As an aficionado of RPGs, I, Sakura Sato, am no stranger to character customization. I’ve spent hours finessing my in-game characters’ appearances, their hairstyles, clothes, and even their eyebrows. Yet, when it comes to portraying myself on social media, the challenge somehow seems even more daunting. I wanted to experiment with the latest in AI image generation to see if I could create, well, a more “me”, version of me – if that makes sense.
What is Midjourney?
We all know that Artificial Intelligence (AI) continues to create unprecedented tools that drastically change the way we create and share content online. Among the leading-edge applications of AI is the diffusion model known as Midjourney. It’s a potent tool that allows you to rework and redefine digital images. In layman’s terms a diffusion model takes a clear image, adds a dose of ‘noise’ until the image is obscured, and then reconstructs it, leading to a modified version of the original image.
When it comes to Midjourney, it employs this process to tweak and transform the appearance of images that you upload, or that you generate from typing in a text prompt. Afterwards, Midjourney offers you the chance to Zoom Out, Upscale or make variations.
Anyway, so, you’ve seen the headline picture of me above, pretty normal, pretty boring.
First, I wanted a fresh profile picture for my Sakura “gaming journalist” socials. I am going to be honest, working with midjourney is pretty easy, if you know your way around discord and can follow some instructions its not exactly brain surgery, no matter what the latest AI guru is trying to tell you to sell you the latest $999 AI NOW! course.
So, I asked Midjourney to create a version of me that balanced attractiveness with authenticity, as I wanted my followers to connect with the real me, not an airbrushed mirage, and this is what Midjourney came up with:
Hot right! – I wish I looked this good IRL, my friends said I looked like I’d walked straight off the Catwalk.
But I think it is so far away from what I really look like that people would be startled if they saw the real me at a gaming convention or a tech conference. What I really wanted was something that’s more a “polished” version of myself, a Sakura who looked like she’d had a very good night’s sleep and an expert makeup session.
Midjourney has a host of features that you can adjust with clever prompt engineering that allow you to play around with your facial features, adjusting them as subtly or as dramatically as you like.
So, with this in mind I asked Midjourney for a me, but toned down, approachable and likable.
Well, not quite it, I was definitely looking at a warmer version of myself. My smile was wider, my eyes friendlier, and somehow even my digital complexion seemed inviting, but not sure why I needed Asian Hogwarts in the background.
I was then inspired to go a bit crazy I decided to go wild and create a goofy, cartoon version of myself. I’ve always loved the playful energy in cartoons, and I thought, why not bring that into my own image?
With some exaggeration on the features and a dash of creative flair, Cartoon Sakura was born. This Sakura was mysterious, contemplative, and brimming with fungal personality. I couldn’t stop chuckling at my new, zany avatar, and it quickly became a hit among my gaming buddies.
Finally, I wanted to bring in more of my social side, highlighting my love for community and camaraderie.
The result was an avatar that was almost radiating warmth and friendliness. My friends loved this one. They said it was the Sakura they’d see at parties, always ready to share a laugh or lend a comforting ear. Yes, this image may radiate a persona I relate to and vibe with, but to be honest, this is Sakura Plus, she is just too gorgeous, her skin is perfect and her hair is Amazing. She wasn’t me…
In the end, these Midjourney creations can become more than just pictures. After a while of adjusting, creating and retrying, the images became representations of the many facets of my personality. But at the same time, their is something odd and disconcerting about the images, some “otherness”.
Midjourney has added an extra sprinkle of fun to my social media escapades. It’s given me the chance to play around with my online persona while still staying true to myself. Interesting, I think I am far more comfortable putting weird, cartoony or ugly AI generated images of me on my social profiles for fun, but I am not sure about the “enhanced” versions, they feel too much like Catfishing, but at least now whether I’m feeling glamorous, welcoming, goofy, or sociable, I can play around and create an avatar for every mood ^^. Who knows, wild west or matrix Sakura might end up on a social feed near you…
Have fun friends xxx