K-POP K-pop maestros go viral with Christmas-themed memes

K-pop maestros go viral with Christmas-themed memes

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From left, JYP Entertainment’s CEO Park Jin-young and HYBE founder Bang Si-hyuk in AI-generated photos from photo editing app Epik. [EPIK]

 
Christmas-themed memes featuring K-pop maestros like HYBE’s Bang Si-hyuk and JYP Entertainment’s Park Jin-young in red attire are going viral.
 
Two of the most popular photos portray Park affectionately posing with his face between his two hands inside a snow globe, or HYBE founder behind BTS with a dove-like expression, peering from behind a snowy background configuring a heart with his hands.
 
The real charm lies in the fact that the two founders are presented in cute Santa suits, even though the pictures are in needlessly high quality.
 
They are AI-generated photos created by photo editing app Epik, owned by Seongnam, Gyeonggi-based Snow. Korea’s largest portal Naver is the major shareholder of Snow.
 
The app, released in 2021, has stayed largely unnoticed amid a seemingly endless array of photo editing apps in the market.
 
However, Epik suddenly shot up the ranks of the app store this year by incorporating AI into its app. The first service to go viral was its paid yearbook service that, for a few dollars, generates dozens of photos in the 90s American yearbook style from a couple of selfies uploaded by the user.
 
Ever since AI came into the picture, it has become a trend for fans of celebrities to feed photos of their favorite stars into such apps to generate high-quality portraits.
 
The app, this time, rolled out a paid Christmas service that offers explicit portraits under a retro American Christmas theme — and apparently, the trend has spread over to include K-pop pioneers.
 
Since its launch on Dec. 4, the service has already garnered 30,000 users within a week, Snow said on Tuesday.
 
Like the yearbook service, users can receive 30 Christmas-themed portraits by uploading eight to 12 selfies at a fee of 6,600 won ($5). For the app subscribers, they can receive the results for 5,500 won.
 
The generated photos can be further edited to input texts and stamps to be utilized as viral Christmas cards or invitations.
 
Snow assured users that the app results are simultaneously deleted from its server after creation and will not be utilized to train its generative AI engine.  

BY LEE JAE-LIM [lee.jaelim@joongang.co.kr]

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