Laser-focused on creativity, Glowforge adds AI image generation
We've all had a lot of fun with creating game assets, odd selfies, custom stock images and dubious nudes, and it was only a question of time before one of the big hardware-makers jumped on the AI image generation band wagon. Today, laser cutting and printing company Glowforge releases its Magic Canvas feature, which lets even the least artistic of us create fun and creative artworks, optimized for the company's laser etching machines.
"The magic comes from how we've trained and mapped the training data between text and images, so that you're creating things that actually work well with the laser straight out of the gate," said Dan Shapiro, CEO and co-founder of Glowforge in an interview with TechCrunch, as he was demoing the new Magic Canvas feature.
The company has created a number of styles (ranging from heroic portrait and pencil drawing to super cute and cartoonish characters). Combine the style with a prompt, and the Glowforge software sends the commands up to the cloud where a powerful graphics card generates an image based on the prompt. If the user doesn't love the image they can hit "again" to create a new version of the image, or select "use this image" to pass the AI-generated masterpiece to the printer.
"I wish I could draw," laughs Shapiro. "With Magic Canvas, it doesn't compare with what a professional artist can do. But gosh darn it if it's not 1,000 times better than what I could do."
Glowforge can etch and charge wood, acrylic, fabric and all manner of other materials (even chocolate, if you like your coco extra crispy).
Glowforge CEO Dan Shapiro and your trusty correspondent had a lot of fun generating tech company logos, characters and scuba diving boxfish. Because, well, why not. Image Credits: Glowforge.
"After years of research, Generative AI is finally bearing results. At Glowforge, we help our customers print beautiful, physical products, quickly and easily -- to bring their ideas to life. We’ve been working with cutting-edge artificial intelligence research to find a new way to do that, and today, we’re proud to unveil Magic Canvas to the world," said Shapiro. "It’s already easy to create with your Glowforge, so the last barrier was the hardest: how to bring your idea to life quickly, without complex tools. We’re able to use modern AI technology to provide the solution: a supercomputer in the cloud, creating artwork just for you."
The company has applied for patents related to its Magic Canvas software, and the team was reluctant to share specific details about which exact latent diffusion neural network it's using to generate its made-for-laser-engraving AI artworks. The new feature is part of the company's $50 per month (or $239 per year) Glowforge Premium subscription, and Magic Canvas is available on all models starting today.