An Overview of Best Stable Diffusion Models

Stable Diffusion has exploded in popularity as one of the leading AI systems for generating images. With frequent new model releases and rapid evolution of capabilities, it can be difficult to keep up with the latest developments. This comprehensive guide explores the world of Stable Diffusion models – how we got here, where to find the newest models, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

The Evolution of Stable Diffusion Models

The original Stable Diffusion models were created by Stability AI starting with version 1.4 in August 2022. This initial release put high-quality image generation into the hands of ordinary users with consumer GPUs for the first time.

Over the next few months, Stability AI iterated rapidly, releasing updated versions 1.5, 2.0, and 2.1. Each version contained incremental improvements in image quality and training.

However, the biggest advancements have come from third-party users building custom models. By fine-tuning the base Stable Diffusion checkpoints, they have created models with far superior image generation capabilities.

Today, most creators use fine-tuned custom models rather than the original base models. They offer better image quality, faster training times, and innovations not found in the base versions.

Models come in two formats:

You can run models either locally on your own GPU or in the cloud using Google Colab notebooks.

Finding the Latest Model Releases

New Stable Diffusion models are released constantly, so it’s important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. Here are the best resources:

  • Civitai – Includes user-generated images that demonstrate each model’s capabilities. Useful for evaluating quality. Contains NSFW models.
  • Hugging Face – Comprehensive model search. Look up models by name and view training details. SFW.
  • Model Release Trackers – Active community members often compile lists of new models. Check Twitter, Reddit, and Discord for compilations.

The model ecosystem moves extremely fast. It’s not unusual for an exciting new model to appear and become widely used within the span of a few weeks. Stay on top of releases to leverage the latest capabilities.

Selecting the Right Model

With so many models available, it can be difficult to know which is best suited for your use case. Here are top models for different genres and styles:

Best Models for Photorealism

If you want to generate realistic images of people, objects, and scenes, these models offer cutting-edge capabilities:

CyberRealistic

  • Extremely versatile for different people, adjusting age, ethnicity, clothing, etc.
  • Particularly good with portraits of celebrities and public figures
  • Use lighting, camera, and photography terms in prompts
  • Pairs well with CyberRealistic Negative embedding
Examples of AI images generated with CyberRealistic model
Examples of AI images generated with CyberRealistic model

majicMIX Realistic

  • Specializes in beautiful female portraits
  • Unparalleled skin, hair, and lighting quality
  • Limited versatility, tends to generate similar facial features
Examples of AI images generated with majicMIX Realistic model
Examples of AI images generated with majicMIX Realistic model

Realistic Vision

  • Strong realism for both original characters and celebrities
  • More versatile than majicMIX in facial features
Examples of AI images generated with Realistic Vision model
Examples of AI images generated with Realistic Vision model

XXMix 9realistic

  • Photorealism combined with a soft, elegant style
  • Excels at anime-inspired semirealism
Examples of AI images generated with XXMix 9realistic model
Examples of AI images generated with XXMix 9realistic model

Best Models for Anime

For anime generation, Anime models originate from NovelAI’s NAI Diffusion model. They capture the aesthetic and art styles of Japanese animation:

Anything V5

  • Latest iteration of the popular Anything series based on NAI
  • Refined training process improves image quality
Examples of AI images generated with Anything V5 model
Examples of AI images generated with Anything V5 model

AbyssOrangeMix3 (AOM3)

  • Produces a gorgeous, artistic anime style
  • Complex prompts not required for quality outputs
Examples of AI images generated with AbyssOrangeMix3 model
Examples of AI images generated with AbyssOrangeMix3 model

Counterfeit

  • Created by GSDF using DreamBooth training plus other enhancements
  • Very high anime quality with detailed textures
  • MeinaMix is similar to Counterfeit with minor variations
Examples of AI images generated with Counterfeit model
Examples of AI images generated with Counterfeit model

Best Models for Digital Art

If you want to create illustrated art, concept art, or expansive digital scenes, these models excel:

Dreamshaper

  • Extremely versatile, wide range of illustration subjects
  • Strong with fantasy, sci-fi, characters, environments
  • Beginner-friendly, requires minimal prompting
Examples of AI images generated with Dreamshaper model
Examples of AI images generated with Dreamshaper model

NeverEnding Dream

  • Made to complement Dreamshaper’s capabilities
  • Specializes in fantasy landscapes and scenery
Examples of AI images generated with NeverEnding Dream model
Examples of AI images generated with NeverEnding Dream model

Deliberate

  • A classic model, produces excellent semirealism
  • Works well for portraits, full scenes, concept art
  • Jack-of-all-trades capability
Examples of AI images generated with Deliberate model
Examples of AI images generated with Deliberate model

Learn more about how checkpoint models power AI art generation and the training process behind Stable Diffusion.

Tips for Generating Stunning AI Images

Follow these tips to take your Stable Diffusion images to the next level:

  • Optimize Prompts – Well-crafted prompts are key for directing the AI. Use descriptive language, emotional tones, lighting, and perspective cues. Refer to prompt engineering guides to learn best practices.
  • Use LoRAs for Stylization – Blend in artistic styles like Disney, Pixar, or Hayao Miyazaki aesthetics using LoRAs. They act as an artistic filter.
  • Leverage Embeddings – Use negative embeddings to reduce artifacts and improve composition. Insert celebrity embeddings to elegantly add their likeness.
  • Fine-Tune for Specialization – Refine models on focused datasets like fashion photography to excel at niche outputs.
  • Combine Techniques – Use LoRAs, embeddings, and fine-tuning together for maximum impact.

With the right techniques and optimized prompts, you can direct Stable Diffusion to generate stunning, highly stylized portraits, landscapes, and more. Continued model innovation empowers creators to make AI artistry their own.

Check out our guide on mastering Stable Diffusion prompts to take your image generation to the next level.

The Future of Stable Diffusion Models

With researchers rapidly innovating training techniques and model architectures, Stable Diffusion’s capabilities continue to evolve. We can expect larger models, improvements in coherent image generation, higher resolution outputs, and specialized creative capabilities.

By learning the landscape of models, understanding the latest releases, and choosing the right model for your needs, you can stay at the forefront of AI-generated art.