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Face matching is surprisingly inconsistent, and there are a few different techniques that can be used. When I created my music promotion poses, I had to use some special techniques to get the graphics to work.
How we use Midjourney, InsightFace, and Adobe Generative Fill to create this look
In my recent article about using AI to create an album, I glossed over the techniques I used, giving a thousand-foot view of what they were. But in this article, I'm going to dive in and show you how to make it all happen, step by step.
Also, for this article, I'm going to assume you've signed up for and set up your Midjourney account. If you're not sure how to do that, this article by ZDNET's Lance Whitney will walk you through the steps:
First, I'll show you what I did to create my images, and then I'll show you some additional techniques.
Step one: Use a starter image
This technique uses an existing photograph as part of the image prompt, which gives Midjourney some guidance on what to create. Since I wanted my main album promotion images to look like me, I gave Midjourney a starter image.
To do this, double click on the plus icon at the bottom of the Discord screen (remember, Midjourney runs in Discord), choose your image, and then hit return.
Once it's been brought into Midjourney, right click on the image and select Copy Link:
This link is what you'll use in preparing your prompt. Next, give Midjourney the /IMAGINE prompt, followed by the URL, and then your spec. This screenshot of the set of four generated images shows what it looked like after I entered the full prompt. The top left picture is the image I wound up using for my profile.
Please note that this set of images was most definitely not my first "roll" on Midjourney. Expect to do five, 10, even 20 different tries before you get something you like.
That said, you can see how the generated version (especially the one on the upper left) looks reasonably close to what I look like. More interestingly, the leather jacket in the image looks weirdly like the one I've been wearing for the past decade or so. How does it know?
Just for completionist's sake, here's what might have been generated without using the uploaded image as guidance.
They're all fine-looking gentlemen, but they look nothing like me.
You can use the starter-image trick for anything you want. Here's what Midjourney thinks my little Yorkie Poo pup Pixel might have looked like as a Scottish warrior prince:
Step two: Get a seed ID
Each quad of images generated by Midjourney has its own ID, called a seed. If you want to create future images that are similar to an existing Midjourney image, you can try referencing the seed ID. It doesn't always work, but it's worth a try.
To get a seed ID, click the half-moon-plus icon (1) at the upper right of the image where you want to get the seed. Then, in the search box, type in :envelope: (2). Then click on the envelope (3).
While the image on the lower left was absolutely terrible, the one on the right wasn't bad. Strictly speaking, it didn't look entirely like me. But it did capture the same thematic style as the original profile image, it was close enough, and the car looked good.
But this was not my face and most definitely not my hair:
Step four: Swap faces
To get the faces right, I used a tool called InsightFace, which also runs in Discord. Getting InsightFace set up is its own project, and rather than taking you down that rabbit hole here, I'll point you to the tutorial I used to get started.
This video is from PIXimperfect. I really like this channel because the presenter showcases some excellent image tutorials, particular on Photoshop features. So, don't just watch the video -- save the channel.
Once you have InsightFace set up, we can go to town. The process involves two steps: uploading the face you want to use, and uploading the image you want it applied to.
To upload the image you want to use, use the /saveid command.
When you type /saveid, you'll be given a place to upload an image. Then you need to give that image a name ID. I called mine "daviddoor" because I'm standing in front of a door. Remember that ID because you'll use it in the next step.
Now, it's time for the face swap. Type /swapid:
Upload the image you want the face to be applied to. Then type in the ID you created earlier. If you're lucky, once you hit return, you'll get an image with the new face.
Of course, the hair still isn't right.
Step five: Fix the hair
Finally, I needed to fix the hair. For this, I dropped into the Adobe Photoshop beta and used Generative Fill. Midjourney is great for creating entire images. Photoshop Generative Fill is ideal for placing new imagery on top of existing images and having it all bend together seamlessly.
The key problem was all the extra hair below the ears. To eliminate that, I first brought the Dave Head to something nobody had ever seen before: a bald me. I selected the space just where I wanted the hair removed, generated "bald", and Photoshop did the work.
Then I selected a smaller area and generated "curly hair". This took a few tries, but it worked out.
And, after all the various AI effects, the final picture is below.
One quick note: the hair here doesn't quite match the tutorial hair above. That's because I had to recreate the process for demonstration, and the AI always comes up with something slightly different. This is the actual final image from my original production process, but the rightmost image in the Three Daves graphic above shows how new hair could be generated, even if it's not exactly the same output.
Here are a few questions I've been asked since I published the original article.
Can I still use Midjourney for free?
No. Midjourney no longer has a free tier. The plan I use costs $8 a month. So far, I haven't hit any limits with it, although it sometimes can take a little while for images to be created.
What about InsightFace? Is it free?
InsightFace does offer some free credits. I've done four or five face swaps and haven't used them up. It appears to take about three "credits" per face swap, and you get 50 free credits.
Where does Picsi.ai fit into all this?
So, when you run out of face swap credits, you'll need to subscribe to a Patreon account for Picsi.ai. There are two plans. The base $10/month plan looks like it will do fine for most people. As to the relationship between InsightFace and Picsi.ai, it appears that InsightFace is an open-source project, and Picsi.ai has created a usable Discord client for it. But I'm sure more will be revealed over time.
Have you used any of these AI image tools? What do you think of the face swap technique? Does this spark any ideas for you? Let us know in the comments below.