Creating characters in Midjourney can be a lot of fun, but it can also be a challenging and frustrating experience trying to come up with a unique and interesting character that fits the vision of what you want it to look like.
It’s no secret that Midjourney is an amazing tool capable of creating incredible images. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that those incredible images you’ve seen online are not as easy to create as they look. It takes a lot of patience, practice, and good prompting skills to create the character that you envisioned.
In this article, we are going to go over a few prompting techniques for creating different types of characters in Midjourney, as well as give you a few extra tips to help you create that will bring your unique character to life.
Before you get to creating a visual image for your character, it’s a good idea to sit down and think about your character’s origin story if you are planning to use your character for a specific purpose.
Having a clear idea of your character’s ‘raison d’être’, and how the character fits into his/her world, will go a long way to helping you develop a far better prompt description when you actually sit down with Midjourney to create your character.
Here are a few character development Pro Tips:
Give them a backstory:
A character’s backstory can help explain their motivations and how they came to be who they are. Think about their upbringing, experiences, and relationships.
Choose a personality:
Think about what personality traits your character will have. Are they impulsive or cautious? Outgoing or introverted? Confident or Insecure? Optimistic or pessimistic? Consider how their personality will affect their demeanor, actions and physical appearance.
A character’s appearance can say a lot about their personality and backstory. It’s not just about describing the clothes they are wearing. Think about their age, gender, race, and any unique features or ‘accessories’ they might have, like tattoos, special jewellery, a costume, armor or a weapon. How do they present themselves to the world?
Goals and Desires:
Every character should have a goal or desire that drives them. It could be something as simple as finding love or as complex as saving the world.
Strengths and Skills:
Every character should have something they’re good at, whether it’s a physical skill like fighting, or a mental skill like problem-solving.
Flaws and Weaknesses:
No character is perfect. Flaws and weaknesses can make them more relatable and interesting. Even Superman has his Kryptonite!
Just to be clear, these character development tips are not prompts. These tips are just to get you into the mindset of generating a character that has some depth. Injecting a little humanity into your character, some personality or features that are relatable, if you are planning on using your character for a specific purpose, will make for a far better connection with your audience.
If you are just doing this for fun and playing around to see what you can come up with, the character development is not essential.
If you want to create consistent characters with multiple expressions and actions, see this Guide to Creating Consistent Characters in Midjourney. To put the characters into scenes, see this Guide to Creating Characters in Midjourney for Children’s books for inspiration.
Creating A Character With Midjourney
Okay so now that you have a clear vision of your character – how do you make that vision a reality and get Midjourney to render your character as you’ve envisioned it?
No matter what kind of character you want to create, the easiest way to go about it is to break it down into categories that Midjourney will use as a guide to generating your image.
1. Art Type
Art type keywords are essential in defining the type of art you want such as “anime”, “comic book character”, “fantasy”, “3-D” etc. This will dictate the overall look of your character.
2. Image Details
This is where you need to get creative and describe, in detail, how you want your character to look. The more information you input, the closer your rendered character will be to your vision. Here are a few things to take into consideration:
Appearance – This includes everything from the clothes they are wearing, the color and style of their hair to the expression on their face and the positioning of their body.
Set the Scene – Do you want anything in the background? Where is your character – In a forest, or standing on top of a skyscraper?
Angle – Describe from which angle your character is being seen. You can use prompts like “from below” or “from above” if you want to be looking up at or down on the character. “long shot” is a commonly used prompt if you want to get an image that shows the entire body, but it doesn’t always work.
If you want a full body shot of your character, be sure to add an appearance description that describes the shoes they are wearing which will ensure you get an image of the entire character. “Medium Shot” will give you an image of the character from about the waist up.
3. Image Styles
You can use the names of popular video games and shows to influence the particular style of the character. You can also add art media and visual prompts like “pencil sketch,”, “layered cut paper“, “digital art,” “3-D rendering,” or “hyper-realistic.” The style will really be dictated by the type of character you’re creating and what you’re creating it for.
We’ll get into more details for style prompts for different art styles, a little further down.
4. Image Ratio
You can add the image ratio in Midjourney using the tag “–ar” and then the image ratio. For example, “–ar 2:3”, “–ar 16:9”, “–ar 3:2”, etc. The image ratio refers to the width-to-height ratio of your image. You don’t have to use an image ratio, unless you want the image something other than square, as that’s the Midjourney default image ratio if you don’t specify.
5. The Midjourney Version You Want To Use
Midjourney Version 5 was released on March 15th (and they have been updating it since), and among its new features, the most impressive of which is how crazy realistic you can get images to look like real photographs.
So while Midjourney 5 may get better results for Pixar and realistic Fantasy characters, if you are going for more of an illustrated comic book superhero character, you may find version 4 works better for you. And If you want an anime character, you definitely need to check out the niji version.
To specify a different version of Midjourney, you can add the version of Midjourney you want to use, like “–v 4,” “v–5” or “—niji” to the end of your prompts. (We’ll explain “–niji” a little further down.)
Depending on what kind of character you are trying to create, you may want to experiment with the same prompt using different versions to see how they compare.
Midjourney has a ‘chaos’ setting that can be interesting to play around with. It’s measured on a scale of 1-100 and it changes how varied the results will be within the four images it renders. Higher values produce more unusual and unexpected generations.
Midjourney’s chaos default is zero, so if you want it to stick with the script and you have something very specific in mind, you don’t have to do anything. But the chaos setting is great if you have a general idea of what you’re looking for, but you’re open to a little interpretation and you are curious to see what it comes up with. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results.
You can add the chaos parameter as “—c 85,” for example if you are looking for a wider variety of results.
Super Secret Prompting Tip for cool effects: try adding “—stylize 1000” together with “—c 85” and see what happens.
Tips and Prompts For Different Character Styles in Midjourney
Now that you have an idea of who your character is and how you want it to look, we are going to have a look at some specific prompts for different types of art styles for creating characters that you can add, over and above your descriptive and other prompts in the categories above.
You may have noticed that we’d mentioned above, among the versions of Midjourney you can play around with, there’s a model called –niji.
The niji model is a collaboration between Midjourney and Spellbrush specifically developed to produce anime and illustrative styles. The –niji model has a much more vast knowledge of anime, anime styles, and anime aesthetics. It’s excellent at dynamic and action shots and character-focused compositions in general.
So if you are looking to create an anime character, using the “–niji” prompt is likely to get you better results. You may also want to try the same prompts in Version 4. While the newest version 5 of Midjourney is fantastic for life-like photorealistic images, Version 4 is often better for anime characters. So play around with both the niji model and version 4 with the same prompts to see which resulting images you like the best.
Here’s the same prompt in v4, with “anime”, but no –niji:
The /settings option in Midjourney discord is your friend, you can see several options that can allow you to tweak your image output in various ways.
There are lots of Anime styles out there – from cutesy to sci-fi to dark. Some styles are more cartoonish while others look more like digital art.
In order to narrow down the results you get to the style of anime character you want to create, you can add one of the following to your prompt:
1. Use the name of an anime style
- Chibi style
- Gakuen style
- Jidaimono anime style
Super Secret Prompting Tips: Try these next two prompts (separately)
- Yugioh Card Design (make sure your aspect ratio is set to a horizontal format to avoid your image looking like it’s on an actual card, or use the negative prompt of “no– frame, text”) note: the “no” command is finicky
- Yugioh Monster Design (this prompt takes it up one scary, but epic notch – definitely worth giving this one a try!)
2. Use an anime character name or anime series title, like in the style of:
- Sailor Moon
- Dragonball Z
3. Use the name of an anime production house
- Kyoto Anime Studio
- Tatsunoko Production Studio
- Studio Ghibli
- Toei Animation Studio
4. Use the name of a particular Anime artist – this is also a great way to get an image rendered in a particular style. Here are some of the most popular anime artists:
- Hayao Miyazaki: The co-founder of Studio Ghibli, known for creating beloved anime films such as Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, and Princess Mononoke.
- Akira Toriyama: The creator of the Dragon Ball franchise, which includes the popular anime series Dragon Ball and Dragon Ball Z, as well as several movies and video games.
- Rumiko Takahashi: The creator of popular manga and anime series such as Ranma 1/2, Inuyasha, and Urusei Yatsura.
- CLAMP: A group of female manga artists known for creating a diverse range of series with strong female protagonists, such as Cardcaptor Sakura, Chobits, and Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle.
- Eiichiro Oda: The creator of the popular manga and anime series One Piece, which has been running since 1997 and has sold over 470 million copies worldwide.
- Hiromu Arakawa: The creator of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and anime series, which has won numerous awards and has been adapted into video games and a live-action film.
- Masashi Kishimoto: The creator of the Naruto manga and anime series, which has become one of the best-selling manga series of all time, with over 250 million copies sold worldwide.
- Osamu Tezuka: Considered the “godfather of manga,” Tezuka was a prolific manga artist and animator who created iconic series such as Astro Boy, Kimba the White Lion, and Black Jack.
- Naoko Takeuchi: The creator of the Sailor Moon manga and anime series, which has been credited with popularizing the magical girl genre in anime and manga.
- Yoshihiro Togashi: The creator of the manga series Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter, both of which have been adapted into popular anime series.
These are just some of the anime character, artist and style names. If you’re looking for more, be sure to check out Andrei Kovalev’s MidLibrary anime list with images for even more inspiration!
Pixar and Disney-Style Characters
If you are looking to create a more 3-dimensional character in the style of Pixar or Dreamworks animation, like the characters you may have seen in animated movies, such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Shreck or Kung Fu Panda, we have a list of prompts you can try.
- Pixar style
- Disney character
- 3D animation
- pixar movie style
- pixar inspired
- ultra detailed
- intricate details
- Shot on IMAX 70mm
- octane render
- cinematic lighting
Fantasy art is a genre of art that depicts magical, mystical, and fantastical elements and creatures that don’t exist in the real world. It often features imaginative and otherworldly landscapes, mythical creatures, and characters with supernatural powers, such as wizards, witches, dragons, and unicorns.
Fantasy art can be traced back to ancient myths and legends and has been popularized in modern times through various media, including books, movies, video games, and graphic novels. While it is often associated with epic storytelling and adventure, and many of the characters and themes in fantasy art are inspired by medieval folklore, mythology, and fairy tales, there are also branches of science fiction fantasy art that are very popular.
The style of fantasy art can vary greatly depending on the artist’s individual style and preferences. Some fantasy art may be highly detailed and realistic, while others may be more stylized and whimsical.
When the limits of the characters are not bound by earthly restrictions, it’s no wonder fantasy characters are so popular.
One of the most popular types of fantasy characters right now is hyper-realistic-looking characters that you’d be more likely to see in a movie, like Avatar or Lord of the Rings, than in a painting or storybook art.
If you are looking to create an image of a true-to-life fantasy character, you are going to want to approach this a little differently. While the initial tips at the beginning of the article as to the character development and description, as well as the prompt ideas below still apply, you might also want to try adding prompts you would use to create a photo realistic image.
Be sure to check out our articles:
- How To Create Photorealistic Images With Midjourney – A Prompt Guide &
- A Midjourney Guide To Creating Realistic Photo Portraits.
Here are some prompt ideas for fantasy art characters:
- intricate details
- octane render
- cinematic lighting
- unreal engine
Special Secret prompt – “fortnite loading screen style” this prompt will add in a few extra special features to your character scene that you really must try.
Comic Book Characters
Much like with anime art, you can use prompts to reference the style of comic characters you are looking for by using the name of a specific comic, a comic book publisher or “in the style of” a specific comic book character. Here are some of the most popular comic book publishing companies and some of the comics they’ve published for your prompting inspiration.
- Marvel comics – publisher of Spider-Man, The Hulk, Black Panther, the X-Men, Captain America
- DC comics – publisher of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern
- Image Comics – publisher of Spawn, Savage Dragon, The Walking Dead, Saga, The Maxx
- Dark Horse – publisher of Sin City, Hellboy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
***Character Design Sheet
Once you have your character, you can create a character concept design sheet to show the character at different angles with a prompt like “multiple concept designs,” or “concept design sheet.” This works equally well with anime and comic book characters.
Remixing (a.k.a. Editing Your Midjourney Image)
If your first try didn’t quite turn out like quite you wanted, you can either ask for more variations of the same prompt, or try it again with a completely new prompt.
But if you got an image that is along the lines of what you’re looking for that just needs a little fine-tuning and some touch-ups, you can select that image and remix it.
You’ll want to make sure the remix feature is turned on by typing in /settings and choosing “remix mode” from the options that pop up. This is so the variation buttons no longer just create variations of your image, but it will allow you to edit the prompt as well.
Once Midjourney has created the four initial images from your original prompt, you can choose your favorite image of the four and you can edit and fine-tune your prompt.
If you have an image that you really like that just needs a few touch-ups, try not to change the core descriptive prompt, otherwise, it confuses Midjourney and you will get different images from the one you chose to edit.
For example, if you have prompted: “an anime princess in future tech armor, long black hair, intricate detail –c 50 –niji 5” and you’ve chosen one of the images you like to remix it, add anything extra before or after ‘an anime princess in future tech armor.’ Keep the initial core wording of your description the same if you want it not to stray too far from the previous image.
What’s great about Midjourney is that you don’t have to “stick to your genre.” You can mix and match prompts from different character styles (as long as they are not conflicting with each other) to create something totally unique. This flexibility allows you to create the character that truly reflects your creative vision, and push the boundaries of traditional character design.
So, don’t be afraid to experiment and see what you can create!