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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Generative AI

This library guide is a UIUC campus resource to read and reference for instructional, professional, and personal learning. Updates will occur on a semester basis. Last Updated: March 2024


This section provides a brief overview of popular tools. The tools are described for information purposes only and are not an endorsement. Please consult with your instructor, supervisor, and journal publication for their generative AI usage policies. Approach usability and application with caution and discretion.

Last Updated: March 2024

How does visual-based AI work?

This area of video-generative AI is still quite nascent compared to text andTop set of image is a woman raising hood on the left and a woman 3D model raising fabric. Bottom set of image is a man looking up to the screen on the left and a blurred face on the right image realms. These tools work in a similar fashion to image generation, but with a temporal component. Prompts are given in various forms: text to video, image to video, and video to video. Just as with audio, there are also now AI tools to assist with video editing that will begin to appear in popular, existing software like Adobe Premiere, Apple Final Cut Pro, and DaVinci Resolve. Beyond these two broader categories, there is an area of specific impact in generative video AI tools: Digital Avatars. These tools allow the creation of realistic video content of humans to be used in customer service, political activities or even scams. One of the most popular Digital Avatar tools is HeyGen.

There are many tools for general video generation, below is a list of some current popular options. Keep in mind that this field is far less developed than text or Image generation.


What is Heygen?

Heygen is an AI video generator that helps users create content with AI-generated avatars and voices. It has the ability to translate a recording into 40+ languages. With Heygen, you can create a digital yet realistic avatar of yourself or others that mimics voice, image, and mannerisms. Heygen prices uses a tiered membership system for pricing and includes a free demo version with limited features. 


As with other tools, do not share or input personal or confidential information. Review Heygen's privacy policies for updated information before uploading footage of themselves.

  • This is not a free option beyond the test phase.
  • There are other Digital Avatar Options: D-IDSynesthesia

Example Prompt

CITL Director Michel Bellini demonstrates creating a Digital Avatar on Youtube. HeyGen's blog post "Tips for Planning Video Scripts | Guide, Templates, and Examples" provides further information and examples. 

Below is a prompt example:

  • Record a short video reading a script
    • Add a new script to generate a new video with your personal avatar