Have you heard about custom models for Stable Diffusion, but you don’t know how to install and use them? Don’t worry, I’ll show you the way! In this quick guide, I’ll show you the super easy way to add endless custom models to your current installation of Stable Diffusion
What is a Stable Diffusion Model?
I have a full article on this topic. But, in summary, a Stable Diffusion model is a file that tells Stable Diffusion how to create images in a certain way based on a specific dataset. Custom models can be trained on a custom set of images (on top of the base dataset, that is).
If you want to train a model to know and recreate your own face, you can do that. If you want to train a model on a specific art style, then you can do that too!
Models in Stable Diffusion are like mod packs in video games: they add onto the base game experience with more content (or, in this case, more specific styles of content).
How To Install New Models in Stable Diffusion
So how do we install a custom model into Stable Diffusion? You don’t actually have to install models, you just add them to a sub-folder. That’s it! Do you have Stable Diffusion installed on your computer already? Then you’re good to go.
To “install” a model, just download it’s checkpoint file (either a .CKPT or a .SafeTensors file) and place it in your “models” subfolder. The location of your subfolder depends on:
- What repo or distribution of Stable Diffusion you have installed, and
- Where you installed that repo on your computer
In general, this models folder will be inside your main Stable Diffusion installation folder.
In my case, I installed Automatic1111’s Web UI of Stable Diffusion on a secondary hard drive (my F:\ drive). With this particular version, the “models” folder is:
To add new models, all I have to do is drag and drop the downloaded file into this file before I open Stable Diffusion. Your folder should still be named “models” no matter what distro you have.
What Models Should I Install?
Now you know how and where to install custom models. But what models should you install? If you’d like any recommendations, then I have a few:
- The 5 Best Models for Photo-Realistic Images in Stable Diffusion
- What are the Best/Most Downloaded Custom Models for Stable Diffusion?
If you want to browse for models, then I recommend one of the following websites:
I personally prefer Civit AI’s online repository because it has better browse features and keywords. You can search for models based on the style of art you want to create (like photorealism, anime, etc).
A Few Warnings About Stable Diffusion Models
But before you go downloading dozens of model files, let me give you some warnings:
- Model file sizes can be large (between 2GB and 8GB) so make sure you have enough disk space on your computer first
- SafeTensor format files are the safest options because CKPT files carry the risk of malware (technically speaking, but I have yet to hear of one actually contain any viruses so far). See my safety guide all about the topic for more information.
Stable Diffusion provides a unique opportunity that all the other propriety AI services (like Midjourney and Dall-E 2) simply cannot: with Stable Diffusion’s open source design, anyone can create their own custom models for anything. It’s a customization dream come true.
You now know how to add those custom models to your install of Stable Diffusion. Good luck and I hope you have fun testing out this new and exciting world of AI art. If you found this article helpful, here are a few more that you may like: