How To Create A Virtual Influencer (2024): Step-by-Step Guide To Building the Next Big Star

Influencer marketing can burn a hole in your budget. What if you could build an engaging virtual influencer for your brand, for free? Wondering how? This guide will show you exactly how! 

In this article, we will show you How to Create a Virtual Influencer. We’ll break down what virtual influencers are, and their benefits, and then walk you through a step-by-step process to creating your AI influencer. We’ll also discuss the most popular AI influencers in 2024. 

So, are you ready to discover the potential of AI influencers and create one for yourself? With no more delay, let’s dive right in. 

What is a Virtual Influencer?

Virtual influencers are computer-generated personalities that have acquired celebrity status on the internet. But they don’t actually exist in the real world. They gain popularity with their social media presence, engaging content, and lifelike interactions with their audience. 

What is a Virtual Influencer

Virtual influencers are created using AI technology and machine learning algorithms. Their personalities and appearances are created using AI tools, and their creators completely control them. This can be individual creators, agencies, or brands. 

Creating an AI influencer is pretty easy. It entirely depends on your creativity and the prompts you supply. You can create AI influencers within any industry, including fitness, gaming, sports, beauty, travel, food, technology, etc. Keep reading to learn how! 

How to Create an AI Influencer for Free?

There are several software and tools available for creating virtual influencers. We will use the Fooocus tool to create our AI Influencer. It’s a free and open-source image generator that can be used with Google Colab. 

The ability of this tool to generate a variety of images with facial consistency and copy other models makes it stand out! Follow the below steps to create your AI influencer. For the demonstration, I’m going to create a virtual fitness influencer with Fooocus for Instagram. 

1. Getting Started with Fooocus

To start working with Fooocus, we will have to copy Fooocus to our Google Drive and execute it.

  • First of all, open Fooocus Colab on your web browser. 
  • Or you can use DeFooocus Colab or download Fooocus in your Windows system.
  • Now, click on the Copy to Drive option to copy the code to your Drive account. Once the code is copied to Drive, the copied file will be automatically opened on your browser. 
Fooocus Colab - Copy to Drive
  • Next, click the Connect button to connect to a new runtime. 
Fooocus Colab - Connect button
  • Once connected, click on the Execute button as shown in the image below. 
Fooocus Colab - Execute button
  • Now, wait for the program to start. After the app has started, you will see a link as shown in the image below. Click on this link to start using the Fooocus app.
Link to Use Fooocus Colab

2. Adjusting the Settings

Now you can enter your prompt to generate AI images with Fooocus. But before that, we will have to change some settings to generate our desired results. Let’s check out the settings you should configure before generating images of your AI influencer. 

  • First of all, check the Advanced tab to load the Settings. Without enabling the Advanced settings, the interface only displays the option to enter your prompt.
Advanced-Settings-tab-Fooocus-Colab

  • Next, click on the Settings tab. Under the Performance pane, you will see the following options- Quality, Speed, Extreme Speed, and Lightning.
  • As we want to create an AI influencer, our focus should be on quality than the speed of image generation. So, we will select Quality from the given options.
Quality Settings - Fooocus Colab

  • Now, set the Aspect Ratio to 1024 x 1024 (1:1) as this is the aspect ratio that is supported by Instagram. If you wish to create images for any other social media platform, choose an appropriate aspect ratio from their list. 
Output Settings - Fooocus Colab

  • Next, select the number of output images. By default, it is set to 2 images. For the demonstration, I’ll keep it the same. You can alter it on a slider bar if you want. 
  • Under Output formats, you will see 3 options:
    • PNG (Best for image quality.)
    • JPEG (Best for sharing and low file size.)
    • WEBP­ (Best for uploading images over the internet.)

We will select PNG as Output Format to have the best image quality. 

  • Uncheck the Random option to avoid any random outcomes. 
Output Settings - Fooocus Colab

  • Finally, under the Negative Prompt, enter prompts for the elements you wish to remove from the image. 
  • Head over to the Style tab now. By default, the Fooocus V2, Fooocus Enhance, and Fooocus Sharp options will be checked. Leave them unchanged. 

  • You will see a range of other style options you can select to implement different effects in your image. For instance, select SAI Anime to give an anime-like style to your influencer. 
  • Next, head over to the Advanced tab. Move the Guidance Scale slider to the right to get a cleaner image. Else move the slider to the left. 
Guidance Scale - Fooocus Colab

  • To get sharper images, slide the Image Sharpness slider to the right. 
Image Sharpness settings - Fooocus Colab

Finally, we are done tweaking all the settings. Now, we can generate images of our virtual influencer. 

3. Generating the Image of Your AI Influencer

The kind of image generated depends entirely on the prompt you enter. Thus, it’s important to be specific when entering your prompt. 

  • First, we will enter our prompt in the prompt field. As we are trying to generate a fitness AI influencer, we will enter a prompt that’s aligned with our theme, like 

“An Indian guy with a light skin tone. Good-looking face, good-looking eyes, good hairstyle. He should look like a fitness model lifting weights in the gym.” 

You can also use a prompt of your own or tweak this prompt as per your requirements. 

Writing image prompt - Fooocus Colab

  • Once you have entered the prompt, click on the Generate button. The AI tool will now generate images.
  • You will see two output images as we have set the output images to 2 by default. 
  • Download these images by clicking on the generated images one by one. 
AI Influencer image - Fooocus Colab

4. Generating More Images of Your AI Influencer

AI Influencers, just like real influencers, need to post on social media platforms actively to maintain their digital persona. For this, you’ll need their images in different settings and facial expressions with the same face. Follow the steps below to generate more images of your influencer. 

  • Check the Input Image checkbox below the prompt field. 
Inserting input image - Fooocus Colab

  • After this, select the Image Prompt tab and check the Advanced option. 
Advanced Image Prompt Settings - Fooocus Colab
  • Hit the Click to Upload option or drag and drop the image of your influencer on the interface. After uploading the photo, select the FaceSwap option.
FaceSwap option - Fooocus Colab
  • Now, customize the prompt according to the post you want to create. For instance, if we want to show our influencer swimming in a pool, we can tweak the prompt like this – 

“An Indian guy with a light skin tone. Good-looking face, good-looking eyes, good hairstyle. Show him swimming in a pool.”

  • Once you enter the prompt, click the Generate button beside the prompt field. It will produce a captivating image of our influencer swimming in a pool with consistent facial features.
AI Influencer in Swimming Pool

This is how you can generate images of your AI influencer in any setting by making simple edits to the prompt. 

5. Customizing the Images of your AI Influencer

The images generated by the AI may need subtle changes at times. For instance, you may want to change the model’s emotions, and facial expressions, change the background, add or remove certain elements, etc. The following steps depict how to make these changes to our AI images.  

Upscale or Add Variation to the Image

If you wish to add a specific emotion or enhance the quality of your image, you can follow the below steps. 

  • First of all, check the Input Image option under the prompt field. 
  • Then, hit the Upscale or Variation tab and upload the image of your AI influencer that you wish to edit. 
Image upscale settings - Fooocus Colab

  • To upscale the image, select the Upscale (2x) option and click on Generate. It will enhance your image to twice the original quality. The upscaled image will look something like this.
AI Influencer - Upscaled Image
  • Now, if you wish to assign an emotion to your AI influencers, upload the photo and select the Vary (Subtle) option. 
Upscale or variation settings - Fooocus Colab

Now make changes to the prompt. For instance, if we want a smiling face, we can add the keyword “Smiling” at the end of our prompt and click on the Generate button. This is the output image. 

AI Influencer - smiling face

Extend Image

If you want to extend a specific portion of your image, you can follow the below steps. 

  • Click on the Inpaint or Outpaint tab and drag and drop your image to this section. 
Inpaint or Outpaint settings - Fooocus Colab
  • Click on the drop-down menu under the Method section and select Inpaint or Outpaint (default).
  • Under the Outpaint Direction, select the direction in which you want to extend your image. We wanted our image to be extended from left and right, so we checked the Left and Right options. 
Outpaint Direction and Method - Fooocus Colab
  • Next, click on the Generate button. It will extend your image as below. 
AI influencer extended image

Add/Remove Objects

Fooocus allows you to insert or remove any objects from your AI influencer’s image. For instance, if we want our AI influencer to wear sunglasses, we will follow the steps given below. 

  • Click on the Inpaint or Outpaint tab. Drag and drop or upload the image of your AI influencer on the dashboard. 
Inpaint Prompt and Method - Fooocus Colab
  • Under the Method section, select Modify Content (add objects, change background, etc) from the drop-down.
  • Under the Inpaint Additional Prompt, type Sunglasses.
Adding sunglasses to AI influencer image
  • Now, draw over the eyes of the influencer like we did in the image above. Finally, hit the Generate button. The AI will produce the image of your influencer wearing sunglasses!
AI Influencer wearing sunglasses

Replace Background

Want to replace your AI influencer’s background with something else? Fooocus offers its PyraCanny feature to make that possible. This tool transfers the structure of one image to another. 

For this, you simply have to upload another photo with a person. The AI will swap their face with your AI influencer and restructure your image accordingly. Let’s see how to do that. 

  • Click on the Image Prompt tab and upload your AI influencer’s image. 
  • Then select the FaceSwap option under the influencer’s image. 
  • Now, in the space right next to your influencer’s image, upload the image of the person whose background you want for your image. Then, select PyraCanny.
PyraCanny and FaceSwap - Fooocus Colab

  • Finally, hit the Generate button. This is the final outcome.
Ai Influencer Pyracanny

Lil Miquela

Lil Miquela

Lil Miquela is a 21-year-old AI-generated Instagram influencer living in Los Angeles. She has over 2.5 million followers on Instagram. Her top achievements include being one of Time Magazine’s “25 Most Influential People on the Internet.” 

Lu Do Magalu

Lu Do Magalu

Lu Do Magalu (or Lu of Magalu) is a Brazilian AI influencer. created in 2003 as a virtual shopping assistant, Lu became one of the widely followed virtual influencers, with 6.9 million followers on Instagram. 

Shudu

Shudu

Shudu is the world’s first digital supermodel created by Cameron-James Wilson. She is a representation of the princess of South Africa. With her enrapturing photos, she has garnered over 240k followers on Instagram. 

Aitana Lopez

Aitana Lopez

Aitana Lopez is a 25-year-old Spanish AI influencer who is into fitness and gaming. She frequently posts alluring pictures showcasing her fit body and bubblegum-colored hair! Her Instagram has crossed 319k followers and is consistently growing. 

Challenges Faced While Creating AI Influencers

Though the above guide will make the process of creating digital influencers quite easy, here are a few challenges you could experience with the Fooocus tool. 

1. Prompt Precision

Your AI-generated influencer is only as good as your crafted prompt. You need to be specific about the type of image you want. We could not generate the desired results and got our perfect AI influencer image after many tries. 

2. Disconnection Error

While generating images with Fooocus, it kept on showing the disconnection error. To fix this, we had to repeatedly switch back to the Fooocus Colab file and execute the program whenever we spotted this error. 

3. Cannot Generate Videos

Fooocus can craft compelling images and let you customize them to your liking. However, generating videos is not supported on this platform. For creating videos, you need to learn VFX, and video editing, and also know how to use tools like After Effects and Premiere Pro.

4. Slow Generation

The image generation process is slow and may take 2-3 minutes to generate a single image! This makes experimenting with different settings quite time-consuming. 

Benefits of Creating AI Influencers

Well, AI influencers may not exist in the real world, but their impact is very much real. Today, when the world is shifting to social media, it’s getting increasingly difficult to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not! 

Creating a Virtual Influencer can have a tonne of benefits for you and your brand. Let’s discuss the major ones below. 

Benefits of Virtual Influencers

Cost Effective

Influencers usually need to spend hefty sums of money on traveling the world and purchasing expensive equipment. 

But with AI influencers, they can cut down the cost and establish their social presence at a fraction of the cost! You also don’t need to spend money to hire other influencers to increase your reach, either. 

Increase Social Followers

So many of us hesitate to confidently express ourselves on social media. But with AI influencers, you can garner a substantial social media following even if you don’t like showing your face. 

Get Sponsorships

With virtual influencers, you can get sponsorships, initiate partnerships, and earn money for posting content or promoting your sponsors. 

Easy and Time Saving

Virtual influencers are easy to build and operate. Creating multiple posts with AI influencers is comparatively easy and requires less time because you simply need to enter a few prompts. 

Effortless Production

While working with virtual influencers, you don’t need to think about camera angles, lighting, and editing. These are key elements while posting videos and photos on social media platforms. But you can simply modify your prompt to customize your virtual influencers to your liking. 

Conclusion

I hope this complete guide helped you understand how to create a virtual influencer. The Fooocus tool is completely free to use. So, you can use it to generate any kind of image for your influencers. Your creativity and imagination are your only limits with this free tool!

Have you created a virtual influencer or AI model before? Which tool did you use? Did you receive any good results? Let me know in the comments section. And if you’re interested in the field of AI, you can subscribe to my newsletter to receive the trending AI news and free AI tools every week!

Anyway, this is Kripesh, taking your leave. I’ll be back with more informative posts. Till then, take care and keep learning. Cheers! 🙂

FAQs

How are virtual influencers created?

Virtual influences are created using artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms, and advanced CGI. They are designed to have human-like behavior and features to resonate with the target audience. 

Who controls virtual influencers?

AI influencers are controlled by their creators. They can be individuals, agencies, brands, etc. 

How do virtual influencers make money?

Just like human influencers, virtual influencers make money in multiple ways. This includes brand collaborations, affiliate marketing, brand ambassadorship, brand partnerships, content licensing, etc. 

How much does it cost to create a virtual influencer?

You can create them free of cost. But to extend their interaction, animation, and functionality, you need advanced AI capabilities. The cost can range from $10k to $50k/month.

Who is the highest-paid virtual influencer?

Lu Do Magalu is the highest-paid AI influencer, earning up to £26,700 from every sponsored Instagram post. 

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Kripesh Adwani

Kripesh Adwani is a digital tool expert who buys, tests, and reviews SAAS tools for small businesses. Based on 10+ years of experience in tech he provides insightful reviews. His content is widely consumed, serving millions of users each month. Kripesh has also been featured in more than 50 publications, including The Economic Times, The Free Press Journal & Cloudways.

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