I have been experimenting with AI drawing tools since 2019. I really got going in 2022, after Stable Diffusion came out.

That being said, I love Stable Diffusion because I’ve experimented with it a lot.

But after I dived into it, Halfway through the journey This year I’ve been learning the ropes and finding that it offers much more aesthetic flexibility and control than comparable tools like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT’s DALL·E 3.

Nasty Real However, to get the most out of Midjourney, you need to master the style system.

This implies 1) formatting your prompts correctly, and 2) using “style reference codes” to target specific unique aesthetics. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the basics of both elements so you can create your own Midjourney masterpieces.


What is Midjourney?

Midjourney is an AI image generation tool that uses machine learning techniques, including large language models and diffusion models, to convert textual “cues” into images.

The language model aspect helps Midjourney interpret instructions, while diffusion models are responsible for gradually refining these instructions into coherent images.

A web platform is in development, but currently Midjourney operates primarily through Discord, where users can enter text messages into the server to generate high-quality images without the need for specialist knowledge or software..

Unlike competitors like DALL-E, which is backed by significant funding from major companies like Microsoft, Midjourney is self-funded and has not received any external funding to date..


Getting started with Midjourney

To use Midjourney, you need to do the following:

1) Join the Midjourney Discord

Create a Discord account or log into a Discord account and Join the Midjourney server.

2) Subscribe

Choose a plan to start generating images. The basic plan starts at $10 per month.

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3) Input prompts

Navigate to one of the prompting rooms in the Midjourney Discord server, then use text prompts in the message field to generate images. It typically takes ~1 minute to generate 4 images.

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How to navigate the middle of the journey

Midjourney offers tremendous aesthetic versatility through style reference codes (sref).

There are +4.2 billion sref codes, and each one is associated with a unique aesthetic. You can even combine sref codes to to blend aesthetics. For example, types ––sref 1000 1001 asks Midjourney to add styles 1000 and 1001 together when generating images.

The name of the game, then, is finding and using good sref codes to achieve consistent, high-quality output with the aesthetics you love. Pay special attention to how these codes fit into the example prompts below.

Understanding prompts

The image above is an output I made with Midjourney. The prompt I entered in Discord to make this image looked like this:

This prompt may seem a little confusing at first, so I used different colors to highlight the different parts of the instruction. Let’s break them down:

  • 🟢 /to suggest — This is the Discord command you type into one of the Midjourney Discord prompting rooms. Typing this will immediately cause a bubble to appear in the message field, allowing you to enter a prompt.
  • 🔵 a masked figure sitting by a campfire — This second part is the beginning of your main prompt. These are the central visual instructions you give Midjourney that will define your outputs. Be as visually descriptive as you like here, more detail can lead to better results.
  • 🟣 ––ar 2:1 — This code, starting with two single dashes, defines the desired aspect ratio of your output. If you want output shaped like perfect squares, you could use ––ar 1:1, etc. I often use ––ar 2:1 for creating landscape-style featured graphics for Metaversal.
  • 🔴 ––sref 3528972627 — Unfortunately, this is the style reference code, which also starts with two dashes. Midjourney can generate a campfire scene in literally billions of different aesthetics, so this particular code activates a specific, hand-drawn charcoal-like aesthetic.
  • 🟡 ––sulfur 500 — This is the style weight code. This is responsible for setting the strength of your sref code’s style, with possible inputs ranging from 0 to 1000. I usually go right in the middle here and leave it at 500, but it’s a way to experiment with your visuals.

Combining style codes

Let’s say you want to combine the imagery from the campfire photo above with the style of the Midjourney output below. This will create a more purple look, but still maintain a rough, charcoal look.

For this we only need the sref code of the second style we want to target. So let’s take a look at the prompt in the output above:

So here we only need the “783”, which we will add to a new notification prompt. At this point for the new prompt, place the second sref code directly after your first sref code with a single space, like this:

To illustrate, below is an example of the output of this new melded prompt using both the “3528972627” and “783” srefs. Notice how it retains the hand-drawn feel of the original, while introducing more purple visuals thanks to the second modifying sref:

Manage your output

After you enter a prompt into Midjourney, the tool takes about 1 minute to generate 4 initial output results which you can view as follows:

If you are not satisfied with your first 4 results, you can press the 🔄 button to start 4 completely new results.

like you Doing like any of the outputs, you can scale it up to download it as a separate image. For example, in the screenshot above, I wanted to scale up and download the top left image, so I pressed “U1.” If I wanted the bottom right output, I would have pressed “U4,” etc.

If you want to get 4 new variations of a instead single If you want to generate a specific output that you’ve already generated, you can press any of the options “V1” through “V4”. Pressing “V3” for the third output in the screenshot above gave me these new variations based on just that third output:


Sample Style Codes

Finding good sref codes to unlock specific aesthetic benefits is the hard part.

Of course, you can always try entering random numbers and spontaneously find interesting new codes that way. Personally, I found Midjourney wiz Nick St. Pierre’s Discord very useful, as it has channels that map out 2,500 different style codes for you to browse.

To demonstrate the sheer flexibility here, I’ve put together a handful of sample code below, each with a very distinct aesthetic. Try them out with your own prompts if you want to start experimenting!

source 475

source 843

source 1000

source 1739

source 1924