Sunday, December 11, 2022

PSA: Warning About AI Avatars (i.e. Hire Your Own Artist!)

PSA: Warning About AI Avatars (i.e. Hire Your Own Artist!)
This last week I've noticed a HUGE uptick in folks, in and out of the gaming community, showing off Lensa AI avatars. I get it, this thing is right up our collective alley in that we can use appropriate(?) fantasy avatars to represent us as our characters. PC sheets, online games, maybe even console RPGS.....honestly I almost went through the process of getting my own set of avatars....almost.

Since I didn't know exactly where these avatars came from I had to do a little searching, and I quickly found out that maybe I shouldn't be buying into this craze and I'm going to use this platform to suggest that your shouldn't either.

While the idea of some cheap AI-created avatars is cool, the execution clearly needs a little work. Evidently the program has been grabbing artists' work from a non-profit database (LAION) and, well....passing it off as it's own. The evidence is technically sketchy, but it's there......as in a lot of the art pilfered still has a muddled "sketches" of the original artist's signatures:

Artists' Signatures

That quickly made this a no-go for me.

Now instead of just taking a dump on the fun for everyone, I think we...as a community, could do better, and frankly get better to boot.

It's been a hot minute since I had any avatars created for me, but I highly recommend reaching out to some artists on Fiverr. Sure, it's not $3.99 for 50 avatars (and a 7 day free trial), BUT for $5 you can support and actual artist, and this is where the $5 per vs. 8¢ per differential makes a difference is that you can specify what your background, look, etc. will be and then get what you want.

So...how many bb spins of the random AI wheel would you need to take to get that avatar of you as a monk with a pair of kamas? I'd be willing to bet more than 62!

I've gotten some good use out of Fiverr and if I need a new avatar I generally use them to get the base pic I use/tweak in Photoshop.


  1. Really sad news, thank you for trying to turn this mess to something positive. :-(

  2. Well said. Forty years ago I supported--let's call them 1E avatars--by paying Darlene and Larry Elmore to paint me and my wife respectively in fantasy settings. The bonus is that they are oil paintings we still proudly display. Support humans!

  3. Christopher, what parameters on Fiverr would you ask for, assuming we're starting new with no account from their home page?

    1. You can do a simple search. By default (assuming the terms haven't changed) you own the full rights to the gigs you hire out on. For example I found a guy doing Simpsons' style avatars and he did mine for $5. Same with a different guy doing South Park style and a few others just doing whatever.....

  4. I assume this happened on Twitter? The article doesn’t say.


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