You Can Now Recreate the Same Character Across Different AI Images on Midjourney

Midjourney Character Reference
I recreated this same “old school news photographer” in different AI images.

For years photographers have been able to make images of the same person in different settings. And now AI can do the same.

Midjourney, one of the world’s leading AI image generators, has released “Character Reference” — a new feature that allows the user to create an AI person and then use them in different settings.

It is a feature that users of AI image generators have been crying out for and Midjourney CEO David Holz delivered it yesterday.

“This is similar to the ‘Style Reference’ feature, except instead of matching a reference style it tries to make the character match a “Character Reference” image,” Holz writes on Discord.

Holz says that the feature works best with characters that were generated on Midjourney and it’s “not designed for real people and photos.”

“Character reference (Cref) works similarly to regular image prompts except it ‘focuses’ on the character trait,” adds Holz. “The precision of this technique is limited, it won’t copy exact dimples/freckles/or t-shirt logos.”

How to Use Character Reference on Midjourney

First, generate an image of a person through the normal method. In this instance, I asked for a “portrait of an old-school news photographer.”

Choice of images

Base image
The image I chose as a reference

As usual, Midjourney presented me with four options and I upscaled one of them. This is an important step because the one you choose will be the base reference for all subsequent images.

So, I have my chosen base picture. I then type in a prompt like normal, but at the end, I add “–cref (base image URL) –cw 100”. The cw stands for “character weight” and it’s on a scale from zero to 100. Closer to zero will give you more variation on the character while 100 will keep the character the same. I kept mine to 100.

The “–cref image URL –cw 100” is how to use the Character Reference tool.

First, I wanted to make my character go from old school to new school by making him a modern fashion photographer. But it didn’t work, he ended up sitting for his portrait instead.

Fashion photo shoot
I wanted him to be the fashion photographer but instead he was the fashion photographer’s subject. It’s difficult to control AI.
President of the US
Then I made him the President of the United States during the 1960s.
Sitting for a portrait in Matthew Brady’s studio during the 1850s.
world war 1 theme
In the trenches during World War 1.

All in all, the Character Reference did a pretty good job of keeping the same face across different AI images. It’s yet another step forward for AI image generators and another encroachment on the photography space.