I Have No Mana And I Must Tap

A banned game teenagers secretly play in Hogwarts.

StyleGAN neural network portraits cross trained on Magic the Gathering cards. This was so much cooler and more haunting than I imagined.

Just a quick post for now, as my original tweet was more popular than I expected and not everyone likes scrolling through tweet threads.

As the StyleGAN training continues their human souls are buried further and further into these diabolical cards. Faces barely recognizable, reduced to nothing but a set of anguished eyes, you can hear the screams over the whir of your computer fan, if you listen carefully…

I was asked on twitter why the later images — after more training — are worse on the art, but better at the text box.

It’s because I started with a model that knows how to draw human portraits, so the more training on Magic cards it gets, the less human-like the portraits become. Here’s a bunch of the of the same portrait in sequence. You can barely make out face-like features in the final one.


Update 1:

I tried to train StyleGAN from scratch to make entire magic cards. I failed but it was still pretty interesting: https://twitter.com/jonathanfly/status/1124918657220534272

Update 2:

Turning people in to maps: https://twitter.com/jonathanfly/status/1124027664078180352

Other Notes:

You might have noticed the text looks kind of backward, and MTG players probably noticed the MTG symbols are (sometimes) on the wrong side of the card. This is because of a feature in StyleGAN that is on by default that mirrors the images in training. It’s helpful for human faces and other generally symmetric things. @gwern let me know what was going on, and I fixed it for some of later cards I generated.

Although I absolutely love how evocative and arcane the reversed text is — it feels totally appropriate — but since it also put the mana symbols on the wrong side of the card so it had to go!

Gwern’s tutorial is amazing for getting up and running with StyleGAN. He wrote up how he created www.thiswaifudoesnotexist.net with enough detail in every step that even amateurs like me can play with this stuff. @roadrunner01 also maintains a lots of examples and Colab notebooks that are helpful showing how to work with various networks and especially how to do it in the cloud — although I did end up running this particular project on my personal desktop with a Geforce 1080Ti.

I couldn’t resist one more crossover. Gwern puts his anime model up for download and uh… I am so, so sorry for doing this to your lovely anime faces Gwern…

Thanks @spenceregart and @TheRandomOne for the title of this post.

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