The idea was that AI image generators would save us time and speed up creative workflows, but it turns out that they're very good at helping us waste time too. While AI art apps have been causing a lot of concern and controversy, now someone's now made an image synth with a brief so adorably specific that we can't not be 100% here for it.
Text-to-Pokémon is an image generator that does exactly what it says, using AI machine learning to let you create a brand new Pokémon from any description you type in, including the names of celebs and famous characters. We had to try it out, and we might not be doing anything else for the next few hours (to learn more about how such technology works, see our piece on how to use DALL-E 2).
Run with an API on Replicate, Lambda Labs' Text-to-Pokémon takes the AI image generator Stable Diffusion and trains it specifically on Pokémon. Type in a text prompt – it can be anything from a description to the name of a celebrity or even an inanimate object, and the model will generate a Pokémon-style character by drawing on its database of images and captions.
To create the model, the machine learning researcher Justin Pinkney took Stable Diffusion and fine tuned it by giving it further training on a more specific dataset – Pokémon. He trained the model on BLIP captioned Pokémon images with two NVIDIA RTX A6000 GPUs on the Lambda GPU Cloud for around 15,000 steps.
"Stable Diffusion is a great generalist model, but getting a certain style of output is pretty tricky, it usually needs some serious "prompt engineering", he says. "Fine tuning the model itself is an easy approach to focus on just what you want, if you have some data."
As a result, this model has no need for "prompt engineering”, the practice of having to work on prompts and finely craft them to get a desired output with a particular style or appearance. Text-to-Pokémon (opens in new tab) will only generate Pokémon. And since this is open source Stable Diffusion, rather than say, the more restrictive DALL-E 2 with its rules against using famous people, we can go wild creating celebrity Pokémon too.
Fine tuning #stablediffusion to make Pokemon!I wrote a quick guide on fine tuning your own Stable Diffusion: https://t.co/hLWrOjEPTmI also released my Pokemon model, you can try it out on Replicate: https://t.co/3sVQrk54wZor with this Notebook: https://t.co/nRU5EQt3WC pic.twitter.com/d1FIAp49nOSeptember 20, 2022
As with all AI image generators, the output can be hit and miss, but it's hugely entertaining, and you can create as many Pokémon as you like based on whatever whim comes to you. Pinkney uses Yoda as an example on the site, and the Jedi seems an apt choice to turn into a Pokémon – he already has some signature moves. We tried it out with a range of prompts.
You can also get more descriptive, so as well as trying celebrities we also tried "purple alien robotic bat". In most cases, it's done a fairly good job at creating what we asked of it so far – although it got a bit wild with SpongeBob SquarePants. For the best chance of getting one you like, choose “4” in the “num_outputs” field to generate four options instead of one.
The internet's already going crazy for the AI Pokémon generator. Here are a few of the creations shared on Twitter, from prompts ranging from Sonic the Hedgehog and Jesus Christ to kissing lesbians and users' own Twitter names.
@NTom64_Lyfe If Sonic was a Pokemon. I used an AI generator and that’s what it came up with. This is actually loads of fun. https://t.co/9KdzOYicBV pic.twitter.com/Nv9VQStA3mSeptember 26, 2022
Jesus Christ as a Pokemon, via Pokemon-finetuned Stable Diffusion pic.twitter.com/4mtsq6In9kSeptember 20, 2022
I know we all hate ai now but you have to admit asking a text to pokemon generator to try to draw lesbians produced some very good results pic.twitter.com/s47O2fluMnSeptember 26, 2022
I made AI generated Pokémon with my Twitter handles. I’M OBSESSED. Harpie’s Slut → harpie’s slut → harpie’s 𝖘𝖑𝖚𝖙Jo Barf Creepy → jo barf creepy → jobarfcreepy pic.twitter.com/pAv0wTADK5September 26, 2022
put wednesday 13 in the pokemon ai generator pic.twitter.com/95TCTsVNNKSeptember 26, 2022
I asked an AI to make Michael D Higgins as a Pokémon and I was NOT disappointed pic.twitter.com/a5EHobCg4eSeptember 26, 2022
AI art generators are controversial. They can turn text prompts into images because they've been trained on thousands of combinations of existing images and captions. That's causing enough copyright concerns for Getty to ban AI content from its image library. Meanwhile, artists have cried foul after an AI-generated image won a fine art competition – apparently without the judges understanding how it was made.
Open-source AI models like Stable Diffusion have the benefit that anyone can tweak them to dream up fun tools like this Pokémon generator, but that ease of access has a murky side too, with the platform being used to create violent and sexual imagery. To learn more about the latest developments in AI art generators, read up on DALL-E 2 outpainting and check out these comparisons of the best AI art generators. We also have a roundup of the weirdest AI art.