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How To Face Swap Pictures in Midjourney In Under 5 Minutes

Ever wanted to see yourself singing in front of a live audience or watching the sun rise over the Grand Canyon? Midjourney can help you with that.
Updated May 9, 2024
Trying different faces, generated with Midjourney
Trying different faces, generated with Midjourney

Have you ever wanted to see what you'd look like with your favorite celebrity's face? Or maybe swap faces with a friend just for fun? Thanks to Midjourney, this whimsical form of creative expression is just one prompt away. 

The best part? Learning how to face swap pictures in Midjourney takes no time at all. Within a matter of minutes, even total beginners can master the basics of using text prompts to swap faces onto new bodies and backgrounds.

So, how exactly does one do it? Well, that’s what I’m going to teach you today. Stay tuned!

What is Midjourney?

Midjourney is an AI model that can generate realistic images or artwork straight from text descriptions. It uses advanced machine learning models trained on large datasets of images and captions to interpret natural language prompts and create detailed, imaginative visuals.

Midjourney has several features that make it popular like aspect ratio control, panning and zooming, region variations, style reference, and character reference — the last of which will be our focus on today’s article.

If you want to learn more about Midjourney, then our full review and analysis of the model are good places to start.

What is Character Reference?

Character Reference is one of Midjourney’s newest features. It’s created to solve one of Midjourney’s biggest issues: consistency. In the past, they’re unable to replicate the subject or background of the images it created, but not anymore.

This feature takes the likeness of the subject from an input image and uses that to create the subject of your new prompt. It’s that simple and this feature is what will enable us to swap faces using Midjourney without using any other software or model. So, without further ado…

How To Replicate Faces Using Midjourney’s Character Reference

Face-swapping with Midjourney is a straightforward process. To show you, let me generate a person using Midjourney first. This man will be our subject, so you better remember his face.

Now, here’s everything you need to do: 

1. Get the image link of the reference picture.

2. Create a prompt on Midjourney of your desired background description.

The only difference is that at the end of the prompt, before you choose an aspect ratio or switch between models, write the keyword --cref, followed by the link you just copied. 

Here are the final results:

You can adjust the Character Reference strength too using the --cw command. The default value of this is 100, but if you only want the subject’s face to be copied, then set it somewhere close to zero.

Alternatively, you can also use background images as a prompt using the Style Reference command. You can invoke this with the --sref command and it works similar to Character Reference. 

For instance, here are my background image, prompt, and output respectively:

Face Swapping With Midjourney: Other Examples

Example #1

Example #2

Example #3

Thoughts?

It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s getting there. Remember that this Midjourney V6 has only been out for a couple of months and character reference is a pretty new feature too. Being this good is already a win even if there’s room for improvement.

The biggest issue of face-swapping with character reference is that it changes the face from the original photo ever so slightly that you can’t exactly pinpoint why it feels like a different person. I’m still not convinced that the women in the third example aren’t different people — this might have something to do with the lighting in the original image being too dim.

Another issue is that, even after tweaking its strength, character reference still copies the outfit from the original photo.

That said, this is the closest Midjourney has ever come to face-swapping technology. Only time will tell if Midjourney 7 can improve upon these results. But their history of evolving with every model tells us that it’s a certainty.

The Bottom Line

Midjourney has come a long way in terms of consistency, but there’s still a longer road ahead. I still don’t think it’s good enough to face-swap images with accuracy, but it’s definitely moving towards that direction.

For now, this is the best it can do. Not as good as Adobe Photoshop, but it will certainly pass the eye test for some people.

Looking for more articles about Midjourney? We have tons of them. I highly suggest this one or this one. Have fun!

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Written by John Angelo Yap
Hi, I'm Angelo. I'm currently an undergraduate student studying Software Engineering. Now, you might be wondering, what is a computer science student doing writing for Gold Penguin? I took up studying computer science because it was practical and because I was good at it. But, if I had the chance, I'd be writing for a career. Building worlds and adjectivizing nouns for no other reason other than they sound good. And that's why I'm here.
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