AI is one of the hottest topics in the world right now. Early discussions focused on how AI was going to replace human artists and writers, but more and more creatives are beginning to ask how they can work with AI. Once we see AI as a tool to supplement human creativity rather than a replacement for it, a world of exciting possibilities opens up. This is exactly what Smitesh Mistry explores in his Skillshare course “Make AI Work for You: Break Creative Block.” Let’s have a look to see what this course has to offer.
Table of Contents
Who is Smitesh Mistry?
Smitesh Mistry is an illustrator, photographer, and videographer based in London. His unique style and educational content have earned him over 90k followers on Instagram. Smitesh is an experienced Skillshare tutor and has produced several other courses, including ‘Illustration for Beginners,’ ‘Graphic Design for Beginners,’ and ‘Drawing for Beginners.’
Unlike those courses, “Make AI Work for You” is a Skillshare Original course – meaning it has had Skillshare’s direct support and involvement to produce it, and you won’t find it on any other course platform.
What is covered in the course?
Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect from each of the lessons.
- Introduction: Smitesh shares his experiences with creative block and provides a broad overview of what the course will cover.
- Why AI? Learn about ChatGPT and Adobe Firefly. Begin to understand how they can help you to overcome creative block.
- Brainstorming Prompts: ChatGPT can only give useful output if you ask it the right questions. Discover how to write prompts that make the most of ChatGPT’s abilities.
- Using ChatGPT: Learn how to use ChatGPT to generate ideas. Develop the ability to isolate and build upon the ideas that resonate with you.
- Starting Your Sketch: Discover how to begin sketching out your ideas using pen and paper or your favorite illustration software.
- Getting Inspiration with Adobe Firefly: Explore how Adobe Firefly’s image generator can help you turn ideas into works of art. Create a base sketch that you can build upon later.
- Refining Your Sketch: Develop your base sketch and begin to impart it with your unique style. Add color and depth to your design.
- Finding Your Flow: Get into a state of creative flow and level up your design with new and exciting ideas.
- Finishing Your Illustration: Add finishing touches to an illustration, such as shading, texture, and fine details.
- Final Thoughts: In this conclusion to the course, Smitesh offers a brief summary of what you have learned so far and calls on you to share what you’ve created using the lessons you’ve learned.
Who is this course’s target audience?
Broadly speaking, this course is aimed at creatives looking for ways to overcome creative block. Smitesh says that “the concepts we’re going to learn in this class will be fairly transferable, as the way that we prompt the AI engines can be tailored depending on which industry you are in.”
As I noted above, the first four courses explain the utility of AI in the creative process and how to use ChatGPT to assist with brainstorming. These lessons would be useful to anybody working in a creative field. The next four lessons follow Smitesh as he uses Adobe Firefly (an illustration software) to develop his idea for an illustration and execute it. These lessons are most relevant to those working in illustration or a similar field. If you work in a different field, you might still benefit from these lessons, but you will need to think for yourself about how to apply the advice to your situation.
Overall, this course would be most useful to illustrators, followed by creatives working in other visual arts, and finally, creatives working in non-visual mediums, such as writers and musicians.
What I liked about the course
1. Examples make the lessons clear
Nothing is explained without an accompanying demonstration. Because Smitesh teaches by example, everything is easy to understand.
2. The course is well-edited
If you are watching something and you notice the editing, chances are it’s bad. You won’t notice the editing while watching this course. You will just have a fluid, engaging experience. There are moments when we need to see an illustration performed or a close-up of a screen. These situations are handled smoothly, and we can see everything we need to see clearly. Even shots of Smitesh sitting at his desk explaining things are kept stimulating with the right amount of camera cuts.
3. Introduces and explains Adobe Firefly
Adobe Firefly is a very useful software that many viewers will not be aware of. Smitesh introduces the software, explains some of its uses, and demonstrates what it is capable of.
4. Makes AI less intimidating
Smitesh leads by example against AI fearmongering. The entire course is a case study of working with AI rather than seeing it as competition.
He also makes the use of AI unintimidating for those who aren’t familiar with it. Some people aren’t sure how to interact with ChatGPT, but Smitesh breaks right through that. “It can feel a bit odd talking to a computer. But I just imagine I’m talking to another human, trying to brainstorm with them or ask them questions”.
What I didn’t like about the course
1. The teacher could have been more engaging
This is a minor criticism, as Smitesh does come across as professional and upbeat. However, if you are not already interested in the topic, Smitesh lacks the infectious passion that would spark that interest. Sometimes, you get the feeling that he is reading from a cue card as he speaks. As an artist, Smitesh probably has a unique personality, but it doesn’t really come across on-screen.
2. The course is not ideal for those who don’t work in the visual arts
As stated above, the second half of this course is very focused on illustration. It follows Smitesh’s step-by-step process as he executes a digital art piece with the support of Adobe Firefly.
Despite promising that the advice in these lessons can be applied to other creative fields, Smitesh doesn’t offer any specific advice on how to do this. The course is brief, at 44 minutes total, so he could have added this without adding too much length.
I suspect this is Smitesh not wanting to speak outside of his field of expertise, which is understandable. However, it could make for a frustrating experience if you invest in this course only to realize that around half of the lessons are tailored for a different audience.
How much does the course cost?
Courses on Skillshare can not be bought individually – they can only be accessed by signing up for a Skillshare membership. The good news? Skillshare offers e-student.org learners a full month free trial if you use our link (if not using our link, there is normally only a 7-day free trial). As virtually all Skillshare courses will take you less than a month to complete, you can in effect take this or any other Skillshare course for free – or any number of courses that you can finish in a month.
Once your free trial is over, the cost of Skillshare is $165 per year, which averages out to $13.75 per month. This gives you full access to all 34,000+ Skillshare courses. But if you're not happy to continue, you can easily cancel any time before your free trial ends – just go to your payment settings in your account.
If you have no need for a free trial, you can instead get %30 discount on your first year by using this special link instead. With this link, your first year will be just $115.50, averaging out to $9.63 per month. Note that this offer is only valid for new accounts, so it can't be combined with the 30-day free trial.
Black Friday/Cyber Monday offer 2023: Note that Skillshare is running an even better offer for the holidays, with a 50% discount on your membership (expires 30 November 2023).
Conclusion – Is the course worth it?
The course made me see AI in a new light. I had seen AI produce amazing things, but only by churning out content that users requested. Smitesh suggests a more collaborative approach. His back-and-forth with the AI leaves him looking like a jockey. Smitesh harnesses the brute computing power of AI but guides it with human intuition. What’s more, he teaches you how to do it too.
The tutor could have been more engaging, but the course is brief and snappily edited, so getting through it will not feel like a chore. Overall, this is a worthwhile course for anyone in a creative field who is still not sure what AI can do for them.