Lensa AI

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NOTE: This page is a daughter page of: Artificial Intelligence

Lensa AI (which you can download from prisma-ai.com/lensa) is photo app that went pretty viral in 2022 for it's "Magic Avatar" feature which lets you input 10-20 photos of yourself (or a friend), and then generates 50-100 stunning AI generates pictures/avatars of you. Each time you generate there photos it will cost you $5-20 - which is such a brilliant payment system I'm not even mad. I paid for the subscription for 1 year to make it 50% off and I'm loving generating avatars for my friends. Still haven't done myself yet oddly...... Maybe I'm afraid, which is weird because I know what I look like. It's kind of had it's time in the sun through there are other better tools as of 2024, so I stopped paying.

Anyhow, I think the company that did this was pretty brilliant - with a sleek website and brilliant strategy.... they used AI for what people really want. Self-obesssion! Heck even if you're not self-obesssed you still want to see what you'll look like right?!

My Tips

Lensa on Android connects nicely to Google Photos (and I assume to apple photos too) but it will take you forever to find pictures of a particular friend in the Lensa AI interface. To do things quickly my advice is to start by taking new screenshot of faces on your phone as per there instructions:

  1. Install the Lensa App on your phone, and connect it to Google.
  2. Open the Google Photos app on your photo and do the search for face feature (it automatically groups all the same people/faces together so this is perfect).
  3. Scroll through all these photos on your phon, zoom/pinch in on their face - making sure there are no other faces and you get the whole head and shoulders as per their examples - and take a screenshot. Repeat this till you ideally have 20 (or at least 10) good pics.
    • TIP: If you don't have enough picks of them in Google Photos (or your phone or apple photos) most people have more than enough selfies on thier Facebook or Instagram for you to screenshot.
    • NOTE: Zooming in on their face and taking a screenshot is an order of magnitude faster than opening each photo, then cropping out other people, then saving to a seperate file.
    • WARNING: If you put in scandalous bikini photos there is an above average chance Lensa will generate some semi-ponographic images of you back. You get back what you put in, so pick the style of clothing and sophistication that you think represents you... and obviously avoid photos with sunglasses and even reading glasses it tends to mess up a little bit.
  4. Open Lensa App, click the "Magic Avatars" button on the home screen, and these screenshots (in the screenshot folder) should now be at the top of your connected Google Photos library, making them easy to select.
  5. Generate the album, and hit "Save" and it will save back to Google Photos ready for you to share with your friend. Wohoo!

My Experience with Magic Avatars with Lensa AI

I've personally had lots of fun creating Magic Avatars for some of my most amazing people/friends. I've found it make a really fun birthday present that you can send via email. I think the novelty of the pics wears off relatively quickly, but what is scary is that these are professional-level artworks - almost all of them look like the person (especially if you chose good photos as input), and I could easily imagine blowing up one of these photos on a canvas.

If anything it's a little scary that AI could be taking art away from us, because a CPU can now generate original artworks with your face that would take an artists many hours. Of all the jobs AI might threaten I would never have guessed AI might take art away from human. That's scary for sure, but I'm also not someone who immeditely jumps to the conclusion that artists will suddenly be unemployed because of one app.

I'm an AI skeptic in many ways, I'd be really, really fascinated to learn the exact process they use, but I'm sure it's clever. What's interesting is that one of my best friends lives Hawaii, so the most recent photos of her are all in bikinis, and as a result Lensa returned a bunch of images of her that show breast and are highly sexualized. Indeed, the company has been criticized for producing hypersexualized images of women and girls, including non-consensual pornographic content, a bias not present when processing images of men. However, I would say that you get what you put in. The internet training data is chock-full of image of naked or half-naked women, so if you imput a couple of risqué photos, you will get that back!

Enough talking, here's some samples:

Lensa albums

One of my favorites was my stepdad. It has a button to chose gender, so it might be interesting to upload pictures of a man and select "Female", but I was impressed that I uploaded one photo of Keith with a guitar and it gave me a few "Rockstar" photos back, one of which he's looking badass and holding a guitar. Nicely done Lensa.

More about Prisma Labs

Prisma Labs is a company based in Sunnyvale, California. In 2016, the company launched the Prisma app, which uses artificial intelligence to duplicate photos in various artistic styles. In 2018, the company launched the Lensa AI app, which is a photo and video editing app. In late November 2022, Lensa's "magic avatars" feature was launched, which, for a fee, uses artificial intelligence and users' uploaded selfies to create portraits of the users in various styles and settings within minutes. Lensa uses Stable Diffusion, an open source text-to-image model launched by Stability AI in August 2022. The company says it uses user photos to train its AI, and its user agreement states that Lensa can use the photos, videos, and other user content for "operating or improving Lensa" without compensation.

My Pictures

I haven't done myself in Lensa AI yet, but one of my friends, Rebecca sent me this photo which cracked me up. I thought she was trying to tell me it was Lensa generated, but turns out it's a "this Elrond" character from the Lord of the Rings prequel that Rebecca thinks looks like me. Oh I wish I looked like that! I'll take the compliment.

Me as a "Rings of Power" character "Young Elron" from this website