ANDREI KOVALEV'S
MIDJOURNEY
GUIDE

MIDJOURNEY
V4 STYLIZE
BREAKDOWN
DEC 2 2022
Midjourney now supports --stylize in its Version 4! Let's look at how it works, what it can affect in our generations, and what we control with it.
castle in the skies by Marcin Sobas --stylize 0 --seed 1
castle in the skies by Marcin Sobas --stylize 1000 --seed 1

QUICK FACTS

That's what the team themselves say on Midjourney's official Discord channel:
  • 1
    The --stylize argument lets you change the strength of our 'default styling.'
  • 2
    You can take it from a value of 0 to 1000 (the default is 100).
  • 3
    If you set --stylize 0, you may have worse images, but you may gain more fine-grained control.
What does that mean in practice? Let's get to experiments!
For this trial, I locked the random seed (--seed 1) to get consistent generations while only changing --stylize. I started from 0 and went up to 1000 with 100, 250, 500, and 750 steps. Since the rest of the prompt stayed the same, I will only caption the first image in the examples below and then indicate the Stylize value for each sample.

HOW MIDJOURNEY V4 STYLIZE WORKS

To best illustrate how the new --stylize works, I began with a simple prompt: circle.
circle --stylize 0
100
500
1000
In short, Midjourney's new Stylize helps make generations more beautiful, complex, and detailed on every level: from background to subject. Where V3 brings you completely random results after a certain --stylize number, V4 is much more subtle and smooth.

BENCHMARK

On the Library Instagram, we have a daily section where we trial artists and techniques against nine standardized prompts: cyberpunk character, Nazgul over sleeping town, decaying peonies, tech genius teenage girl, cute Mainecoon cat, Chernobog, bioarchitecture, Thom Yorke, and an image prompt (a portrait of Francis D.)

To put the new Midjourney AI V4 Stylize setting to a real test, I used these prompts followed by the names of various artists from the Library.

STYLIZE INFLUENCE

However subtle the new Stylize might be it also may drastically affect the composition, cropping, and even the image's subject. In most cases, it happens early—between --stylize 0 and 100. Sometimes, the same might occur later, between 750 and 1000.
cyberpunk character photogravure --stylize 0
100
500
1000
But in most cases, the one dramatic change happens when you start going from 0 up, and the following transitions are smoother.
Chernobog by Francesco Francavilla --stylize 0
250
500
1000
However, another variant of the same generation is a great example of how Stylize may subtly evolve your generation, keeping most of it intact from 0 to 1000.
100
1000
At times the changes in details, subjects, and environments seem almost like Remaster or even Re-roll effect.
cute Mainecoon cat by Fritz Scholder --stylize 0
1000
decaying peonies by Bruce Pennington --stylize 0
1000

"BEAUTIFUL" VALUE

Upping Stylize tends to make images more beautiful. If default V4 wasn't enough already, you can now dial the "beautiful" value even higher up.
Chernobog by Inna Mosina --stylize 0
1000
Another effect mentioned by the Midjourney team: higher --stylize generates more consistent images and fewer glitches (but hands are still the issue ¯\_(ツ)_/¯).
tech genius teenage girl by J.C. Leindecker --stylize 0
500
1000
Sometimes the higher Stylize generations appeared more inventive and artistic than the ones with lower numbers.
[IMAGE PROMPT]
by Arnold Newman --stylize 0
1000

DETAILS

Apart from making pictures more beautiful, higher stylize value also develops composition and details, making results more intricate and interesting to look at.
Nazgul over sleeping town by Dave McKean --stylize 0
100
1000
Note how the town goes from an awkward rooftop to a pencil sketch to much more detailed and elaborate concept art.
At lower values, Midjourney will generally try to keep the picture simpler and more minimalistic in shapes and textures. The higher you go, the more intricate the whole generation becomes.
Bioarchitecture by Dan Matutina --stylize 0
100
500
1000
Raising --stylize not only makes generations more detailed, but the details themselves more consistent—even ordered according to a certain logic. Note how Francis' costume became less chaotic and more well-thought-through, and how the bioarchitecture building became more wholesome and structured.
[IMAGE PROMPT]
by Alexander McQueen --stylize 0
1000
bioarchitecture by Ivan Marchuk --stylize 0
1000

COMPOSITION

Dramatic changes in --stylize value can often change the cropping and even the overall composition of your generations. Most of the time, Midjourney does it for a good reason.
Nazgul over sleeping town by Ernst Haas --stylize 0
100
tech genius teenage girl by Tsutomu Nihei --stylize 0
1000
Note how higher Stylize flipped the direction of images in these examples to make the composition go from left to right (which is more natural and appealing=more beautiful to Western taste).

ANY ISSUES WITH STYLIZE IN V4?

Throughout my experiments, I encountered very few issues with the new Stylize. For instance, on some occasions raising --stylize number may move your generations away from the initial style modifier.
Thom Yorke in Qajar art style --stylize 0
1000
There is another minor glitch I encountered. When you're gradually raising --stylize with locked --seed, Midjourney would often swap image slots between generations. So U1 at --stylize 0 can unexpectedly move to U3 at 100.

Also, one or more variants can simply disappear between different Stylize levels to be replaced with entirely different ones.

But that's about it!

CONCLUSIONS

  • 1
    Stylize in Midjourney V4 became a much more predictable and precise instrument than its predecessor.
  • 2
    With --seed added to your prompts, --stylize allows fine-tuning of generations, less random, and more controllable results.
  • 3
    Stylize in V4 is more moderate in what it will do at its extremes. The range might expand later. But for now—the difference between 0 and 1000 is nearly not as striking as between --stylize 1500 and --stylize 15000 in the V3. :)
  • 4
    Still, changes in Stylize can dramatically affect details, composition, and sometimes even the subject of your generations.
Here are my first impressions about Stylize in Midjourney V4. I will continue testing its limits and will try to update this article with new discoveries and examples!

If you want to share your thoughts, ideas, or results of your experiments with Stylize, send me a note via the form below. ↓

-- Yours, Andrei
P.S. Another circle anyone?
circle --stylize 0
500
1000
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GUIDE

Series of observations and lab experiments exploring and showcasing various aspects of Midjourney AI and its applications in real life!

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