AI Used to Create Shockingly Realistic Portraits of People Who Don’t Exist

Photography News

A photographer has created portraits of people who do not exist but were instead made with the artificial intelligence (AI) program Dall-E 2.

Mathieu Stern, a French photographer, used the nascent software that is not yet easily available to the public to create photorealistic portraits of fictitious people that he documented in a YouTube video.

Stern, who recently made a series of wild camera designs on the program, started by instructing Dall-E to create an image of “a young beautiful woman wearing a yellow kimono, in a tropical greenhouse.”

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

“At first the lack of information about the camera, the lens, and the general look of the image, led to rather unimpressive results,” Stern explains on YouTube.

“So to help Dall-E, some details must be added to the general description, like the lens, the camera, the film, and adding some words like bokeh.”

Stern says the best results came after adding the word “Graflex.” The Graflex cameras were large-format cameras there were very sharp in the center but with a strong bokeh.

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

The Paris-based photographer says that the technology is still very young and requires a lot of trial and error.

“For each test, you have some great results, but you also have some pretty horrible ones.”

Dall-E 2 has trouble with the eyes of the subject in the photo. So Stern imported the images into Photoshop and using the new neural filters he changes the direction of the eyes to make them look human.

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Endless Possibilities

Once Stern had got a good handle on the AI’s “camera settings.” He could then experiment by changing the age, gender, and ethnicity of the model. Stern could even add face paint or add crazy props, such as an astronaut’s helmet, or elf ears.

The pictures don’t even have to contain just a single person, another person can be added into the frame, or even a pet tiger, iguana, or parakeet.

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

However, the “camera settings” can also be changed. Stern was able to change the settings to make the pictures look as if they were taken on a polaroid, wet plate collodion, and even on a Sigma 85mm 1.8.

“After this experiment, I feel that we’ve reached a moment in the history of photography that we can’t ignore. Those results are absolutely insane. This is one of the most important evolutions of image-making since digital photography, in my opinion,” he says.

“I haven’t felt this excited about a new technology since I first played with a video game as a child.”

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Photorealistic Portrait created by AI

Stern’s Portraits Are Not His Copyright

Despite the time and effort spent on the project, the works cannot be registered with the US Copyright Office after it determined that AI artwork can’t be copyrighted.

Image credits: Photos provided courtesy of Mathieu Stern.

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