As AI image generators continue to mature, we are seeing more uses as the tools improve. Inpainting is one such tool that allows us to mask out an area and regenerate it. While it has been around for some time and is a powerful tool… Outpainting is just as powerful and relevant to the digital artist taking advantage of these tools to enhance their workflow whether it be for profit or fun.
Outpainting can be as simple as it sounds, it adds to the image outside of the image boundaries. If you are unfamiliar with this concept, then it can be a little mind-blowing as the AI analyzes the image and adds to the canvas not resizing the image.
It’s easier just to show you what I’m talking about:
Outpainting is not that complicated with this tool. You place the image inside a square representing the Outpaint area. Combine this with the proper word prompt like “snowy log cabin in the woods” and the AI takes over to do the rest. Sometimes you can get some comical results, but it doesn’t take long to tune the prompt to your needs.
In rare cases, you may come to realize you are asking more than the AI can do. In the case of a monotone portrait of a characterized, old movie vampire that was rendered with a cartoon style, the outpainting just couldn’t match the clothing to the image. After multiple tries, I finally gave up and tried the cabin image which came out so well that I had a hard time choosing between the 7 images it generated.
I was also able to use a Midjourney-generated female headshot to outpaint for use as a cover background on a magazine mockup in Adobe Express. It was a simple process as you generate the original image then outpaint it to gain more of the image than first generated. Exported and then uploaded to Abobe Express using the ICON template.
I’m really hoping her face will draw away from the fact that she has fingernails growing out of the sides of her fingers. Something you could inpaint to correct with enough tries or just fix it the old-fashioned way with Photoshop. While making the cover mock-up it occurred to me how many digital vocations will eventually be affected by Art AI. Maybe not all that soon but this type of tool is disruptive to many types of digital skills.
Creative art has been the domain of humans, the creative spark that set us apart from
the lower animals. Now… with AI… we might one day be a lower animal ourselves.
The Stable Diffusion Infinity tool is capable of inpainting and outpainting and this free version runs on Google Colab. Like all Colab projects, it looks complicated as hell but in reality, all you have to do is run three checkboxes, wait a bit, then initialize the interface with another click.
Ignore all the technical stuff except you will have to get a free Hugging Face token (shown in the video below). You may run into a permission error and if so, read the popup message and follow the directions to a webpage where you can click a button to agree to terms and other legalese.
The Stable Diffusion Infinity inpainting and outpainting tool.
I got my information from a YouTube video that is embedded below. It’s only a part of the video as the entire video is for turning a portrait into a video but it shows you how to run the three checkboxes then initialize the interface and get your free token to use the tool.
Outpainting begins at 10:19 and ends at 15:21:
Outpainting is much simpler than masking things out for inpainting and takes many fewer iterations to get useful content. Google Colab does the heavy lifting while you watch, check a few boxes, and craft a good prompt. Watch the portion of the tutorial above to get through the process and generate the web-based user interface then you can use it to extend the area anywhere around an existing image.
M.D. McCallum, aka WarLord, is an international award-winning commercial graphics artist, 3D animator, published author, project director, and webmaster with a freelance career that spans over 20 years. Now retired, M.D. is currently working part-time on writing and select character development projects. You can learn more about MD on his website.