The DDG gods keep dreaming, but they really need to wake up! There's a playground down the street that poses a real and serious threat to Deep Dreams, or at least to the 'life as we know it' there.
I think it's safe to say that I'm a serious fan of the Deep Dream Generator...
I've been using the Text 2 Dream tool there for a year now, and before that I spent several months using the Deep Style option. I even made several images when there was only the Deep Dream option, though I never got addicted to it like I did with the other two options.
If you've read through my "X" Files, you know I like to sing praise to Deep Dreams. It's where I create. It's where my fellow A.I. artist friends create. It's my personal A.I. community, which I am proud to be a part of.
But DDG has its issues too, and today's blog post will discuss a few of them. There's a few things I dislike, and a few others that downright piss me off about the place! And if a big fan of the site like me is feeling this way, I think it's fair to say that there's some serious problems brewing at DDG.
It seems like there's a new A.I. website, (or app), popping up every week now. The A.I. art market is becoming saturated. If Deep Dreams wants to remain one of the big players in this market, I think it's time they address some of their issues.
Here's a few that I thought of today...
IT'S A PAIN IN THE ASS FOR NEWBIES
Newbies should be welcomed with open arms, but instead, DDG puts restrictions on them. They have to jump through the Newbie, Member, and Dreamer hoops before they can become 'Deep Dreamers', like the regulars are.
This may have served its purposes in the past, but has now become obsolete, especially when one compares how other A.I. sites are operating with free images galore, even for first timers.
The fiX: Give newbies a reason to stick around! Give them full access from the get-go, or seriously speed up the process so they have more Energy Points to play with sooner.
IT'S TOO EXPENSIVE
The Energy Points regenerate too slowly. Obviously this is done on purpose to encourage artists to purchase a plan, but the plans are too pricey for what you get in return these days.
You still burn through all your energy points and then have to wait again for them to regenerate. This used to make sense, but now there are sites that let you make HUNDREDS of images daily, TOTALLY FREE OF CHARGE!
If Deep Dreams wants to keep attracting newbies that will stay, and keep us 'oldies' there as well, they should seriously take a look at their pricing system. When folks run out of points but want to keep creating, they are sure to go looking elsewhere to 'feed their need', and this results in folks leaving DDG permanently.
The fiX: Yep, you guessed it! We need faster regenerating Energy Points, and if we do decide to support the site financially with a plan, we should get something far less restrictive and more rewarding in return.
IT'S FALLING BEHIND
Why-oh-why are we still dealing with hands that look like some sort of deformed cauliflower? Why do we still get eXtra lips, or teeth that only a dentist could love? Why are we still getting lifeless eyes that don't even match?! Why are we getting signatures and watermarks still, especially when we specifically ask NOT to have them?!
Other A.I. models seem to have overcome these issues, yet DDG's just keeps pumping them out as if it's the norm and nothing can be done about it.
And how come if I go to a different A.I. website, I can choose from a plethora of 'styles', and I can edit my work right there on the site? I can also have several images generated from my prompt with only one click, and can then chose the one I like to keep working on. I can even upload 2 of my images and pick and choose what I like from both of them to make a new image made from those things I chose. I can also add my signature to my work without all the eXpensive processes I have to go through at Deep Dreams to do it.
The fiX: Time for some BIG updates, DDG! The competition is proceeding in leaps and bounds, while you bore us with your outdated software! Give us what we want. (We want more OPTIONS, and better rendered artwork!)
AN UNFAIR RANKING SYSTEM
This is something that really turns some people off, and especially newbies to the site. If you don't have a well established foot-hold at DDG, or heaven forbid, are a newcomer there, don't eXpect your artwork to top the charts, even if it happens to be eXceptional and out of the ordinary!
Instead you'll see the same people in the same spots, day after day, over & over & over again. Frankly it does get monotonous after a while. I would even bet that the regular chart toppers would agree with me on this, but of course only when they aren't topping the charts themselves at the time.
Yes, this also served its purpose in the past, and got people addicted to not only making great worX of art, but also in trying to figure out the like-algorithm. They'd spend a ton of time on the site trying to get their work to trend to the top, and keep coming back to check on their artwork. This added tons of hits to the site, which in turn helped the site rank higher in search engines, like Google.
But DDG gets a ton of traffic these days anyway, and people come back to check out the site and how their work is doing regardless of the current chart ranking system.
I think this outdated ranking algorithm has served its purpose at Deep Dreams, and it's long overdue for a total overhaul.
Shouldn't a site that is about ART actually rank its pictures based on the ARTWORK itself?
The latest update to the algorithm just blows, if I do say so myself. DDG has moved in the totally wrong direction with it. Instead of moving more closely towards the art aspect of the site, DDG has doubled down on the popularity aspect, even rewarding artworks that have more 'TRY IT' clicks.
In my opinion, this is just WRONG. Deep Dreams needs to devise a fair system of ranking artwork on the artwork alone. The current system turns off pretty much everyone, eXcept the current top ranking people.
Artwork should be rewarded for what it is: ARTwork! There shouldn't be any favoritism alotted for the artist who created it, nor for how many times someone clicked on a TRY IT button. People should see the art and then react to it for what it is. Newbies and oldies should have equal opportunities to 'trend', regardless of their popularity.
The fiX: Well, to hell if I know! The popularity algorithm has pretty much been the same since I started using DDG, and it's so ingrained into the site that I really don't how how it should be fiXed, or could be so that it doesn't upset the regular chart toppers.
Maybe a partial fiX would be to display ALL artwork in the same way, regardless of how it was created, (TeXt 2 Dream, Deep Style, Deep Dream). If you're going to have 3 very different options of creating, but only one ranking system, at least display them all in the same manner.
Perhaps try displaying all the artwork on the main site gallery pages without the artist names attached to them, (unless they're clicked on), or remove the ability of an artist to see who clicked on their like button. Either of these options would encourage people to like the artwork for what it is instead of liking it for who created it.
Let the artwork be judged for the image instead of by who made it, or how they made it, and silliest of all, how many people clicked its TRY IT button!
SOME OTHER QUICK THOUGHTS
Give the website some ambience and remove that horrid light grey background colour that is seen on the PC version! Replace it with a much darker hue, like on the mobile version. Artwork looks better and 'pops' when it's against dark shades.
Give artists a choice of whether or not they want to share their prompts publicly, and don't penalize their artwork if they choose not to. The Insiration Points will keep most artists sharing, and you could keep the ones that don't want to share happy as well.
Keep a close eye on what the competition is offering, and impliment their popular features at DDG. Make Deep Dreams the 'go to' A.I. website, instead of a place to get started and then move on from.
THE NIGHTMARE DOWN THE STREET
Believe it or not, the reason I wrote this blog post wasn't specifically to be critical of DDG. It was more along the lines of hoping maybe one of the DDG gods might read it and get their butts in gear!
For the past few weeks now, I have found myself eXploring other A.I. websites, and have been astonished of what I've been finding at these sites.
This got me to start wondering why I, a huge fan of DDG, found the need to start eXploring these other sites? And if I, a huge fan of DDG, am eXploring other options, you can bet on the fact that many, many others are as well. And the noticeable declining numbers of users at Deep Dreams would suggest that many of those people just aren't coming back.
The main reason I started looking elsewhere was because DDG managed to totally piss me off! It's the new ranking system that rewards artwork for the Inspiration Points it receives that's done this.
My artwork is published using the Deep Style method. The reason for this is because I want to add my watermark in an attempt to avoid art theft. This means my work isn't displyed in the same manner Text 2 Dream images are, so it is automatically penalized from the get go.
Add to that, this doesn't display my prompt either, so my worX get majorly penalized for that no-no! They simply can't compete with the work that does show their prompts.
For instance, and this happens with every single one of my pieces that I publish now: they may have 120 likes where they should be trending on the front page with other images with similar likes, but instead, they are now being pushed back to page 2 or 3 with images that only have around 60 likes! They don't get displayed correctly from the likes that they have earned, simply because I am using Deep Style and not getting any Inspiration Points.
I know this shouldn't matter, it should be about the artwork, and apparently it IS, as I haven't stopped publishing this way even though I am heavily penalized for it. But on a website that is so heavily dependant on the like algorithm, it is FRUSTRATING for me, to say the least!
It's pissed me off so much, in fact, that I have cancelled my monthly financial contributions to the site. How stupid would I be to keep sending my money to a site that automatically penalizes me and my artwork, just for using one of THEIR AVAILABLE OPTIONS to display my picture?! I mean think about it, it's just RIDICULOUS!
Add to that that there are A.I. sites that are just a click away that offer better images, cheaper prices, way more options, ways to protect your artwork and prompts, and probably much fairer ranking systems, and you can see why DDG is falling behind and losing users.
My hopes are, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, that DDG will SOON be a site where I can just create and be happy again, without regrets and getting ticked off about something.
One that doesn't give me a reason to go shopping around elsewhere anymore, and one that gives me a reason to want to financially support it once again, getting benefits that are worth it.
Come on DDG, you're better than this! Give us what we want, and treat us ALL FAIRLY while doing so. Maybe it will hurt to begin with, but in the long run it'll be well worth your efforts!
Just my two bits worth,
October 11th, 2023