100,000 free AI-generated headshots put stock photo companies on notice

It’s getting easier and easier to use AI to generate convincing-looking, yet entirely fake, pictures of people. Now, one company wants to find a use for these photos, by offering a resource of 100,000 AI-generated faces to anyone that can use them — royalty free. Many of the images look fake but others are difficult to distinguish from images licensed by stock photo companies.

The project’s Product Hunt page lists the team at Icons8, a designer marketplace for icons and photographs, as the creator of the project. The AI-produced images are intended to be used as design elements in anything from presentations to websites and mobile apps. Everything is free to use with link attribution back to generated.photos.

Over the course of the year, we’ve seen a number of AI projects generate fake AI faces, most notably ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com, a website capable of producing an infinite series of mostly-believable headshots. The faces found on generated.photos cover a variety of ages, shapes, and ethnicities, and they’re all consistently lit and consistently sized to make them useful for designers.

The project is currently in its early stages, and Icons8 product designer Konstantin Zhabinskiy notes that some of the faces might look a bit “off.” You can see some examples of this in the images above where the AI has produced a mangled hand and background in one image, and given another fake model a wound to their forehead. However, the team’s hope is to eventually produce a simple API that can easily generate new photographs based on a variety of inputs, allowing designers to quickly produce photorealistic images to illustrate their work without having to worry about copyright or model releases.

Zhabinskiy is keen to emphasize that the AI used to generate these images was trained using data shot in-house, rather than using stock media or scraping photographs from the internet. “Such an approach requires thousands of hours of labor, but in the end, it will certainly be worth it!” exclaims an Icons8 blog post. Ivan Braun, the founder of Icons8, says that in total the team took 29,000 pictures of 69 models over the course of three years which it used to train its algorithm.

There are valid concerns about technology that’s able to generate convincing-looking fakes like these at scale. This project is trying to create images that make life easier for designers, but the software could one day be used for all sorts of malicious activity.

Update September 20th, 1:00PM ET: Updated with additional details from Icons8 founder Ivan Braun about the amount of photos used to train the algorithm.


The photographic modelling, porn and, later, the video and cinema industries will progress or change soon.

Maybe. I still watch specific people, I at least believe to be real on youtube. Which is to say: We as humans, feel like we have a relationship with those we follow.

Though, one day, it wouldn’t surprise me, if we found out, that some celebrity wasn’t actually real.

We’re half way there, with the "on instagram vs reality" memes. That people are already pretty augmented.

It seems to have difficulties with eyes, ears and teeth! Would be suitable for small stock imagery replacement, but a way to go until it’s useful for advertisements, tv, or anything mass market just yet

So I take it you try to avoid watching old tv shows and films, and most definitely any historical texts, classical art, family photos, etc. Frankly, I am shocked you’re able to internet with so many triggers just a click away.

I don’t think you understand what StateBiscuit meant.

My, isn’t
this a handsome bunch of people. I think I need new, more attractive friends.

"More human than human" that is our motto.

Stock photography is boring as hell anyway, not that the AI did a great job.

Also check this simple API that I made https://100k-faces.glitch.me/

I find the weird machine learning look to these kinds of images so off-putting. The weird warping and mangling is like a bad acid trip.

https://thispersondoesnotexist.com/ is a great site to see how far AI generated faces have become, it’s crazy

Impressive but not quite there yet, you’d have to be incredibly cheap (or have poor eyesight) to choose these as something to represent your brand/product.

I could easily see some crap sidebar ad using a face from one of these pasted onto some ill-matching body holding a tub of foot cream.


What proof do we have that these don’t match anyone?

What if they did? You have no rights over something that happens to look like you.

Is it me or do of the eyelids look off?

How about an algorithm that will predict your ideal(s) of beauty by having you rank a bunch of faces on a scale of 1 to 10 or thereabouts? This way you can have a never-ending stream of faces that you find most attractive. Someone must have already done it, since whenever I have a good idea, I find that 10,000 other people had already thought of it.

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