Taylor Hatmaker@tayhatmaker /
Directly above shot of digital tablet, camera and lens on rustic wooden desk against sunlight. Designer / photographer's collection on workstation

You are not alone if you see a lot of portraits of your friends on your social media accounts. After adding a new avatar generation tool based on Stable Diffusion, the photo editing app went viral over the last few days.

It is the first time that many people have interacted with a generative artificial intelligence. It's the first time they've paid for computer-generated art

Stable Diffusion is free and many people are playing with it for fun. The computing cycles required to run the prompts and spit out a set of images are sold by Lensa and other services. That makes the equation change a bit.

Stable Diffusion's free, open source image generator is used to build lensa. If you sign up for a free trial, you will receive a set of stylized portraits in an array of styles. If you have enough processing power, you can install Stable Diffusion on a machine, download some models and get the same results, but if you don't have enough processing power, you can't.

Since we introduced our AI-generated avatars here, the hype has gone over the roof. Among the first and most voted names of whom we should do next, you named Casey Neistat.

So we've braced ourselves, prepared more bandwidth on servers, and are happy to show @Casey as seen by AI pic.twitter.com/FjhLG7WTdU

The date is November 29, 2022.

The tech world has celebrated the advancement of artificial intelligence image and text generators this year, and artists have watched the proceedings warily, but your average social media user probably hasn't struck up a conversation with a philosopher. Most people haven't grappled with the ethical implications of free, readily available artificial intelligence tools like Stable Diffusion and how they're poised to change entire industries if we let them

For every 10 Lensa avatars, there is one person in the comments who complains about the app stealing from artists. There are concerns that aren't overblown. 2.3 billion captioned images were used to train Stable Diffusion, the artificial intelligence image generator that powers Lensa. There are a lot of watermarked images, copyrighted works, and a lot of pictures from pinsy. There are many thousands of photos pulled from various websites, as well as illustrations from Deviant Art and ArtStation.

Individual artists can choose not to appear in the training data set. According to LAION, the nonprofit that created the huge dataset to begin with, the troves of are data are just an index to the internet. If you are an EU citizen and the database has a photo of you with your name attached, you can file a request for your data to be erased. There is a horse in the barn.

We don't know what this means for artists, whether it's independent illustrators and photographers or massive copyright-conscious corporations. Stable Diffusion pushes the issue further. A template designed to mimic a specific artist's visual style and mint new images at a pace that no human could compete with was previously possible.

We are excited to announce the release of Stable Diffusion Version 2!

Stable Diffusion V1 changed the nature of open source AI & spawned hundreds of other innovations all over the world. We hope V2 also provides many new possibilities!

Link → https://t.co/QOSSmSRKpG pic.twitter.com/z0yu3FDWB5

— Stability AI (@StabilityAI) November 24, 2022

Andy Baio, who co- founded a festival for independent artists, has an interview up on his website. He spoke with an illustrator who was able to create a model that mimicked her work. She said she wouldn't have agreed to it if she'd been asked if they could do it.

The popularity of a Stable Diffusion prompt used to generate images in Greg's detailed fantasy style caused him to worry that his art would be lost in the sea of algorithmic copies. In a year, what about that? I probably won't be able to find my work on the internet because it's going to be filled with artificial intelligence.

Those worries, echoed by many illustrators and other digital creatives, are reverberating on social media as many people encounter these tricky issues for the first time

A lot of people have been posting their pictures on the internet. I would like to encourage you not to use the service, or at least not to do so, because I think it's a bad idea. Jon Lam, an artist with Riot Games, shared his own uneasiness with the use of artificial intelligence in his artwork. I don't just see art, I see people, mentors and friends as well. I don't think you will comprehend.

I was sick and stuck at home over the weekend, so I spent a lot of time on social media. Digital illustrations cost cents a piece and my stories were a blur. It's clear that Lensa has tapped into something special, appealing to both the vain impulse to collect 50 stylish self portraits and the interactive experience of polling your friends on which are your spitting image and which are hilarious.

Artists and illustrators were encouraged to find an artist to pay instead. It is hard to fault the creative people in my circle. If you just tune in, the current cohort of artificial intelligence image generators can do a lot.

Lensa AI sample photo made by TechCrunch

The image is from TechCrunch.

All of us will be paying attention soon. I downloaded the app in order to research stories. I only paid for one artist to make me a profile picture in the past and that was back in 2016 For less than 10 bucks, I had a set of 50 epicavatars from my most me photos. I stepped out of the pages of a graphic novel in purple robes and looked like an alien saint.

I'm aware of the appeal. A group of friends remarked on how the pictures made them feel, suggesting that they were seeing themselves in a different way. It's all very interesting and complicated, and I wouldn't fault anyone for doing that. Part of me wishes I didn't use myavatar I don't plan on using them.

When I remember to stock my online store, I think about my own art, the photography I sell. I had to put in a lot of work to get the shots for a few of the prints I have sold. Special permission from the National Park Service and a five-hour backpack allowed me to take one of my favorite photos. There were many lonely hours of tending my tripod alone in the freezing cold.

Stable diffusion sample Milky Way images

There are images from a search on Lexica.art. Lexica is the author of the image

One tucked away mountain spot nearby that only local nightsky photographers seem to know about is recreated by the artificial intelligence models. Three years ago, when I shot photos there, I had to wait in the dark for hours to get to a campsite because the forest service road was so bad. I cooked an expired packet of ramen noodles with a small camp stove to stay warm, tucked the feathers back into my jacket and went to sleep.

I don't make a living from my work. Learning how to predict a cluster of ancient stars in the blackness, slipping on wet stones and chipping my hot shoe, keeping extra batteries warm in a down pocket, are all experiences that could be worth less in the future

Lensa AI climbs the App Store charts as its ‘magic avatars’ go viral

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