Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Drinking Costco Matcha while Cranking out Elves

After being sticker shocked by a price increase in the local grocery store matcha, I finally sprung for the giant bag of matcha from Costco. It's an epic good deal at $18 for 12 ounces and I'm here to say it's pretty good. I can unequivocally state it's better than any I've drunk in any boba joint or tea house.  I quaff it by the gallon these days in matcha lattes but when I do drink it straight, this budget matcha from Sencha Naturals has a pleasing sweet lingering finish. 

Twin Elves from the East

After being disappointed by the unelflike elves in the worst Tolkien adaptation that has ever existed, I spent all week trying to generate sketches of convincing elves with my magical AI image generator.   I am not a long hair purist. It's entirely possible that after a Balrog yanked down Glorfindel by his long tresses that warrior elves might choose to keep it short.  You don't want orcs yanking your ponytail in battle. Those elves from that unworthy production had more behavioral issues and acted like short sighted mortal humans. 

I was curious what AI training data considered a canonical elf and it's predictably a long haired pointy-eared pointy-faced pretty boy of European descent.   I prefer my fantasy races to look different from the human race like the drows of D&D or the dunmer of Morrowind. It makes more sense to me that fantasy races would look nothing like existing human ethnicities. But fantasy content is created by and for humans.  For kicks I tried making elves of various human ethnicities to see what makes an elf visually an elf.  Elves don't have to be ethereally beautiful, ugly elves work too. Actually anybody that's played an Elder Scrolls games knows this.  Bearded elves and fat elves are a harder sell and bearded fat elves, well they simply cross over into dwarf territory.

Samurai elves are a thing in fantasy games...

My husband charitably said these portraits were convincing, these were not just characters that appeared to be cosplaying.    In the portrait above, I've taken out the ears of the left twin mainly because they were hideously large donkey ears. It actually feels like he should have elf ears.  Regardless of race, it's a fiddly affair trying to get AI to put in elf ears which are often garishly proportioned, no doubt skewed by enthusiastic fan art.  I've only had moderate success with the Asian face types. The other races, I've generated hundreds of variations but could not get them to look quite convincing. I can't decide if long dreads do not look right on an elf or I am lacking the magic prompts to make it look right.

You can enjoy more of my work from my newly minted Deviant Art page:


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