Best practices for Replicate models

This guide will walk you through the best practices for pushing a reliable, fast, and user-friendly model to Replicate.

All models on Replicate use Cog, an open-source tool that lets you package machine learning models in a standard, production-ready container. It’s based on Docker.

If you’re new to Cog, we recommend starting from our docs: Push a model to Replicate

In short, you need to:

  1. define the Docker environment your model runs in with cog.yaml
  2. define how predictions are run with
  3. test your model by running predictions locally, for example: cog predict -i image=@input.jpg
  4. push the model to Replicate with cog push

For the rest of this guide we’ll assume you’re familiar with Cog and you know how to push a model to Replicate.

People must be able to use your model without reading the source code.

All names on Replicate are lowercase and use dashes instead of spaces. For example, llama-2-70b-chat.

Best practice is to use the model’s official name, like the name of the Github repo or HuggingFace model.

Where there are variations of a model, we recommend adding those variations to the end of the name to make the model distinct. These are commonly different parameter sizes or fine-tunes, such as codellama-34b and codellama-34b-instruct.

A short one line description explaining what the model does. Avoid technical terms and abbreviations in your description.

Some good examples:

  • For the autocaption model: “Automatically add captions to a video”
  • For the llama-2-70b-chat: “A 70 billion parameter language model from Meta, fine tuned for chat completions”

Do not prematurely shorten names. Use negative_prompt instead of n_prompt.

Put the most important inputs first.

Group related inputs together. For example, prompt and negative_prompt should be together in your inputs. Users usually want to change them together.

For models with many inputs, consider prefixing fields with a group name. For example, controlnet_strength, controlnet_image and controlnet_model.

Even when obvious to you. For example, not everyone knows how to use a negative prompt. Guidance like this would help them:

A negative prompt is a prompt containing all the things you do not want in your output

Good defaults get quality outputs quickly.

For example, with SDXL you get good images at 768x768 with 25 inference steps, which is 3x faster than 1024x1024 at 50 steps.

A model should make it difficult to get bad results while remaining flexible for anyone wanting to experiment.

Keep wide input ranges, but use guidance text to explain where the best results lie.

If your model takes images as inputs, it should accept all the common image formats users will try. For example, JPEG, PNG, GIF and WEBP, as well as images with alpha channels (transparency).

Where inference would fail with a given input (like an RGBA image), convert images to a format that works.

An image that’s too big will often cause out of memory errors. Scale images to a size that works best with your model, but maintain aspect ratio.

Some models need dimensions that are multiples of 8, or similar (for example Stable Diffusion). In these cases, automatically scale images to the nearest multiple.

Make image scaling easy and automatic, so users can throw any image at your model and get good results. But add controls so they can override defaults and control sizing if they need to.

Our stable-video-diffusion has a good implementation showing how to handle image inputs well: view resizing code, view resizing options on model.

Keep dependencies to a minimum. Fewer dependencies mean smaller containers and faster builds.

Use pinned versions. Pinning your dependencies to specific versions makes your model more reproducible. It will make it easier to debug.

OpenCV is a big dependency. If you’re using it, we recommend using the headless version opencv-python-headless which is a smaller version for server use.

Download weights and push them with your model. Do not try to download them at runtime. If you’re using HuggingFace Diffusers, you can also push the model cache.

If you have weights that are especially large, contact the Replicate team and we’ll help you keep your model size down and your model fast. We’re working on making this better.