Paloceras Creative Director Mika Matikainen talks about AI in creativity at ADCE Winners Night & CCP Talk in Lisbon

Artificial intelligence is everywhere. It will overtake everything and everybody, especially in the creative industry, they say. It can’t be forgotten, so what if we learn to leverage its productive features to our advantage in creative work? Those who incorporate AI into their work may surpass those who do not. And if those who utilise AI also take into account culture, context, and history, there is still hope.

I had the opportunity to speak about AI in creativity at The House of Hope and Dream in Lisbon, Portugal, thanks to an invitation from Clube Criativos de Portugal, a branch of Art Directors Club Europe (ADCE). The event was well-organized and provided a platform for engaging discussions both during and after the talks. In this article, I'll be sharing some of the key takeaways from my presentation.

At Paloceras, AI plays a key role in our design process, serving as an additional team member that generates a wealth of visual and verbal ideas. While it cannot function independently, it can be effectively leveraged to quickly generate a large number of ideas that fuel our creative ideation process. Our primary AI tools include ChatGPT and Midjourney, and we occasionally incorporate others like Dall·e and

Next, I'll be sharing how we leverage AI at Paloceras to enhance our design process.

In designing our latest collection, we started from a material point of view, beginning with high-quality Italian acetate plates used for high-end eyewear. First, our initial ideas were sketched with pen and paper, then moving on to the computer and digitising sketches to be fit with acetate plates.

We exist to craft iconic products at the cutting-edge of imagination and reality

To generate additional ideas, we utilised Dall·e's feature that creates variations of uploaded images. We uploaded some of our sketches to see what shapes Dall·e would generate based on them.

Dall·e 2 eyewear design

Based on Dall·e's input, we created a few 3D concepts and tested them on a MetaHuman model. However, we were not excited about the direction they were heading in – they looked too conventional. We decided to take a step back and try a different approach.

Eyewear design 3D

Midjourney is an AI-powered image-creation tool which we’ve used since summer 2022. It allows more detailed prompts and also creates more detailed outcomes. After fine-tuning the variables of the prompt, we ended up to a direction that looked like the ones we see below.

Midjourney eyewear design

That was pretty futuristic in a nostalgic way, like 1980s kite-surfers meeting Star Trek characters. The overall look and feel of the eyewear together with the (unpolished) details was quite promising and got us excited. We moved back to the drawing board and started drafting by hand and on the computer, moving towards detailed shapes that could be used in the collection.

Eyewear design drafts mockups

After getting a good feeling of the direction through sketches, we jumped into Blender and built a detailed 3D model.

Blender eyewear 3D design

Adding textures, materials and lights, and putting all of them together in a rendering resulted a promising outcome.

Paloceras PUFF eyewear design

Doing more tests with the 3D model from different angles, distances, with different colours and materials, and trying them on a MetaHuman model. It all looked pretty wild in a good way. This is it.

Paloceras PUFF shapes

We ended up using the first PUFF model as the core model for the whole collection and drafted a set of shape options for other models.

Paloceras PUFF collection structure

And finally we ended up having a few core shapes with different material and lens finishings.

And here's a short animation showcasing the PUFF collection.

Paloceras PUFF collection from Paloceras on Vimeo.

To conclude this article I would like to share one more slide from the presentation that focuses on the visual part of our design process in the form of Double Diamond with assets seen during the presentation and in this article.

Double Diamond design process AI Midjourney eyewear

At the end of the presentation, I shared a list of AI services on Twitter that could be helpful for creatives, so I'll share it here, too.

If you don't see the embedded tweet, you can see it here.

This was a practical example of how we use AI in our design process. On a higher level, what could be the potential impact of integrating AI into the creative process? As we explore the potential of AI in creativity, we can find inspiration from the words of the philosopher Martin Heidegger, who once wrote:

“Everywhere we remain unfree and chained to technology, whether we passionately affirm or deny it. But we are delivered over to it in the worst possible way when we regard it as something neutral.”

By recognising the limitations and biases of AI, and by using it as a tool rather than a replacement for human creativity, we can remain free and in control of our creative processes. We can embrace the possibilities that AI brings, but let us never forget the importance of human ingenuity and imagination. As we move forward into an increasingly technologically advanced future, let us continue to prioritise the human element in our creative endeavours.

Keep creating, and never stop dreaming big.

Hero image: Photo © Francisco Melim