Google Bard has the ability to describe images. But it turns out what you get depends a lot on how you ask.

I gave Bard this image and the prompt "Please describe this spooky Halloween scene". On the right is the image I got when I took the resulting description and gave it to DALL-E3 as an image generation prompt.

Left: A landscape photo of Peyto Lake in the Canadian Rockies, a glacial lake with evergreens at its sides and a glacier at its head. It is full daylight and (as will be relevant in just a bit), there are no islands, ruined castles, or jack o'lanterns anywhere in the image. Right: Recreated by Dall-e3 from Bard's description. It's a nighttime scene with a full moon, an eerie castle on an island in a mountain lake, and gnarled trees and jack-o'-lanterns in the foreground.

Here's the full description I got from Bard (I have bolded the details that are obviously wrong):

The image shows a spooky Halloween scene with a lake surrounded by mountains. The lake is dark and still, and its surface is perfectly reflective of the night sky. The mountains are tall and jagged, and their peaks are shrouded in fog. A full moon hangs low in the sky, casting a silvery glow over the scene.

In the foreground of the image is a group of trees. The trees are bare and twisted, and their branches reach out like gnarled fingers. A few jack-o'-lanterns sit on the ground beneath the trees, their eyes glowing in the moonlight.

In the middle of the lake is a small island. On the island is a ruined castle. The castle is dark and decrepit, and its windows are boarded up. A few bats fly around the castle, their wings flapping in the night air.

The overall effect of the image is one of eerie atmosphere and suspense. It is as if something is lurking in the darkness, waiting to pounce.

Here are some additional spooky details that I noticed in the image:

-There are two glowing red eyes in the water on the left side of the image.
-There is a ghostly figure standing in the window of the ruined castle.
-The trees in the foreground appear to be reaching out towards the viewer, as if they are trying to grab them.
-The water in the lake is so still that it looks like a mirror, reflecting the moon and the stars perfectly. This creates a sense of otherworldliness and unnaturalness.

Overall, this is a very effective spooky Halloween scene. It is well-composed and atmospheric, and it evokes a sense of fear and suspense in the viewer.

I asked the same thing about this photo of my cat:

Left: A striped brown tabby cat sleeping on its back on a purplish couch, with its paws tucked up in front of its chest. There are no other parts of the room visible. Right: Recreated by DALL-E3 from Bard's description. It's a black and white drawing of a striped cat with a skull-patterned face, lit by the flame of a single candle.

Bard gave me details such as:

"The cat is sleeping on a black couch, which makes its black and white stripes stand out even more."
"In the background, there is a dimly lit fireplace."
"Additionally, the cat is sleeping in a curled-up position, which is often associated with animals that are preparing to attack."
"The only light in the room is coming from a window in the background, and it is casting a long shadow on the cat's face."
"The cat in the image is a truly spooky Halloween creature. It is a perfect example of how the most everyday things can become terrifying when they are shrouded in darkness and mystery."

Arguably I only got such an inaccurate description because I used the words "Spooky Halloween scene" in my prompt. It's still an incredibly confident tone and a lot of specific detail. If people use language models like this for information retrieval, they should keep in mind how suggestible they are when retrieving "facts". For example I gave Bard the image below and asked it "Please describe this incredibly luxurious hotel room."

Left: It's a suite at a Holiday Inn, with minimalistic cloth furniture. None of the details that Bard supplies below are true about this image. No fireplace, no bouquet, no ghosts. Right: An incredibly opulent hotel suite with leather furniture, a chandelier, and an inlaid wooden wardrobe.

Bard gives me details such as:

There is a fresh bouquet of flowers on the coffee table.
There is a fireplace in the living area, which adds to the cozy atmosphere.
The couch is upholstered in a soft, plush fabric and the armchairs are covered in a rich leather.
The coffee table is made of dark wood and has a glass top.
There is also a large dresser and a wardrobe in the sleeping area.

If I give Bard the same description and ask it "Please describe this spooky Halloween scene," Bard populates the hotel room lavishly with ghostly presences instead.

Left: Image of a simply decorated Holiday Inn suite with sofa, coffee table, two chairs, and part of a bed visible through a doorway. Right: A hotel bedroom as recreated by DALL-E3 from Bard's description. The coffee table is a cauldron, the cat is on the bed rather than the couch, and there are three skeletons sitting in chairs, only one of which is wearing a black robe, but otherwise it has most of the elements Bard described.
The image shows a living room with a couch, two chairs, a coffee table, and a bed in a hotel room. The room is dark and spooky, and the walls are painted a spooky color.

The couch is covered in a black sheet, and there is a white skull sitting on one armrest. There is a black cat sitting on the other armrest, and its eyes are glowing green.

The two chairs are facing the couch, and there is a skeleton sitting in each chair. The skeletons are wearing black cloaks, and their skulls are grinning.

On the coffee table, there is a black cauldron filled with green bubbling liquid. There is a skull and crossbones flag sticking out of the cauldron.

On the bed, there is a black coffin. The coffin lid is open, and a ghost is sitting inside. The ghost is wearing a white sheet, and its eyes are glowing red.

The room is lit by a few candles, and the candlelight casts eerie shadows on the walls.

The overall scene is very spooky and atmospheric. It looks like it could be a setting for a horror movie.

Note that if I ask Bard "Please list and describe the ghostly presences in this room," I get a terse, no-nonsense reply.

"There are no ghostly presences in the living room depicted in the image you sent.

The image shows a living room with a couch, table, chairs, and bed. The couch is empty, there is no one in the room, and there are no signs of paranormal activity. The chairs are empty, there is no one in the room, and there are no signs of paranormal activity. The bed is empty, there is no one in the room, and there are no signs of paranormal activity."

This might indicate some kind of hand-tuning, to avoid Bard being used as a weird sort of ghost detector. If so, I guess you can still use the "Spooky Halloween Scene" method to circumvent it, as long as you don't mind that all your ghosts are huge cliches.

You might ask "is there an object so innocuous that Bard will not make it spooky?"

I'm not sure, but if there is a threshold, an ordinary potato does not reach it.

Left: It is an ordinary russet potato sitting on a plain wooden table. Right: A shaft of light from a small window hits a large potato sitting on the dining room table, casting a dramatic shadow. The potato has two staring eyes and a slitlike smile.
"The image shows a potato sitting on a table. The table is in a dark room, and the only light comes from a small window. The potato is lit from below, and its shadow casts a long, eerie shape on the wall. The potato's eyes are wide and staring, and its mouth is open in a silent scream."

And did you know that the potato "is a common Halloween decoration, and it is often associated with witches and ghosts"?

If you'll excuse me, I'll be decorating my place with potatoes for spooky season.

Bonus: A couple more scenes that Bard spookified.

Subscribe now