the official ClipDrop app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best AR art generators for 2023

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