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What is Stable Diffusion and how can you use it?

What is Stable Diffusion and how can you use it?

by: Koby Karp from DiffusionHub.io

December 30, 2023

Stable Diffusion (SD) is one of the most impressive AI models of 2023. It can create realistic images from text prompts or input images, using a technique called latent diffusion. It is open source, free to use, and can run on your own computer. In this article, we will explain what SD is, how you can use it, and why it is a game-changer for creative work.

SD is based on a paper by CompVis, Stability AI and LAION, which introduced a novel way of generating images using a variational autoencoder (VAE) and a diffusion process. A VAE is a type of neural network that can compress and decompress images into a lower-dimensional space, called the latent space. A diffusion process is a way of gradually adding noise to an image until it becomes random, and then reversing the process to recover the original image.

SD combines these two ideas to create images from text or images. First, it encodes the input into the latent space using the VAE. Then, it adds noise to the latent image until it becomes random. Next, it uses a text encoder to turn the text prompt into a vector that guides the image generation. Finally, it reverses the diffusion process, using the text vector as a condition, to create a new image that matches the text.

SD is not the first model to generate images from text. Earlier models such as Dall-e 2, Imagen, and Craiyon used a different technique called transformers, which are neural networks that can learn long-range dependencies between words and pixels. Transformers are very powerful, but they also require a lot of computational resources and data to train. SD is more efficient and flexible, as it can run on a single GPU and can be easily adapted to different domains and styles.


SD is a versatile tool that can help you with various creative tasks, such as concept art, logo design, photo editing, and more. You can use SD to generate images from scratch, or to modify existing images according to your preferences. You can also use SD to generate variations of the same image, or to mix different images together.

There are several ways to access SD and use it for your projects. You can download the code and the models from GitHub and run it on your own machine, if you have a compatible GPU. You can also use one of the many online platforms that offer SD as a service, such as DiffusionHub.io, CivitAI.com, or HuggingFace.com. These platforms provide user-friendly interfaces and additional features, such as image upscaling, face correction, or image segmentation.

One of the most interesting aspects of SD is that it allows for human-computer collaboration. You can use SD as a starting point for your ideas, and then refine them with your own skills and tools. You can also use SD as a feedback loop, by feeding the generated images back into the model with new or modified text prompts. This way, you can explore different possibilities and discover new combinations.

For example, you can start with a simple sketch of a scene, and then ask SD to turn it into a digital painting with a certain style and mood. You can then draw some details on the painting, such as a character or an object, and ask SD to integrate them into the scene. You can also change the text prompt to alter the lighting, the colors, or the perspective of the scene. By doing this, you can create a stunning artwork that combines your imagination and SD’s capabilities.


SD is not only a fun and useful tool, but also a groundbreaking innovation in AI image generation. It demonstrates that latent diffusion models can achieve comparable or even better results than transformer models, with less data and computation. It also shows that open source and community-driven projects can compete with or surpass the efforts of large corporations and research labs.

SD opens up new possibilities and challenges for the future of creative work. On the one hand, it can empower artists and designers to express their ideas more easily and efficiently, and to explore new domains and styles. On the other hand, it can also raise ethical and social issues, such as the ownership, authenticity, and quality of the generated images, and the potential misuse or abuse of the technology.

We are living in an exciting time, where AI image generation is becoming more accessible and powerful than ever. SD is a remarkable example of this trend, and we are curious to see how it will evolve and impact the world. If you want to learn more about SD, you can check out the original paper, the GitHub repo, or the online platforms mentioned above. Or you can just try it out for yourself, and see what amazing images you can create with SD.

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