Roasting on an AI Fire

In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, I thought I’d create an AI yule log for my screensaver.

I started by iterating my prompts on DALL-E to try and generate the classing image of a fireplace. I started by using the simplest prompt I could think of, “yule log,” to see what the model would automatically create. Turns out, my cake aversion got in the way of my prompting, as yule logs are a type of Swiss Roll.

After I started getting more detailed, “a close up photograph of a fireplace, focusing on the logs of the roaring fire. Festive, holiday, cozy” ended up reaping more of a fire hazard than a traditional yuletide decoration.

After iterating a few times, specifying the scene itself, how many logs on the fireplace, what kind of vibe it should have, DALL-E landed on this:

a close-up photograph of a fireplace, focusing on the 2 logs of the roaring fire. Festive, holiday, cozy.

After I got an image that really embodied my vision, I turned it over to RunwayML. When using RunwayML to prompt a video from an image, we still need to give it a description for how the animation should run. I find that simple directions work best here, especially since this model can be very picky and might require a lot of iterating to get the desired response. In the end, it worked really well with my first prompt, “A roaring fire.”

And there we have it: a festive yule log for my seasonal screensaver, good enough to watch while I unwind with a mug of hot cocoa. Happy Holidays!

– Annika McTamaney

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