A Simple Guide to AI Avatars

From Instagram and TikTok to Twitter and Reddit, AI-generated avatars have reached mass appeal on social media.

By submitting a few photos or selfies, you can create a collection of AI generated avatars, or images, that are based on your likeness in an increasing number of styles and variations.

In this article, we are going to explain what AI-generated avatars are, the best way to generate your own AI avatars, and some of the top privacy issues to keep in mind when using an AI avatar app.

What is an AI Avatar?

You have seen them everywhere, but what exactly is an AI avatar?

AI models such as Stable Diffusion, Dall-E, and Midjourney are trained on billions of data points. This means they can generate just about anything you can dream up. From a sloth in an astronaut suit on the moon to a house made of pizzas.

However, when it comes to generating images that look like specific individuals unless you are a celebrity chances are the AI model has no idea who you are.

This is where new training data comes into play.

An AI-generated avatar is created by introducing photographs or selfies of yourself. These submitted images are tagged with an identifier that is unique to you. After that, you can combine AI image prompts with your name or identifier.

For example, the input into Stable Diffusion would look something like this for someone named Brian:

"Portrait headshot, photograph, black and white film, Brian"
Sample prompt generated with Stable Diffusion 2.1

The beauty of AI-generated avatars is that you can create a theoretically unlimited number of variations based on your likeness.

When an AI model is trained on your images, the resulting model is saved as a .ckpt file. Combining this model with a specific prompt is how AI avatar apps output endless versions of images based on your face.

Now that we know more about what AI avatars are and how they are generated, let’s dive into some of the apps that will help you get started!

What is the Easiest Way to Create an AI Avatar of Yourself?

There are a number of services and apps out there that will generate hundreds of images based on 5-10 user-submitted photos.

The most popular way to get started is an iOS app called Lensa AI which offers a feature called Magic Avatars. If you have seen friends post images of AI avatars on social media this is most likely the app that they used.

Two other affordable and easy-to-use options are:

See our full list of the best AI avatar generators.

Which AI Avatar App is the Best Quality?

Source: Dreamlike Avatars

Today, one of the most impressive apps is Dreamlike Avatars. A couple of factors contribute to this.

First, the app uses a custom model Dreamlike Diffusion as the base layer for training. The model appears to have a bias towards a digital painting style and is similar to some of the Midjourney image outputs.

AI Avatar Generator Privacy Concerns

Anytime you share personal data on the internet, you should fully understand how it will be used and stored.

When it comes to AI avatar generators, your personal photos are stored on a private server for a set period of time before they are deleted. This can range from hours to days, or even weeks.

For the most part, AI avatar apps that we have reviewed explicitly mention that user images are deleted once the service has been rendered. Unfortunately, there is no way to verify that this is the case for sure.

An even greater risk may be the security of the AI imaging model that your photos are trained on.

If access to the model is breached, anyone can generate deep fakes of the training images without the user’s consent.

This is a major issue that is overlooked by many apps and users.

Some creators in this space like Pieter Levels have been vocal about the importance of protecting user privacy.

One final point here. Make sure you know who is behind the app you ultimately choose to use. Apps created by solo indie makers like AvatarAI.me and ProfilePicture.ai provide an additional layer of accountability compared to an app like Lensa’s Magic Avatars.

Free AI Avatar Generators

It’s currently difficult to find a free AI avatar platform due to the cost of computing the images.

However, it is possible to create your own for free with a little technical know-how and patience.

In the future, it is almost certain that major social media platforms will incorporate AI avatar generators as a feature in some form for free.

In the meantime, we will update our blog with links and overviews to any apps that begin offering a free service.

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About the Author

Andrew has over 10 years of experience in advising businesses on growth marketing and strategy. He earned his MBA from NYU Stern with a concentration in data analytics and marketing. Andrew is based out of New York and currently consults Fortune 500 clients and startups on data science projects, digital marketing, and finance.

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