How we used AI to help build our portfolio

David Dinh
Oct 18, 2023

With the rise of generative AI, it’s hard to ignore headlines, software, and commentary informing those in creative industries that the end of their profession is near. The promise of tools that write effective marketing copy, design logos, and build websites—all at the press of a button—has generated its fair share of skepticism. With a self-imposed short timeline and four case studies to conceptualize and design, we decided to see what all the AI hype was about.

ChatGPT, write content for four case studies, please

We realized that our largest hurdle was going to be writing content to fill out our conceptual designs. Enter ChatGPT 3.5. Our prior experience with ChatGPT went as far as asking for absurd scripts and plots for our favourite TV shows. We didn’t know where to start until we looked into better ways to generate copy. The basic prompts we were using provided us with pretty terrible results. It wasn’t until we learned how to prompt properly that we were able to generate content that we could actually use. It wasn’t perfect, but it gave us the groundwork we needed.

The journey continues

For Tia Lola, we needed food, drink, and restaurant interior photography. We weren’t looking to settle with what we were seeing on stock photography websites, so we decided to use Midjourney to generate the images we needed. The prompting structures for Midjourney opened up an endless stream of options. Starting with a source image also gave us the freedom to really narrow in on the look/feel we were aiming for. Other features like inserting hex-based colour names, specifying lighting, and choosing a preferred aspect ratio saved us time with editing in post. After spending days generating images, we were happy with the results and we were ready to move on.

Filling in the gaps

Having Content Aware Fill in Photoshop was already a gift from the Adobe Gods, but now coupled with Generative Fill, it’s as though the hours spent Frankensteining images will soon be a forgotten memory. We utilized Generative Fill to help us with refining our Midjourney images as well as adding to other case study photography. There’s definitely still room for improvement, and the manual tweaking of photos is inevitable, but Generative Fill is a tool we’re happy to continue using (not a paid ad).

Navigating the hype

Unfortunately, nothing was as simple as promised, and we still had to put in the time to ensure everything looked and sounded exactly how we wanted. Our biggest takeaway moving forward is the value of using AI to help us brainstorm. It really felt as though we had a third team member to bounce ideas off of. Were the AI tools overhyped? They were definitely oversold, but there’s potentially a future with AI that empowers creatives to spend their time more efficiently, allowing them to work on more meaningful tasks.

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