I Am Very Excited About Artbreeder

Jon Bell
4 min readAug 29, 2019

Artbreeder.com is a website that lets you combine images using machine learning. It’s the next iteration of http://ganbreeder.app and it should open soon to the public. In the meantime, I have an invite and I am going to share my enthusiasm with you!

As of the 29th of August 2019, the homepage of the beta looks like this:

So if I chose to “mix” a portrait, I see this:

So I click through and I can pick from other images that have been made. To be clear, none of these are real people! None of these images have existed this way before!

I figured out that I could combine three faces and got this:

And at this point I started taking screenshots because I knew I wanted to share this experience with other people. See that little purple slider up there? When I dial it up and down, it changes like you’d expect.

Lovely! So if you ever need some stock photography of people and don’t want to infringe on someone’s rights or privacy, say hello to an infinite portrait generator.

Let’s see what we can do when we click into an image:

On the left we have our chosen image, and on the right the algorithm is spitting out a range of options. It ends up being a really fun rabbit hole.

Next I thought I’d try the “Edit-Genes” option and found this:

This is what happened when I dialed concept_art up to +4:

And then dialed up the beard to +6:

Then I added glasses and popped back out to see some comparisons:

It was cool seeing the “similar” and “different” widget for fine-tuning. I can imagine using similar when you’re zeroing in on just the right look.

Look at this one, for example. It’s about 90% towards “similar” but there are still a nice range of options that have a similar general look.

Next I thought I’d give the “Crossbreed” feature a try, and was asked for another image to use for the calculation.

I threw it a bit of a curveball, but I like the results:

And by dialing the controls more to one side or the other, we can find just the right blend.

At this point I got curious about dialing the “concept_art” part down again, so I went into the Edit-genes area to see what I could discover.

Why hello, completely made-up face of a dude who has never existed!

I tried making him older, more masculine, more confused, and more sad. No wonder all my middle-aged friends are starting to look like this.

Taking off his glasses was just a matter of turning “Eyeglasses” down by -3. No wrestling with Photoshop to get this result, which is sort of a big deal.

Then I turned my attention to landscapes, which resulted in a similar process:

So. Artbreeder.com is pretty neat, and I’m pretty excited to see it evolve. If you want to try playing with the older version of this technology, you can visit http://ganbreeder.app. And hopefully soon the full release of this site will go live. Enjoy!