Uncrops / AI-Expanded Images examples depicting two images of art widened by artificial intelligence.

Uncrops / AI-Expanded Images

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Updated Jun 02, 2023 at 03:03PM EDT by Zach.

Added Aug 26, 2022 at 09:48AM EDT by Philipp.

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Uncrop refers to a type of AI-generated image that expands the existing artwork, such as a painting or a cover art for an album or a video game, beyond the borders of its original depiction. Following the limited release of the DALL-E 2 AI system in April 2022, the trend of using it (as well as other artificial intelligence systems such as Midjourney) for "uncropping" artworks (like the Expanded Mona Lisa) gained virality online.


On April 6th, 2022, AI research and deployment company OpenAI[1] unveiled DALL-E 2, an AI model able to make realistic edits to existing images, create variations of images and generate completely new images from natural language prompts. On April 20th, Redditor[2] danielbln posted the earliest discovered viral artwork expanded with DALL-E 2, a so-called "uncrop" of Mona Lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci. The post gained over 410 upvotes in four months (shown below).


On June 1st, 2022, the artstyle.ai[3] blog, run by danielbln, posted a collection of "uncropped" movie posters, with the author also sharing it on Reddit[4] and Twitter[5] (examples shown below).


In the comments to the Reddit[6] post, danielbln shared the earliest found uncrops of album cover art, AI-expanded versions of Homogenic and Post by Björk (shown below, left and right). On the same day, Redditor DinosaurAlive reposted the images to the /r/bjork[7] subreddit, where they gained over 270 upvotes in three months.


On June 5th, the neural.love[8][9] blog posted a collection of uncropped versions of Mona Lisa and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer created with DALL-E 2 (examples shown below).

In the following months, more AI-expanded versions of album cover art were shared by users online, primarily on Reddit.

For example, on July 3rd, 2022, Redditor[10] Lukidjano shared an uncropped version of the cover art for Graduation by Kanye West, which gained over 1,400 upvotes in the /r/Kanye subreddit in two months (shown below, left). On August 7th, 2022, Instagram[11] user aiterestingaf shared a collection of previously posted album cover art uncrops, including uncrops of Flower Boy and Under Pressure, that gained over 2,400 likes in three weeks (shown below, center and right).


The collection received viral spread online as it was shared by users on Facebook,[12] Instagram and other websites, which prompted more uncrops of album covers created with DALLE-2 and Midjourney to be shared in the following weeks.

Photoshop Generative Fill and 2023 Resurgence

On May 23rd, 2023, Adobe added the AI image generator Firefly to its image-editing software Photoshop,[13] able to "fill in" an expanded canvas of images according to set parameters. On that day, Twitter[14] user @AiBreakfast posted a demonstration video for the feature. The post (shown below) received over 440 retweets and 2,500 likes in one week.

On May 26th, 2023, Twitter[15] user @heykody posted several uncrops of Mona Lisa, Starry Night and other famous paintings created with the Generative Fill tool. The first post in the thread, an AI-expanded version of Mona Lisa, gained over 1,600 retweets and 7,300 likes in one week (shown below, left).


In late May 2023, users started humorously photoshopping album covers in a way to parody the AI-generated uncrops as a reaction to the trend. For example, on May 30th, 2023, Twitter[16] user @StolenDans posted a parody uncrop of Nirvana's Nevermind that gained over 3,200 retweets and 33,400 likes in two days (shown below, left). On May 31st, music producer Cyranek tweeted[17] a parody uncrop of Weezer's Blue Album that received over 4,400 retweets and 53,200 likes in one day (shown below, right).


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Top Comments

Jokes Joestar 👌ꙮ
Jokes Joestar 👌ꙮ

in reply to sofacady

Call me when these suckers start creating art with meaning beyond the prompts fed to them, because right now they're just miniature mechanical Azathoths gibbering blindly in whatever direction we point them for our artistic amusement.
Or when they start getting into physical sculpture, for that matter.


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