MILAN, Italy — A husband and wife team is using artificial intelligence to reimagine the characters of “Friends” — as babies! Luca and Anna Allievi recreated characters Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica, Joey, and Phoebe from the hit American sitcom to look like toddlers.
The couple started creating the images “for fun” while their one-year-old daughter, Celeste, was asleep. However, their hobby quickly took off on social media. Now, they’re creating realistic baby photos of everyone from politicians such as Donald Trump and Boris Johnson, to actors including Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt.
“It started as a game,” Luca, a bio-technologist, tells South West News Service in a statement. “Something we did for fun. To try something different. The images are really realistic.”
“Luca has a fantastic imagination,” adds Anna, who sells parts of machinery. “It’s something futuristic. It’s evolving so fast.”
Luca first tried to recreate puppies and cats as their favorite characters before doing the same with babies.
“We have our own cats and love animals so we tried to recreate cats as characters from sagas like Harry Potter,” Luca tells SWNS.
The creative couple use software Midjourney to input prompts and commands to create pictures by referencing billions of images online.
“The process is not time consuming. The long part it to think about what you want,” Anna says.
“You need to use the right words in the prompt. The order of the words is important. You have to describe the person and adjust the prompts as the software evolves. It’s evolving so fast,” Luca explains.
The pair created prompts – instructions for the software – for descriptions of the “Friends” cast to tell the AI program to recreate them as babies. Luca and Anna have been surprised by the reaction from their followers – with many loving their “Friends” recreations.
“It’s really fun to see the reaction,” Anna says.
Their commenters online are equally impressed with the couple’s efforts. One person wrote “They are all so cute,” while another posted “They are dead on. Absolutely adorable.”
The couple take requests from their fans and have used AI to imagine baby Disney villains, Harry Potter characters, and singers. Although Anna and Luca love the technology for their artwork, they recognize the dangers of experimenting with AI.
“Sometimes it’s scary and too specific,” Anna notes.
“It can be dangerous. Some people use it for fake news,” Luca says.
The couple still creating the designs and say their daughter is their latest fan.
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South West News Service writer Emma Dunn contributed to this report.