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The Missing Afterword

by | Oct 2, 2022

When my latest book, The Underworld, The Fantasy Realms of Penn Fawn, was first released, and it was published in PDF and eBook format, it included an afterword.

About two days later, at the suggestion of a friend, I republished it with the afterword removed. Why I did so was because the very friend suggested, and I agreed with her, that including it took away from the main purpose of the book, which is, to principally be a pictorial companion guide to my other books in print, plus a couple that were yet to come.

We felt the afterword, because it went into explaining how the art was made, was tangential. Or, in other words was a topic, or side topic, perhaps deserving its own space.

When reviews of the book started coming in, however, a couple people, the few who downloaded it before I republished it, referred to the afterword in their reviews. They reported liking it.

Hm, I thought, for this now gave me something to think about. There would be people who probably would read those reviews, and maybe even get the book because of them. Then, when they got to the back of it, they’d notice there is no afterword. Mm. Not cool.

Consequentially, I decided to republish it, but not within the book. It is posted in its entirety below.

The Lake of Fire, from The Underworld, The Fantasy Realms of Penn Fawn.

Afterword

A process using Adobe Photoshop to manipulate photos or graphics called photobashing, or an artificial intelligence robot, or some combination of the two, was used to create all the graphics in this book. In other words, its title should not be taken too literally, because none of the art  in it is really an illustration.

If you get nothing else out of it, hopefully it’s en eye opener about what’s possible using today’s AI, because what a machine can kick out in a matter of minutes, providing you know what text prompts to give it, is nothing short of astounding. The days when one had to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars to commission an artist(s) to do art for your book covers or what have you, does indeed seem like it’s going to largely be a thing of the past. More and more, the machines are taking over.

For the most part, the “illustrations” here, are graphics created to look like a cross between a photo and a colored drawing or painting. Aside from providing character depictions or visualizations of locales, that’s as far as the graphics go regarding being illustrative. Again, or in other words, they are not drawings, sketches, or paintings. Well, not any that were done by a human. The female fantasy warrior on this book’s cover, for example, is not a photograph of a model posing in a costume. That is an AI generated image.

Practically every other piece of art in this book is AI generated. The images of the undead, those are one hundred percent AI. The images of the human characters? Those are all AI generated with almost no nips and tucks here and there using Adobe Photoshop. All images of the necromancer at various locales are one hundred percent AI generated with no Photoshop touch ups whatsoever. The same is true for the cave depictions and the lake of fire.

The AI bot used to create these images is available at a website called Midjourney, (www.midjourney.com). Anybody with a computer and/or access to the internet can access and use it. That said, it doesn’t mean you’ll be kicking out mind blowing art the second after you visit the site and begin issuing some text prompts. There is a learning curve. However, it’s not mind wracking. With a bit of patience, you can learn how to create fascinating art using Midjourney too for whatever your needs. You can have the bot fashion art into whatever style or look you’re hoping for.

There are lots of articles all over the internet, plus videos on YouTube about how to use Midjourney. None of this is difficult to follow. With a bit of patience, play, trial, and experimentation, you can begin creating some kick ass art too for your graphic novel, book covers, or what have you. That said, you need to be mindful of the copyright issues. If you are using a free or a trial account, you are granted a Commons Noncommercial 4.0 Attribution International License. That means you can use the images so long as you don’t sell them or make money off them, and as long as you give credit “attribution” to Midjourney. However, if you pay for your account, according to the company’s terms of service, “You basically own all Assets you create using Midjourney’s image generation and chat services.”

Basically is the operative word. The terms of service further specifies that you grant Midjourney a “perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at your direction.” The license survives termination of the Agreement by any party, for any reason.

In other words, even if you “create” a new piece of art, and you have all rights to use the images the service creates however you please, Midjourney also retains a license to use your work.

The TOS states, Midjourney is an open community which allows others to use and remix your images and prompts whenever they are posted in a public setting. By default, your images are publicly viewable and remixable. As described above, you grant Midjourney a license to allow this. However, if you purchase a private plan, you may bypass some of these public sharing defaults.

It goes without saying this allowance is a bummer. With such a license in effect, it’s quite possible anyone who used the Midjourney bot could not only make derivatie works from your art without any adverse legal consequence. What’s more is there’s nothing to stop such an individual from downloading any of the work you spent your hard earned money and time creating, then furthermore stating it’s his.

In such a scenario, it appears that proof of ownership lies in whether you can show you are the one who issued the text prompts to the bot before the individual who then downloaded your art and claimed it’s his.

Again, the legal situations around this issue are going to be interesting, to say the least. It left this author feeling a tad rushed to get the art in this book out there first, just in case something untoward like the situation mentioned above happened.

Ok, so that’s it for now for this issue. There are more books in The Underworld Series that are already written, that are yet to be released. Once they are thoroughly edited, which is quite a time consuming process, they will be.

Please stay tuned and in contact. Using any of the social media links is an excellent way to do so. If you’re reading this from the PDF book version, The social media URLs on the “Upcoming Works” page are hyperlinks to the author’s corresponding pages. Click on whichever service you use.

Thank you.
Your most humble and obedient servant.

Penn Fawn

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