Imagine being able to travel back in time and take a selfie at the cusp of some of the most critical moments which changed human history forever. How about a selfie with the enslaved people who built the pyramids at Giza? Or, how about one with Christopher Columbus and his crew on their voyage trying to get to India?
Well, a Twitter user has been doing just that, and thanks to the powers of AI, he has been taking or instead creating selfies by traveling back in time.
A Twitter user known as ‘Stelfie the Time Traveller’ has been making a time-hopping travelogue using generative AI, specifically, Stable Diffusion, and fine-tuning the result. The user, an anonymous artist, has created a fictional photorealistic character that he can insert into faux historical photographs set in different eras.
For those unaware, Stable Diffusion is a deep-learning image synthesis model that allows people to create fictional scenes using text descriptions called prompts. With an additional technique called Dreambooth, people can insert their subject or character into sets generated by Stable Diffusion.
‘Stelfie,’ or how the artist wants to be known, also posts most of his work on Reddit, where he explains how he goes about ‘traveling in time.’ He uses a combination of Stable Diffusion 1.5, a custom AI model for the landscape, and a custom AI model trained on the Stelfie face.
The face, in turn, is a fictional person created using Character Creator. He uses a lot of inpainting, which means inserting AI-generated imagery into the images to fix errors and sculpt the scene. Stelfie says it takes him about three hours to ‘take each selfie.’
So far, Stelfie has traveled back in time to take photos with Columbus and his crew, with the enslaved people in Egypt while they were building the pyramids at Giza, ridden and fought with Ulysses and other greeks who were inside the Trojan Horse during the siege of Troy and many other points in time. Not just that, he has also colonized Mars in the future and fought off dinosaurs in the past.
Stelfie plans on selling these images as NFTs. While people may be a little put off by that, one cannot deny that these are a novel way to entertain yourself.