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Why Are AI-Generated Hands So Messed Up?

AI art can do many things but one thing it cannot do is hands.

Look at these examples of hideously atrocious alien-like hand forms that have been generated in AI art.

why ai art can't do hands

And this comes down to several fangs.

Firstly, we’ve grown so used to hands.

why ai art can't do hands

But in fact, they’re one of the most unusual complexes and strange objects that exist in our biological world.

They want you to look at your hand.

Put it up in front of your face.

Imagine you’ve never seen your hand before if you look at it for the first time.

You begin to realize what an alien and strange contraption these five little tentacles attached to the end of our wrists.

Secondly, there is an acute complex mechanics to the hand.

why ai art can't do hands

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to a computer.

It doesn’t understand the way it works internally and how that affects the way that the digits form and move and that it has a range of movements.

History of Hands in the Arts

To understand why AI art has such a problem with hands we must take a little journey back through the history of hands in the art to the caves of Argentina and Spain sixty thousand years ago.

We can find stencils of hands.

Some of the earliest artworks are of the hand but this rudimentary 2D interpretation of putting your hand on the wall and blowing ink around it to get artworks like these.

why ai art can't do hands

But one thing it does show is the importance of hands.

Hands are a key part of our identity symbolizing both ourselves and our collective nature as humans.

Other early interpretations of humans in caves depict humans as sticks with barely a joint depicting the hand.

Moving forward in time, in ancient Egypt, the artists are not concerned with correctly representing the anatomy.

The hands are shown on their sides the fingers all have similar sizes and the first corners are emphasized.

why ai art can't do hands

The hands are static, rigid, and always shown in a frontal pose.

Instead of trying to interpret hands accurately, Egyptians used a very simplistic stylized approach to at least identify clearly what a hand is.

As we move forward in time to ancient Greece, the Greeks develop more realistic anatomically correct hands.

They’re less forced and have more natural poses.

This can be seen in these works such as the Discobolus by Myron.

discobolus by myron

We advance once more to the art of the Middle Ages.

art of the middle ages

We can see the representation of hands here as being decidedly flat almost comic or cartoonish.

The heavy outlines and there’s little relief on the fingers.

Michaelangelos’ Art

It’s only as we get to the Renaissance that we start to discover true anatomy with Michelangelo producing several beautiful studies of truly anatomically correct hands.

michaelangelo's art

He used to take bodies from the morgue and cut them open to understand how they work inside.

It’s only with an understanding of the bones the ligaments the muscles that you can accurately draw a hand.

And this is one area where AI art falls.

That it only interprets the outside of a hand.

It’s only seen hands a thousand times from the outside.

It cannot connect how the insides of the mechanics’ hand work.

And now as we enter the age of AI art, we’re returning to a desire first for ultra-realistic incarnations of hands.

And we’re often left disappointed with what we get.

Final Thoughts

Hands are improving in AI art and it’s now possible to get a consistent amount of fingers.

And at least something that resembles consistently a hand.

Thanks for watching.

I hope you enjoyed this video.

I’m Samson Vowles, this is Delightful Design.

Have a delightful day.

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