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Fun With Repainting! Learn to get the exact details you're after.


This is a practical example of the repainting method I "created", as laid out in this post. (I dunno if I actually created it or not but no one taught me to do it, so technically...?)

I asked the AI for an ancient Egyptian queen, but here was the tricky thing: This was inspired by a Humankind run I'm doing right now. In this Egypt, there's no access to a rich node of gold. Instead there's ebony, that's our big luxury material. So I asked the AI to give me an Egyptian queen wearing ebony jewelry with ebony inlay in the palace stonework and some pottery (this wasn't the exact prompt obviously).

Here's the original output. Not bad. I don't hate what it did at the bottom there, although it's slightly modern for my taste. Also none of this is really ebony, it looks more like walnut wood to me. Also, as I anticipated, the AI has no idea what to do with "ebony jewelry".

No matter. Repainting to the rescue! I started by going over the stuff I wanted to be ebony with a black brush and set the layer to Color (as in, that's the layer's mode; it'll apply the color of the layer to what's underneath, which in this case is black).

Let's fix those atrocious fingers while we're at it too. A simple flat color for the fingers and one for the nails, on a new layer, will do. The face also needs fixing, but we'll do that after the major work is done.

So the blackening works great for the background elements, but the jewlery just turned silver. Copy the layer, set the upper layer to Multiply. This will darken it enough that it should look roughly like polished black wood.

Lovely start.

Now about that wood at the top of the palace... Not what I wanted. I was picturing something very specific, so I went over it with a flat brush in two shades, to distinguish wall from ceiling, color picked from the surrounding stone. I then started drawing out what I was picturing: Vertical slabs of ebony inlaid into the pillars. Also added a darker black edge to them so make them look like they're, you know, in the stone.

Now we're getting somewhere! But this could be better. How to improve it...?

Well, our capital is by the sea, so I thought seashells and/or seaglass could be a nice way to decorate a queen's attire in the absence of gemstones and gold. I took a fine brush and drew some in.

Finally, and I don't have this layer saved because I had to take it to another program to do this... I took a hieroglyphic font I found on Dafont and wrote vertically down the strips of inlay in dark black, letting the AI know I wanted carvings in there.

Now it's time to inpaint! I put this in and processed it with the same prompt three ways: at 0.1, 0.2 and 0.4 denoise. Doing it this way gives me a lot variety in terms of how much it deviates from the original image, which I can mix and match by layering the three outputs on top of eachother and going over each with a soft eraser as necessary.

Here's the result!

The 0.4 version gave me these beautiful gold-edged armlets and I knew I wanted to keep those for sure. I also liked that it made the base of the wall more era-appropriate, and it even did what I was picturing in my head after the rough pass: It turned the outcropped parts into pottery!

There's just one little issue: My people don't have ready access to gold! I decided pewter - which is a shiny but less rare metal, and one the game doesn't turn into a luxury resource - would be a nice alternative, so I put it back through with a heavy weight on (pewter jewelry:1.3) and erased all but the metal bits after I brought it over.

Finally, I cropped out the head, did a 4x enlarge, and repainted it separately at 0.2 denoise - the good old manual upscale fix. I then sized it down to 25% after pasting it into my image editor, lined it up, erased the edges with a soft eraser...

And we have our finished product! It's just that easy. (Slightly tedious, perhaps. But easy!)

Here's an extra example of what it can do, following the same queen after she became queen of the Mauryans (who, due to the nature of the game, evolved out of the Egyptians).