Here is a link to Katherine Crowson’s project on Google Colab (opens in new window). Access is free to anyone; you do not need a Colab Pro account to try this out (just a normal free Google account), though resources are more limited to free users. I could generate 3–4 short clips per 24 hour period before it complains.

Google Chrome is recommended as it’s known to be fully compatible. Safari (perhaps others) can’t download the MP4 videos produced in the final step.

Before jumping in, best to familiarize yourself with some basics of the Colab forms’ interface…

Crowson’s form is in Spanish, while the code and text output is partly English. One can get by on lexical similarities and a lot of this being jargon anyway…but if you’d prefer, Chrome has a translation feature. Click the icon just to the right of the URL box, then “TRANSLATE THIS PAGE” to activate it.


Starting and Stopping Jobs

There is a sequence of steps, which will be run top-to-bottom. Each step has this “run” button, which changes to a spinning “busy” indicator while running — clicking that during a run cancels the corresponding process.

Use these slowly and deliberately, do not “mash” the buttons. Some processes are slow to respond, and excessive clicking will cancel and then restart the process, losing interim data you might have wanted to keep! Also, a first click will sometimes just scroll that item to the top of the window and not take any action. Click, think, click again only if required.

First Time Through

But…rather than running each step manually, I find it easier to set up parameters first (explained on next page) and then use Colab’s “Run all,” which powers through all the steps in sequence. You’ll find this at the top in the Runtime menu. On subsequent trials, you can then re-run the individual pieces as needed.

The first time running any step (or “Run all”) you’ll get this warning box. That’s normal and it can be dismissed with the “Run anyway” button. The project’s been tested by a great many at this point, and the software is running “sandboxed” on Google’s servers, not your own system.

Uploading Files

Certain VQGAN parameters can accept image files as input. To transfer files from your machine to Colab, click the folder icon in the left margin, which unfolds into a file selector, then drag and drop your image files into this list. Click the icon again to collapse this section.

Any files you transfer there are not permanently stored. Closing the browser window will end the session and remove anything in the sandbox; you’ll start from a clean slate on your next visit.

This guide was first published on Jul 21, 2021. It was last updated on Jul 21, 2021.

This page (Basic Use) was last updated on May 24, 2022.

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