BUFFALO, N.Y. — You might have heard a lot lately about artificial intelligence — or AI — with programs becoming more popular that can help you write anything from emails to essays and create brilliant works of art with computers doing much of the work. 

One local artist and author is using the technology, but believes the human touch is still key to making it go.  

"It’s different to see and I think people can truly appreciate that," said Micah Weber.

Weber recently published his first book. It’s for kids and parents and is filled with pictures of friendly, furry yarn animals.

"And I go, 'why don’t we have a deer wearing a scarf for whatever reason?' You can be completely random. Nothing is going to stop you," said Weber.

He created it with the help of his 9-year-old daughter.

"When I saw my daughter’s eye light up just when I was making the images —  if she’s going to like it, other kids are going to like it," said Weber.

While he had an assist from his daughter, Weber made use of AI to create the pictures.

"Anything is possible," Weber said. "There’s no limits. The only limit is your imagination and creativity."

A creative artist by nature, Weber first started dabbling with AI programs about nine months ago. For the basic concept, he types in words to describe the image he wants to see — some are simple, others more technical — then AI goes to work, spitting out something he can work with.

"So I’ll take that image, put it into Photoshop and that’s when more of the magic happens where I’m reshaping things, adding text or letters," said Weber.

He manipulates the piece created by AI to his own standards. But by no means is it a perfect process every time.

"And it might make something completely not what you want whatsoever," Weber said. "So you do it again and then you kind of learn how to tweak the words properly, and the more you use it the better you get at it."

While almost anyone can get online and research how to use AI, Weber’s background as a photographer for the past 20 years allows him to see it through a different lens.

"[I] kind of just transferred those skills, so to speak, to AI and say 'okay, how do I want this to look? How do I want this to be shaped, how do I want the lighting?'" said Weber.

He knows some people worry AI could take their jobs away in the future.

But for Weber, rather than AI doing all the work, it’s just a powerful tool, an extension of his skills and vision.

"I kind of adapted, pivoted my whole creative process," Weber said. "I’ll never give up photographer because that’s my passion, but kind of embracing it and using it to my advantage, so a lot of the stuff I do with AI would not be possible if I didn’t have that photography history."

Micah Weber’s book “Yarn Animals: Scarf Portraits” is currently available on Amazon. He plans to create more published works using his own creative skills to harness the technology of AI.