State of the art-ful AI: Ye Olde Shoppe

From AI to AI and back again

This is the latest entry in our ‘State of the art-ful AI’ series, where we upload a photo to Chat GPT 4 and ask it for a photo description, then ask DALL-E 3 to generate an image from the description. How similar will they be?

Why this workflow?

Less than a year after its launch, ChatGPT and DALL-E have already seen multiple iterations. In October 2023, ChatGPT 4 gained the capability to describe uploaded photos. To track the progress of generative AI, we uploaded these AI descriptions to the Dall-E 3 image generation model to see how faithful its output is to the original photo. A variety of photos have been selected which we’ll bring you throughout November and December.

Our original photo

The photo as described by Chat GPT 4 in 150 words

The image depicts a monochrome photograph, capturing a vintage street scene. It appears to be an old photograph, given the graininess and blurriness that suggest it might have been taken with early photography equipment. On the left, there is a building with a sign that reads “G. Woodward, Butcher,” indicating a butcher’s shop. The storefront is filled with goods, likely various meats, displayed behind a large glass window. In front of the shop stands a man, possibly the butcher, wearing attire typical of a bygone era, possibly early 20th century.

Adjacent to the butcher’s shop, there’s another building with similar architectural features, indicating they might be part of a uniform row of shops or houses typical in many English towns. A street extends from the foreground into the background on the right, lined by a sidewalk. There’s a lamp post prominently featured in the middle of the image. The top of the post and its lamp are silhouetted against the lighter sky. Further down the street, there are more buildings, which contribute to the sense of a tight-knit community. The overall atmosphere is nostalgic, providing a glimpse into a past lifestyle.

Photos generated by Dall-E 3 using the AI description

Spot the difference

Using a separate chat, we asked Chat GPT what differences it finds between the original photo and the FIRST image generated above:

Here’s a comparison of the two images using a numbered list:

The two images depict the same storefront at different times or from different photographic techniques. Here are the main differences:

  1. Image Quality: The first image is much blurrier with lower contrast, whereas the second image is clearer with higher contrast and better-defined details.
  2. Presence of People: There is a man standing in the doorway of the butcher’s shop in the first image, while in the second image, a man stands confidently in front of the shop.
  3. Shopfront Detail: The second image shows more detail of the shop, including window lettering, the shop sign, and goods displayed inside the window.
  4. Street View: The first image shows a side street in the background, while the second image provides a view of the adjacent building and a clearer view of the street lamp.
  5. Architectural Detail: The second image displays clearer architectural details, such as the brickwork, the chimney pots, and the roofline of the buildings.
  6. Window Displays: The display of meats and goods is more visible and detailed in the second image.
  7. Shop Signage: The signage on the shop in the second image is more legible, showing the name “G. WOODWARD. BUTCHER” prominently.
  8. Coloration: The first image appears to have a bluish tint, suggesting it might be a cyanotype or a similar process, whereas the second is a monochrome with sepia tones, indicating a different photographic process or post-processing technique.
  9. Lighting and Shadows: The second image has more pronounced shadows, indicating either a different time of day or different lighting conditions when the photo was taken.
  10. Overall Clarity: The second image has more sharpness overall, which could be due to the photographic equipment, the film used, or subsequent restoration of the photograph.

Example workflow video

Here’s our workflow in action, using an ice cream truck image. This is not an explainer video – It shows the main steps of the above ChatGPT 4 workflow in November 2023.