The second wave of indie creation

December 30, 2022Posted ingeneral thoughts

Disclaimer: Lexica, the site I talk about in this text, often update and change their website, so the things I say about them may be inaccurate in the future. The main points should still be valid though.

Half a year ago I talked about how sampling is cool and speeds up creative work, while AI is also cool and can speed up non-creative work, and that these together lets you make cooler art faster which is a win-win that eliminates all "quality vs quantity" concerns inside your artist brain. Good art doesn't have to take time, which we have seen with the indie wave the last 15 years where people started making full movies on their smartphone/laptop. What took years to complete in the 90s now takes a month. I especially wrote about how the license Creative Commons 0 (or "CC0") could help you create things faster, because it lets you use others work without asking for permission. Removing all the hassle with looking for license information, asking for permission and paying can turn days to hours and hours to seconds when it comes to music/movie/game/etc creation, but unfortunately the libraries of CC0 content is pretty small and empty. So if we could find a way to get all information imaginable into CC0, the capacity of what a single person can create would skyrocket. I called this "wishful overthinking that I believe in 100%" and could only see this second wave of indie creation happen many years into the future.

Somehow I touched on both AI and CC0 sampling, without thinking about connecting the two subjects. If the problem holding back CC0 is that it's boring, dry and empty, while AI is cool and powerful, as I said, why not put one and one together and use AI to fill the CC0 libraries with information? That's what lexica.art has done! They've made a search engine full of AI generated content, by scraping a Discord server and letting users use their own AI model, all released under CC0 (UPDATE 2023-01-12: THIS ISN'T REALLY TRUE ANYMORE. To be more exact, only the images generated with the model Stable Diffusion 1.5 are CC0. They are very many but you have to manually and specifically search for them). They had more images (5+ millions) five days after launch than the more traditional free-to-use image search engine Unsplash has today, 10 years after its start (3+ millions). If this is the start, I dare to say my vision about a second indie creation wave is already here! Technology, price and accessability has reached a crucial point, which has now given us a fast and accessible image search engine with an ever-increasing library of free-to-use images. Sometimes the images look weird and uncanny but if this is the beginning, I can't see how sites like this won't outclass all existing image search engines in a short future. AI models won't get slower or worse, Stable Diffusion (the AI model that Lexica gets a lot of their images from) is open source and kids today will grow up with seeing this as the standard and will probably aim even higher without blinking.

lexica.art

This is only for images, but similar tools for music, audio and video creation will come in a matter of time, and when these tools get refined and the stubborn art communities get overran by young people working towards the future we will see cool things that we can't even imagine yet. After taking a look into the game development world for the last year, I can say that a LOT of the truths people in there will stop being truth. What's possible and not will completely change. Right now we have big companies making big ambitious games and solo developers making small simple games, but when the friction for making big ambitious stuff decreases explosively, and solo developers and small teams can make what the big companies do now, who will want to work at a big game company?

My vision of a second wave of indie creation all comes down to speed. To be able to get all information imaginable in a matter of microseconds. AI generation is cool, but if it's hidden behind annoying paywalls and sign-up boxes the coolness won't matter. I have made a simple site that is a list of sites that all have a clear way to search for ONLY CC0 material, to help navigate the CC0 world and promote fast and simple tools and pages:

kbrecordzz.com/cc0

Up until now it has consisted of traditional sites with traditional content, but Lexica has shown that AI generated content deserves to be there too.