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Neural networks for creating characters: trying 10 free services


For several years now, they have been saying that neural networks will replace artists and writers.

But it is much more interesting when a person and an algorithm do not compete, but cooperate. Neural networks have proven to be a useful tool for authors, especially beginners. With the help of some services, you can visualize the characters of your story or script. Others will help to prescribe the character of the characters, come up with plot moves and lines, even chat with them. Such neural networks are already used by studios to create animation.

By combining different services, you can create a detailed hero with a vivid visual image from scratch. We tested them and tried to give all programs the same task : to generate a girl⁠-⁠knight. In some neural networks, we generated pictures, in others we tried to write down the character and dialogues of the heroine.

Choose what to generate






Where to try it : on the website

A simple tool where you can create pictures from a text description. And at the same time improve the photo or mix images. To create a character, write a request in English and select one of several dozen ready-made styles.

The site generates pictures in a resolution of 256 × 256, you can increase the resolution only for a fee. Free generation of five pictures per day is available. It is unlikely that the results can be used as illustrations or concept art, but they will do, for example, for avatars of characters in video games.


1/4 Animated style princess knight


Starry AI

Where to try it : on the website , in applications for iOS and Android

The neural network creates pictures based on a text description, but with additional settings. You can immediately set the style of the image, attach a picture⁠-⁠reference, set secondary parameters. By default, it generates four pictures at a time.

If you do not set the style, then the results resemble the not very high-quality work of neural networks of the past generation. But there are no obvious errors and artifacts. With the Artstation, Concept Art, or Greg Rutkowski settings, the result is prettier, but there is still little detail, and interesting backgrounds are not generated. The increase in quality helps - it draws the picture a little. Article cover How neural networks are drawn: 12 interesting services 55 106 133

There is a system of credits: every day they give five pieces for free. One request costs one credit, image quality improvement costs two credits. Credits can not only be bought for money, but also earned by completing various tasks. For example, watch ads or share work on social networks.


1/4 Knight girl without styles


Broader art

Where to try : on the website

The site uses the StyleGAN model, a rather old Nvidia neural network from 2018. Artbreeder does not generate images based on a text query, but mixes images. It works like this: you upload your picture or select from the database, and the neural network takes characteristics from each and generates a common “child”.

Choose a Splicer mode and category depending on what kind of hero you want to get - portraits, characters, furries⁠-⁠ or anime⁠-⁠ portraits. In normal portrait mode, you can upload three of your pictures for free.

In the editor, select the "parents" of the character - one or more pictures. Each "parent" has sliders that control the borrowing of traits or style. Using the same sliders, you can adjust the gender of the hero, his clothes, the color of the image, and other details.

To make a girl⁠-⁠knight, I took pictures that I found in the image database from users. I found both "parents" for "princess" and "knight". It turned out quite strange: for example, if you turn the “woman” slider into a plus, then your character will become more and more naked.

The final picture from ArtBreeder has a lot of obvious neural network artifacts: you need to handle the sliders carefully, otherwise you will get a hard-to-distinguish mess.


1/3 Not a strong "feminine" parameter


Playground AI

Where to try it: on the website

An affordable service powered by Stable Diffusion, one of the most advanced neural networks⁠-⁠ artists. In general, a powerful PC and programming skills are required to run a neural network, but on the Playground AI website you can try a light version without having any of the above.

As in Stable Diffusion, the main feature of the service is the creation of pictures from a text description. At the same time, you can specify the details that you do not want to see - for example, palms with fingers that the neural network has not learned to draw. So the picture will be better. Read about the rest of the Stable Diffusion settings in our guide. 

In Playground AI, generation is available not only by text query, but also by image. This is convenient: you can sketch out the character’s pose by hand, and then “finish” and modernize it using the service. The results are quite unpredictable: for the same request, the neural network generates radically different pictures. Sometimes artifacts break through, and the algorithm does not always correctly read what you wanted to get.

There are no loans, as in many similar services. Up to a thousand images can be generated per day, after which you will have to wait in a virtual queue.


1/3 Nice but crooked



Where to try it : on Discord

The results of Midjourney's work are easy to confuse with human art, they are so high quality. Unlike most online⁠-⁠generators, the neural network has a huge number of parameters that can be manually adjusted and get radically different results. We talked about this in a separate guide.

To generate a character, it is not necessary to delve into all the details. The free version has 25 tries, which is enough for at least a couple of high-quality heroes. You need to register in Discord, join the Midjourney server and start generating in one of the chats.

Set any parameters for your character: appearance, facial expression, pose. Choose an image style or even specific artists. In Midjourney, you can generate not only from a text description, but also from pictures - in case you are inspired by someone when creating a character. Article cover How to process a photo using the Midjourney neural network and make an avatar in any style 

It took me about 10 generations to generate a girl⁠-⁠knight. At first, I didn’t like the general style of the images - this can be easily changed by adding the name of the artist to the query “in style of”. Then the eyes, hands and position of the sword were poorly generated - it appeared in random places. This is corrected only by enumeration of options.


1/5 We generate a knight girl with golden hair. Too boring VIDEO


Where to try it: on the website

Artflow allows you to create a visual novel from scratch. The service first generates characters, and then "revives" them: it automatically animates portraits, voices the dialogues of characters prescribed by the user. In a few minutes, you get a full-fledged cut⁠-⁠scene for a simple video game.

The neural network consists of two large sections. In Image Studio , generate pictures by text request. Mostly hand-drawn portraits in the style of artists from Artstation come out. Faces are quite beautiful and of high quality. Sometimes artifacts or crooked eyes come across, in which case you can always start the generation again. You can also generate backgrounds here .

After creating the characters, go to Video Studio. From ready-made or created backgrounds, select a scene, then a character and his voice - different accents and intonations are available, only English is supported. Write down the hero's line - the first scene is ready. Repeat for the rest of the frames and export the video. The service automatically animates the facial expressions of the characters - you can’t control this, so sometimes it turns out a little ridiculous.

The site has a system of credits - they give out 100 pieces for free for pictures and videos. One generation and one slide cost one credit. I spent 12 "picture" credits and 74 "video" credits to create the dialogue between the knights. An example of a 5 slide video. The maximum number of slides in one project is 20 VIDEO


Where to try it: on the website

The service generates characters with different appearances and personalities based on a short text description. Main feature: the created characters are interactive. After creating a 3D⁠-⁠avatar, you can communicate with him and thus train.

The site has a system of credits - they are needed to create characters and communicate with them. Credits can be obtained not only for money, but also for actions like posting an avatar on social networks. But you can change the name, character, appearance and voice of the character only by subscription.

The neural network is more suitable for entertainment - in the free version, each interaction with the character lasts only seven lines, and it will not work to change it. Essentially, you create random characters that resemble your description. Article cover How to create a virtual identity for an anonymous life on the Internet - and recognize a fake 12 10 29

Apparently, the neural network can only create avatars from the modern era. The outfit of the girl⁠-⁠knight that I tried to generate resembles a sports uniform, and for some reason she got cooking instead of sword skills in interests.


The avatar moves and speaks in English


Character AI

Where to try it: on the website

On the Character AI site, hundreds of different chat⁠-⁠bots engage in meaningful dialogue, imitating the manner of speech of Elon Musk, Albert Einstein, Mario, Hermione, Sherlock Holmes, or even a chair. With the help of such AI, you can come up with a character character and write dialogues for fan fiction, games or books.

Users create and train bots themselves, so on the site you can find a neuroversion of almost any famous person or character. And, of course, make a chat⁠-⁠bot for your hero. Tinkoff Magazine has already talked in detail about the service.

Come up with a name for the character, write a welcome message, add an avatar. Among all the parameters, the name is important - if you name the hero "Sponge Bob", then he will immediately begin to imitate a cartoon character.

After creating a character, you will immediately go to a dialogue where the bot will start generating answers. In the settings, write down character traits, background, mannerisms, things that interest the character. The text should be written from the character's point of view in their own words. This will help the bot play your hero better.

To train a bot, you need to evaluate its answers on a four-point scale. At first, the character will respond with general phrases, but then he will understand the style you are striving for. For inspiration, you can use custom bots. Knight Nun Custom Bot


Inworld AI

Where to try it: on the website

Another site with chat bots where you can create your own character. According to the developers, their algorithm was created to create heroes with interesting dialogues and characters, in order to later integrate them into games on Unity and Unreal Engine engines.

Create a new character, write a name and a short description. You can fill out the hero card yourself or generate it automatically - in this case, the algorithm will prescribe the missing details. In the character card, indicate the motivation, interests, hobbies, character traits of the hero. Emotions and mood are adjusted through toggle switches: the character can be an introvert or an extrovert, aggressive or peaceful, joyful or sad.

The hero can also prescribe the knowledge that he owns. Examples of filling out the cards can be viewed from one of the nine ready-made characters. Created characters can interact with each other in scenes - there are several ready-made ones, but there are only five of them.

I created the heroine from a brief description and asked the neural network to automatically generate the rest of the characteristics. She started playing a medieval girl from a good fantasy.


Character examples Chat with a knight girl I created



Where to try it: on the website

ChatGPT is a revolutionary AI⁠-⁠bot that can have a realistic dialogue with the interlocutor. The neural network remembers the details of the conversation and can adjust the answers based on the information that the user told him. She composes any text, including prescribing stories and lines of characters.

Write a short description of the character in the chat and ask ChatGPT to come up with the rest of the details - characteristics, motivation, appearance, name. The description of the appearance can be used as a query in neural networks that generate pictures to create a visual image of the heroine. Article cover ChatGPT: how to use the neural network and what it can do 64 96 163

The service can also be used as a chat⁠-⁠bot to generate dialogues with a character: to do this, you need to ask ChatGPT to respond on behalf of a fictional character. AI comes up with fairly detailed and voluminous descriptions. 1/3 Asked ChatGPT to come up with the characteristics and motivation of the heroine

Will neural networks become a permanent tool for the artist?

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