AI Image Pioneer Behind Infamous ‘Loab’ Character Quits Industry

The Loab character that Steph Maj Swanson created using an AI image generator.

A pioneering AI image creator has given an interview where she calls the technology “very frustrating and very limiting.”

Steph Maj Swanson, known as Supercomposite, was an early adopter of AI image generators and went viral in 2022 after a terrifying figure kept appearing in her AI images — a demon character called Loab.

But after early success on the medium — which has seen American-born Swanson invited to give speeches and write about her work — the Sweden-based creator has seemingly turned on the technology and has decided to stop working with it.

“It creates this dopamine path in your brain. It’s very addictive to keep pushing that button and getting these results,” she tells AFP.

Swanson says she is “burned out” by AI art and is giving it up to write a screenplay instead.

What is Loab?

Swanson says she created the viral Loab character after typing negative prompts for Marlon Brando. Negatively weighted prompts are when you tell an AI to make an image look as different from the text prompt as possible.

“With these [negative weights], instead of creating an image of the text prompt, the AI tries to make the image look as different from the prompt as possible,” Swanson wrote on Twitter in 2022.

Loab as Avatar
Loab as Avatar

Swanson says that after experimenting with the prompts she received an image of “this really sad, haunting-looking woman with long hair and red cheeks.” The word “Loab” appeared in one of the images which is where the AI nightmare derives its name.

Swanson claims that Loab would disappear and reappear after vanishing for a few generations of the lineage. “That was the spookiest,” she adds.

Reasonable Doubt

According to Tech Xplore, Swanson says her life changed after the Loab series became famous on Twitter, now known as X.

“It became viral, my life changed,” she says. Adding that she became “obsessed” with Loab.

However, Swanson never revealed which AI image generator she was using for Loab, stating that didn’t want to be accused of marketing a specific app and “shifting the focus away from art and onto the makers of the model.”

Experts say that it is impossible to know how or why AI image generators interpret abstract requests, but Swanson has faced accusations that she engineered Loab herself. She addressed the claims, saying she takes them as a compliment, “It meant people were interacting with it.”