Falling Down the Niji Sref Hole in MidJourney

Leeloo from The Fifth Element is arguably one of the coolest movie characters ever created. Inspired by a tweet from Artedeingenio, I decided to use Leeloo as a reference to test out almost 50 ref codes in MidJourney. The differences in style were astounding and showcased the versatility and depth of this tool.

The Experiment

The prompt I used for this experiment was:

"Leeloo from The Fifth Element posing sensual, in the style of Hajime Sorayama, textured surface layers, gold and emerald, dynamic outdoor shots, realist detail, expansive skies --ar 2:3 --style raw —sref CODE --niji 6"

To break it down:

  • Leeloo from The Fifth Element: The central subject of all images.
  • Posing sensual: The style of pose.
  • In the style of Hajime Sorayama: Inspired by the futuristic and sensual art of Hajime Sorayama.
  • Textured surface layers, gold and emerald: Adding detailed textures and color schemes to the images.
  • Dynamic outdoor shots, realist detail, expansive skies: Setting and details to enhance the visual appeal.
  • --ar 2:3: Aspect ratio of the images.
  • --style raw: Using the raw style setting in MidJourney.
  • —sref CODE: THIS IS WHERE THE MAGIC HAPPENS. The reference code which I varied for different styles.
  • --niji 6: Utilizing the Niji 6 model for image generation.

Exploring Different Styles

The results from the various sref codes highlight the diverse artistic possibilities within MidJourney. For instance, in the Dynamic Realism style, Leeloo is depicted with sharp, realistic detail, vivid textures, and elegant gold and emerald accents, showcasing her dynamic pose against an expansive sky. In contrast, the Fantasy Vibrancy style brings a vibrant, almost ethereal quality to Leeloo, with bright, lively colors and a whimsical background creating a fantasy-like setting, enhancing her mystical appeal. The Retro Futurism style renders Leeloo in bold, vibrant colors and exaggerated features, evoking a nostalgic yet forward-looking aesthetic with classic sci-fi elements and dramatic lighting. Finally, the Modern Elegance style presents Leeloo with clean lines, a sophisticated color palette, and detailed textures, highlighting her poise and confidence against a serene outdoor backdrop. Each style transformation underscores the incredible versatility and depth of MidJourney's tools, making every image uniquely captivating.

Discovering the Almost 50 Styles

The true magic of MidJourney lies in its ability to transform a single prompt into a multitude of distinct artistic styles. By altering the sref code, I was able to explore nearly 50 different interpretations of Leeloo. Each style brings a unique perspective, highlighting the flexibility and creativity that MidJourney offers. Below, you’ll find a selection of these styles, showcasing the incredible range of artistic possibilities. Dive in and enjoy the visual feast!

--sref 2736913902

Very slick and clean look, almost more American Comic style than anime or manga.

--sref 474742

A blend of 2D and 3D with strong, alien colours and textures.

--sref 1269676881

Some kind of Cyberpunk going on here, especially with the android stuff on the very first image.

--sref 1739468314

I'm only leaving this one in for educational purposes: Some sref codes may lead to photos, even when setting the Niji tag. I tested over 60 sref codes but had to remove a bunch of results as they gave me photos instead of manga / comic art. Still an interesting result, but I'm especially focusing not on photography this time.

--sref 3188476357

Absolutely gorgeous look. This was one of three contestants for the featured image!

--sref 1000172666

Another cool 2D/3D mix, with some Final Fantasy vibes.

--sref 1931603639

Extremly cute, Pixar style look, but heavily 3D.

--sref 265627102

One of the crazier styles... Moebius style LSD infusion?

--sref 4302

Big... eyes, quite sexy, this is definitely going more in an anime direction.

--sref 3160532315

This is why I love MidJourney so much. You suddenly get a style straight out of an 50's Mad Men ad. Surreal. Looks like a Campari ad!

--sref 475952618

Gorgeous 80's look. Feels like a character from Captain Future. Daft Punk would love this.

--sref 66

Slightly exaggerated head dimensions, but cute faces.

--sref 807710363

Love the serious tone, just the right amount of detail...

--sref 1975214325

Another extreme style, the textures look amazing. Incredible where a sref can take you!

--sref 712576527

The subtle tones, the imperfect lines, the style... Wow.

--sref 99

Somehow similar to the one above, yet more minimalistic, more reduced. Looks almost like real art! Funny how MidJourney just decided to create one photo, though.

--sref 798

Interesting style, looks like a 3D / cell shading combo to me.

--sref 3786818508

Wonderful, dreamy style. You can't really tell it's Leeloo anymore, but that's fine. This is just magnificent.

--sref 71227

By far the most sexy result, that's why it ended up as the featured image, too. Sex sells!

Seriously though, I love the backlight here as much as the general style. It's muted down and looks a lot like a Jean Giraud comic... And I love my Mœbius.

--sref 547396874

If you're looking for a style that makes your images look like sketches, then you've found it. Doesn't get any better than this.

--sref 1182170018

Leeloo wondering about her purpose in life... Amazing facial expressions - and a very unique style!

--sref 1762375834

Thick lines, bold anatomy... Another sketchy style that look hella cool.

--sref 76849677

Another style straight out of a 70's Vogue magazine - flat and subtle colors, yet so much expression.

--sref 435176309

This looks heavily like a DC / Marvel comic.

--sref 1523180392

Leeloo meets Goth culture.

--sref 1970

A mix of painting and photography, the only result where one image looks at least a tiny little bit like Milla Jovovich (MidJourney makes sure extremly well by now not to break any copyrights or to show faces to clearly?)...

--sref: None!

Still paying attention? This is the result that I got when I did not add any sref at all. Just thought to throw that in inbetween to show you how crazy some of the results here actually are. It's the exact same prompt as all the other images here, but no style reference at all.

--sref 7769373

Heavy Metal vibes with those silver outfits. Could be on the cover of a rock band!

--sref 2548733849

Since I did not really set an environment - except for outside - it's interesting where MidJourney places those characters. This reminds me somehow of Nami in One Piece?

--sref 4057057867

Fantastic colour shades, brilliant lighting, soothing calmness... Another style I totally dig.

--sref 924628635

On one hand, I don't really like this doll style, but on the other hand, it's absolutely unique.

--sref 2732593321

Now we're heading into Frank Miller territory - super dramatic and very subtle, yet so full of expression and style. Definitely in my top 5 favorites.

--sref 950768020

This looks a bit like Final Fantasy x Neon Genisis Evangelion. Almost too real to count as Niji. Almost.

--sref 774180726

You want a Disney sref? You get a Disney sref.

--sref 486952619

What if The Fifth Element took place in the world of Ghost in the Shell?

--sref 4071074278

2D with a subtle 3D touch and a brilliant tint.

--sref 3512868045

Don't know if it can get any dreamier than this.

--sref 2344505178

These Leeloos almost look like renderings to me - not a big fan, but definitly it's own style.

--sref 1982

Using my birth year as a sref (oh, you can just put random numbers in and get creative results!) leads to Dead or Alive girls. I don't really see Leeloo there anymore except for the red hair!

--sref 823195617

Great orange tint, love the eyes, cool style.

--sref 1602019069

Looks like Pixar sketches, very cute and a bit doll-ish.

--sref 3986964116

I can't describe what makes this my favorite style exactly, but to me, those somehow are the most intersting, best results. Or let me put it this way: this is the style I was expecting from Niji in the first place. And this mix of comic and manga looks the best to me. I love how detailed those images are yet how dark and flat the background is. Will definitly play around with this some more.

--sref 2421610009

Unique clothes, style and colors, another extreme result. I could see two of them hanging framed on my wall!

--sref 1377896601

Those Leeloos look like cutscene renderings again. But maybe that's what you dig, who knows.

--sref 790

Candyland Leeloo. Everything about this style is sweet, from the colors to the settings to the actual depiction.

--sref 823195617

I accidentaly used this sref twice. Did you notice?

--sref 2365018120

We end the comparisons with this bright, lighthearted style. Not much of Leeloo left in those characters, but they're cute anyway. Hope you found a style reference that you like!


The variety achieved by altering the sref code in MidJourney is remarkable. Each reference code opened up a new perspective, rendering Leeloo in unique and imaginative ways. This experiment not only highlighted the power of MidJourney's tools but also the endless possibilities for creative expression.

For anyone looking to push the boundaries of their visual storytelling, I highly recommend diving into the world of Fiji 6 and Sref codes. Just be prepared to lose track of time as you explore the vast array of styles and details that these codes can unlock.

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