DIY-ing AI TikTok Trends

There has been a recent trend on TikTok where users are turning themselves into PlayStation 2 characters through AI. As a nostalgic PS2 lover, I was instantly drawn to this trend and started to do some light research to figure out how these people were creating these graphics. Turns out, many were submitting their photos to a website and paying money for them to be rendered in a PS2 graphics style. Below are some screenshots from TikTok showcasing the trend and the means of production:

With comments and questions about security, I was very cautious about using this site so I decided to DIY-it myself through MidJourney. Before I put in my own characteristics I wanted to test the process with a celebrity whose image is prolific across the internet: Taylor Swift. This way, I could gauge how well MidJourney can complete this task from an already well known figure. For my first prompt I kept it pretty simple to see how much MidJourney could follow and understand from my directions.

As you can see, this simple prompt is going in the right direction but the graphics are clearly very modern and not close to the authentic PlayStation 2 graphic look I was going for so I decided to add much more detail to the prompt and try again.

With my second prompt I decided to swap in Metal Gear Solid 2 as the graphics reference to move away from horror to get a more clear image of PS2 graphics. I also added words like retro and early 90’s to push the model to understand I wanted less modern graphics (yes I am aware the PS2 came out in 2000 along with Metal Gear Solid 2). With these descriptive additions, the images are much closer to the general look I am going for. I was especially happy with the top left even though it looked more like a remaster of a Metal Gear Solid Game. I was also a fan of the bottom right image simply for its similarity to the stylization of a Final Fantasy Game.

With these new images, I decided to create a variation of my favorite image, the top left.

Overall, I was really happy with these variations as they had the style features I was looking for: blocky graphics, structured hair pieces, 3D model look and a bit blurry in places. Out of these variations I chose to upscale the bottom right as my overall favorite. Here it is in higher quality

From there I wanted to experiment more so I tested out another game title I love, Resident Evil. These variations were especially successful in creating a retro video game graphic look in the images. Below are the prompts I used and the outputs.

Here I added even more descriptors like: sharp lines,3D model and Resident Evil 4 graphics. This resulted in some more authentically retro looking images. From there I created a set of variations from the 3rd image as seen below:

From this set of variations I chose the top left and bottom right as my favorites to upscale and save.

With a couple of prompts set up to give me the desired look I was going for, I then put in my own characteristics into the prompt like long dark hair, dark eyes etc. And here is my result!

It’s not perfect, but overall this was a fun experiment to see how I could problem solve and get around the issue of a dodgy website by using my own prompts and production. Feel free to try out these prompts with your own characteristics to see yourself in some video game graphics.

Alli Keeler

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