How To Create Consistent Characters in Midjourney

How To Create Consistent Characters in Midjourney

Effective storytelling often depends on the use of consistent characters, with the same appearance and style  from one image to the next. Maintaining character consistency across different scenes allows individuals to track them effortlessly, understand their unique traits and behaviors, and connect with them.

AI art tools like Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion can produce different characters to inspire your creativity. But getting them to generate the same characters in various settings, poses, and moods consistently can be a challenge. This is because AI-generated images are usually random and don’t reference previous artworks.

But with the right strategies and techniques, an AI art generator such as Midjourney can help you create consistent characters that you can use in different media, including books and comics.

Keep reading to discover how you can create consistent characters in Midjourney.

Table of contents:

Midjourney basics

Midjourney is a generative AI tool that’s tailored specifically for image generation. Based on your prompts, Midjourney can produce images in different styles, including photorealistic, surrealistic, minimalist, and mosaic.

With its image generation capabilities, Midjourney can help you generate characters for your story. Such consistent characters facilitate better narrative coherence, recognition, and cross-media adaptation.

To follow this step-by-step tutorial, you must have some basic experience with Midjourney. Particularly, you should know your way around the Midjourney Discord server, understand how to submit image prompts, and how to evaluate the outputs.

New to Midjourney? Learn the fundamentals of generating images.

Note: Midjourney is a paid service. So, you’ll need to be a paid subscriber to access different features like fast image generation. In this tutorial, we’ll be using one of the latest versions, Midjourney v5.2.

Let’s dive in.

4 steps for creating consistent characters in Midjourney

Consistent characters are essential in storytelling, particularly in digital media, children’s books, and comic books. This is because they help maintain narrative cohesion. In other words, having consistent characters allows the audience to easily understand what you’re trying to convey as the plot moves along.

For example, in our case, we’d like to develop a simple character for a children’s book. This character should be in different poses and moods to fit in various scenes to tell our story.

Here are steps to follow when generating consistent characters in Midjourney.

  1. Set up your initial character reference
  2. Create a character sheet
  3. Craft your base prompt
  4. Maintain consistency across prompts

1. Set up your initial character reference

The first step is to create an original image of your character that you’ll use as a reference. This character will be the foundation for all future character iterations, helping you maintain visual consistency.

While you can sketch the initial character manually, a good alternative would be to generate the character in Midjourney.

We used the prompt “short girl, skinny, round eyes, red hair, blue/green shirt, gray pants, white background, Pixar style, -- ar 16:9” to produce the following full-body character. The --ar extension at the end of the prompt allows us to specify the aspect ratio that Midjourney should use.

Set up your initial character

2. Create a character sheet

In the above section, we have generated an initial character with Midjourney. Now, we can create a character sheet—using the above image as a reference.

To get started, download the image from Midjourney onto your computer. Next, use image editing software like Photoshop to crop the image to focus more on the character. Your cropped image should look as shown below:

Create character sheet

We can then upload the image to a Midjourney channel and copy the image address or URL.

Create character sheet 2

Next, click the uploaded image to access an expanded view, and then right-click on it to copy the image address (URL).

Create character sheet 3

In our case, the URL is:

https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/1144149411790852106/1196658324943405076/anime_girl-removebg-preview.png?ex=65b86de9&is=65a5f8e9&hm=f6121caaaf4c71d440c97b7e238b19816ed80ea282d04ff3b0355b3e4ecb6dd1&=&format=webp&quality=lossless&width=142&height=332

We can then add the above image URL (Midjourney will use the image as a reference) to our prompt as follows.

Note: We’re using the same original prompt we used to generate the image, but in this case, we’re adding extra details like multiple poses and expressions and a character sheet.

/imagine https://media.discordapp.net/attachments/1144149411790852106/1196658324943405076/anime_girl-removebg-preview.png?ex=65b86de9&is=65a5f8e9&hm=f6121caaaf4c71d440c97b7e238b19816ed80ea282d04ff3b0355b3e4ecb6dd1&=&format=webp&quality=lossless&width=142&height=332 short girl, skinny, round eyes, red hair, blue/green shirt, gray pants, white background, Pixar style, multiple poses and expressions, character sheet

Here are the four character sheet variants Midjourney produced from the above prompt. Though the generated character on the sheet does not fully match our initial character, some aspects, like red hair, are similar.

Create character sheet 4

Click on the character sheet you like best to expand it. In our case, we liked the second character sheet because it closely resembles our original character. Here’s how it appears below.

Create character sheet 5

3. Craft your base prompt

Before crafting a base prompt, crop each character in the above character sheet in a separate image, as shown below. It’s a good idea to upscale your character sheet to increase the size and resolution of your character in different poses.

Craft your base prompt
Craft your base prompt 2
Craft your base prompt 3

We can then add the images to the Midjourney Discord channel and copy the links.

While our character sheet contains seven images of the character, we don’t have to include all of these variations in the base prompt. In this case, we’ll reference four images—of the character in varying poses—to allow Midjourney to generate the desired outputs. Here are the image links.

To create the base Midjourney prompt, we need to add the above links to our command and then specify what the character should be doing. In this example, we want the character to appear to be laughing. Here’s our original prompt.

Midjourney generated the following image variants of the character laughing.

Craft your base prompt 4

Craft your base prompt 5

The above images show a picture of our character appearing to laugh. You may have to run the text prompt multiple times to get your desired images, tweaking various parameters as you go. Though the images may have flaws, the character’s facial appearance is consistently similar. This helps set the stage for a consistent character design.

4. Maintain consistency across prompts

You should also include the –seed parameter on future prompts to boost character consistency. This parameter helps in maintaining the character’s recognizable features across various depictions.

To generate a seed number, simply click on a generated image and then react with an envelope emoji.

Maintain consistency across prompts

A seed number will be generated, as shown below.

Maintain consistency across prompts 2

We can then add the seed number to a new prompt, as shown below.

Here’s the Midjourney output of the character with a sad face.

Maintain consistency across prompts 3

Here is an upscaled version of the first image in the above character sheet:

Maintain consistency across prompts 4

Note: Depending on the Midjourney version you’re using, the seed command might not produce the same images. Once again, you may have to tweak your prompts for more desirable outcomes.

For example, Midjourney changes the character’s clothes in each image generation. You can use the Vary (subtle) or Vary (strong) options to generate a character that closely matches the one in your reference images. In our case, here’s how the character looks when we use the Vary (strong) option.

Maintain consistency

Strategies for creating consistent characters

Creating consistent characters in Midjourney can be challenging but also leads to a thrilling experience. Here are some strategies to help you in generating consistent images.

Describe facial features clearly

While Midjourney can produce incredible visuals, you have to use detailed text descriptions to get the desired outputs. Specifically, use clear and consistent descriptions of your characters' facial features to produce more accurate images. These facial features will allow the characters to portray different moods and expressions as the story flows effectively.

In the images generated in the previous section, we gave Midjourney more creative freedom by only specifying that the character should have red hair, round eyes, and appear skinny. However, you can use phrases like “eyes wide open, eyes narrowed, a mustache, and smile on the face” to create more descriptive prompts.

Avoid conflicting keywords

Remember to use consistent language when generating images in Midjourney. Avoid conflicting keywords, which may lead to inconsistent results.

For instance, defining a character as tall and then describing them as short afterward—may confuse the model. Using clear, simple, and short phrases can help you maintain consistency when generating characters.

Use the seed number

Using an image’s seed number might also help you generate consistent character variations in Midjourney.

To illustrate, we used the prompt “A cheerful, small robot with large, expressive eyes and a rounded body. Its colors are bright and primary, with a smooth, glossy finish. The robot has a friendly smile, set against a simple, light-colored background, Pixar style –seed 5000” to produce the following characters.

Use the seed number

We then used the same prompt and seed number to generate the following very similar character variations.

Use the seed number 2

Once again, the seed command will not automatically result in consistent images. So, tweak your prompts to improve the likelihood of similar outputs.

Vary Region method

You can also use the Vary Region feature to edit specific sections of an image while maintaining the rest of the character integrity for better consistency.

While we can use the standalone Vary (region) feature, combining it with Remix mode allows us to submit new or edited prompts to modify specific image portions. This can lead to outputs that are much closer to what we want.

To get started, first enable remix mode using the command “/prefer remix.

Next, proceed to upscale an image on a grid and then press the Vary (Region) button to access the Midjourney image editor.

Vary region 1

With the remix mode turned on, here’s what the Midjourney Editor looks like.

Vary region 2

We’ll then mark an area on the image we wish to edit. In our case, we want to change the pants color to green.

Vary region 3

Next, we can modify the prompt to reflect our desired changes. In our case, we will add the phrase “green pants” to the prompt.

https://s.mj.run/ohoCWiEcJIQ  https://s.mj.run/eHke7Jrb7gs  https://s.mj.run/7c0UuusFkNg  https://s.mj.run/xWgeHBPy1-4 short girl, skinny, round eyes, red hair, light blue shirt, jungle green pants, white background, sad, Pixar style

You can then resubmit the prompt. Here’s what Midjourney generated.

Vary region 4

You can turn off Remix mode using the /settings command and deselect the Remix mode button, shown below.

Settings

Use character sheets and style guides

While creating characters, it's a good idea to generate a character sheet that shows different angles and expressions, as we did with the red-haired girl. These character sheets ensure consistency across various depictions, such as comics and anime.

A character sheet also shows how characters appear in different poses and expressions. As a result, artists can use this sheet to modify characters to ensure they accurately bring out their personalities and portray specific emotions.

The prompt “a short girl, long hair, white t-shirt, blue pants, multiple poses and expressions, character sheet, Pixar style --ar 16:9” generated the four following character sheets in Midjourney. Again, we’d select the set we like or tweak the prompt until we get a best match for our needs.

Use charachter sheets and styles

Get help with Midjourney on Upwork

Whether you’re designing characters for a children’s book, anime, or comic, Midjourney can help with your character creation process. By referencing other images, you enable Midjourney to generate characters that closely resemble one another.

However, drafting the right prompts to get Midjourney to produce consistent characters requires time, especially if you’re a beginner. While Midjourney can create characters with consistent facial features, getting the AI tool to match clothing or other elements of the image can be challenging. Consider working with Midjourney AI artists on Upwork to help you harness the power of AI in your creative workflow.

For experts looking for work, Upwork can connect you to different Midjourney AI jobs to help build your portfolio. Get started today!

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

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