This free app stops AI stealing your art style

Digital designer using tablet to draw artwork
(Image credit: Unsplash / Kelly Sikkema)

Researchers have created a free tool that they claim can help stop text-to-image AI tools copying an artist’s style.

Known as Glaze, the University of Chicago research project lets artists add a cloak layer to their work, making it more difficult for AI art generators to rip off the works of artists.

Glaze - which is still in beta - applies so-called ‘style cloaks’ to artwork before it’s shared online. “These cloaks apply barely perceptible perturbations to images, and when used as training data, mislead generative models that try to mimic a specific artist,” according to the developers

And you thought AI was smart 

Signalling a radical disruption to the way we create and consume artwork, AI art generators let users input text prompts to generate unique (and often bizarre) masterpieces. They offer a more efficient way for creators and businesses to build out content. 

But the controversial technology has been hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late - whether it’s Adobe using art to train its Sensei tool or artists and photography sites pursuing the platforms through the courts

It’s an issue apps like Glaze may be able to address. Because, despite the fanfare surrounding its emergence, text-to-image generative AI isn’t quite as smart as users may think - yet. 

On its official website, the team notes that “the Achilles' heel for AI models has been a phenomenon called adversarial examples - small tweaks in inputs that can produce massive differences in how AI models classify the input.”

Using Glaze to add a cloaking layer to the content alters how these models interpret particular artwork. It effectively protects an artist’s style - even if they’ve already shared many of their works online and seen it used to train AI in the past. 

The researchers explained that since AI models continually refine and take on new training data, “the more cloaked images you post online, the more your style will shift in the AI model's feature space, shifting closer to the target style (e.g., van Gogh's style). At some point, when the shift is significant enough, the AI model will start to generate images in van Gogh's style when being asked for your style.” 

While the emphasis now is on sole artists, expect to see the likes of Disney to deploy tools like Glaze in the future to protect their art and prevent copyright infringement.

Artists can download Glaze free for non-commercial use by clicking here

Steve Clark
B2B Editor - Creative & Hardware

Steve is TechRadar Pro’s B2B Editor for Creative & Hardware. He explores the apps and devices for individuals and organizations that thrive on design and innovation. A former journalist at Web User magazine, he's covered software and hardware news, reviews, features, and guides. He's previously worked on content for Microsoft, Sony, and countless SaaS & product design firms. Once upon a time, he wrote commercials and movie trailers. Relentless champion of the Oxford comma.