PS2 Filter, an AI-empowered photo transformer, blows up on TikTok and is now rapidly spreading to Chinese social media. Different from the Image generators that rely on refined prompts with an unpredictable style, the filter’s visual imitates the Play Station 2 games and allows people to morph their images into NPC (Non-player character) look-likes in the games.

Despite the filter demonstrating a bit fuzzy and pixelated quality, it strongly resonated with the previous PS2 gamers, particularly fans of The Sims. People are actively posting their reimagined photos with captions ‘Reborn as the NPC in The Sims 重启人生之我成为模拟人生的NPC’ on social media. As of now, the relevant hashtag #ps2 #thesims has gained over 5 million views on RED.

Photos from RED user @loxlloxllox,  a subculture fan using replicate transforming her images into PS2 style

The AI program @replicate is among the most used for the PS2 filter, however, as an outside website, it could be complicated for Chinese netizens to access. In response to the trend, Chinese photo edit company @Meitu has quickly incorporated the PS2 filter into their App, offering an easier operation and a similar effect.

The filter awakes and reignites the memory that belongs to the PS2 era. With photo transformation, the nostalgic rush hit suddenly, and being reimagined into an NPC character also satisfies the exploration for AI customization. For younger generations who are curious trend followers, the PS2 filter is also a novel experience of ‘living in a virtual world’, making it a must-try.

Under this craze for an NPC digital self, The Chinese Pulse has also seen visionary artist @Shxpir actively transforming celebrities into digital avatars. With a cutting-edge 3D scanning approach, his works vividly replicate the physical forms of real individuals in the virtual world, immersing them into a magnificent universe dimension.

Photos from @shxpir,  model wearing RUI Zhou being reimagined in a virtual world

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