Sign up for the newsletter

Signup for the Newsletter

Glaze protects artists’ images from ‘unethical AI models’

Thursday, March 16th, 2023 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Part of Musa Victoriosa by Karla Ortiz: the “first painting released to the world that utilizes Glaze, a protective tech against unethical AI/ML models”. The software is now available to download free in beta.

Researchers at the University of Chicago have released Glaze, a free tool intended to prevent the style of an artist’s online images being used to train generative AI art tools.

The machine-learning-based tool applies a ‘style cloak’ to images: barely visually perceptible changes designed to mislead generative models that try to learn the style of a specific artist.

A free tool intended to make it harder for AI models to learn artists’ styles from online images
The AI models behind new generative art tools like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney were trained on images scraped from the internet: something that has led to a class action lawsuit against their creators.

You can find a summary of the legal issues involved in for this article in The Verge.

Glaze is intended to make it harder for new AI models to learn artists’ personal styles from images in online galleries, by enabling artists to apply a ‘style cloak’ to the images they upload.

According to Glaze’s developers, AI models trained on cloaked images learn a different style to the artist’s own, making it more difficult to replicate through text-to-image prompts.

The tool is being developed by researchers at the University of Chicago in collaboration with artists including Karla Ortiz, one of the litigants in the class action suit.


Glaze makes it harder for AI models to learn an arist’s style from online art. Image provided by University of Chicago professor and Glaze team lead Ben Zhao for this article on Glaze in the New York Times.

Trades strength of protection against processing time and visible changes to the image
Glaze itself uses machine learning techniques to generate the style cloak, with the software’s Render Quality parameter determining how much compute time it spends searching for the optimal result.

Users can also set the Intensity of the style cloak, with higher values resulting in stronger protection but usually also more visible changes to the artwork.

According to the software’s user guide, art styles with ‘smoother surfaces’ like character design and animated art are “more vulnerable to protection removal” and require higher Intensity settings.

After an image is modified, Glaze checks the effectiveness of the result, and warns the user if it fails to offer enough protection.

Current limitations
Processing an image with Glaze requires a fairly powerful machine, and a fair amount of time: the highest Render Quality “takes around 60 mins per image on a personal laptop”.

That makes processing an entire online portfolio a significant investment of effort, with no absolute guarantee that the protection provided will not be bypassed by new AI models in future.

The risks and limitations section of Glaze’s website describes cloaking images as a “necessary first step” until “longer term (legal, regulatory) efforts take hold”.

Glaze’s online FAQs provide more information on whether it will be possible for future AI models to circumvent the protection it provides, and are worth reading if you plan to use the software.

Interestingly, while cloaking images will not affect AI models trained on an artist’s existing images in online galleries, the FAQs suggest that uploading new cloaked images will reduce the accuracy with with AI art tools can reproduce that artist’s style in future updates to those tools.

Licensing and system requirements
Glaze is available for Windows and macOS 13.0+. It supports both Intel and Apple Silicon Macs.

The software is free, and is available under a custom EULA. It is currently in beta, but its developers say that they “will not commercialize [it] in any way”.

Read more about Glaze on the product website

Find out how to use Glaze to cloak images in the online user guide

Download free AI image-cloaking tool Glaze

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

© CG Channel Inc. All Rights. Privacy Policy.