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Tess is the First Image Generator to Pay Artists When it Generates in Their Style

Introducing Tess, a new AI image generator that pays artists and generates in a consistent visual style. Tess models are properly-licensed so that generations are commercial-safe.
Tess is the First Image Generator to Pay Artists When it Generates in Their Style
Image by Colorful Grays on Tess

Today Tess, the first and only AI image generator that pays artists when it’s used, launches out of beta. When customers pay to use Tess, artists earn half of the subscription revenue based on how often their model is used.

Tess was built in partnership with 15 artists, including accomplished artists like David O’Meara and Jose Elgueta, to displace lost income, expand their capacity, and reclaim ownership of generative AI. 

“I've always been passionate about staying at the forefront of technology…Tess seemed like the ideal way to integrate AI into my profession,” Kemal Sanli, an illustrator who has worked for clients like Google, Fast Company, Courier, and Adobe, said when asked why he joined Tess. "This integration not only simplifies my tasks and potentially increases my profits but also allows me more time for personal or niche projects without the usual industry constraints.”

Each Tess model in the marketplace is tuned with 10-20 works in a consistent style,  licensed from the owner through a transparent Contributor Agreement. Tess then splits subscription revenue 50/50 with participating artists based on the number of times customers generate using their model.

So far, Tess has paid out more than $15,500 to artists in royalties. 

A 2023 survey by The Verge showed that 70% of people believe that artists should be compensated when AI copies their work. Tess enables this, allowing customers to generate in a consistent visual style without fear of copyright infringement.

Tess is the first AI image generator that gives artists a choice on how they want to use Generative AI. Tess Contributors can set up a private model to explore the technology, or they can choose to list it in the public marketplace to earn royalties. Tess protects artists who choose not to work with Tess as it is not possible to generate in un-licensed styles. 

Tess is also the first AI image generator to offer attribution guidelines, giving artists credit and more visibility into how their work is shared on the internet. Artists can choose to give their Tess model a real name or a pseudonym. If a client discovers the artist through the Tess marketplace, they can contact them directly through the info on their artist profile. 

“Tess offers a great opportunity to utilize my work in ways I could not fathom and lets me participate in the AI conversation, not be left on the sidelines,” said Andrew McGuire, an artist and muralist who has trained a model called All of Us.

Tess’s founders, Julia Enthoven and Eric Lu, previously worked on Google Image Search and founded Kapwing, an online video editor they scaled from 0 to 30 Million users. Tess is a new product by Kapwing Inc.

“We’ve been in the business of supporting creatives for more than six years now,” said Julia Enthoven, the CEO of Tess and Kapwing, “Tess serves the same mission, allowing artists to reclaim their work from large AI companies who copy it without credit, revenue sharing, or permission.”

For creators, journalists, media entrepreneurs, and small business marketers, Tess includes embedded tools for editing images and generating prompt ideas from abstract ideas. The base subscription is $20/month. 

“We believe that Tess expands the illustration market, creating a new passive income stream for artists and enabling projects that could not have happened previously,” Enthoven said.

Thursday May 2 2024, 9am ET, San Francisco CA