AI Image Generators Will Blow Your Mind. Here Are the Best 3 Right Now (2023)

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  • Is It Copyright Infringement?
  • Scene Comparisons
  • Thoughts

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has blown up in popularity as one of the most exciting and misunderstood technologies of recent times. This year saw the advent of ChatGPT, an AI Chat Bot that can answer queries—including writing a comedy routine about grocery store cheese. While these types of plugins demonstrate AI’s ability to generate text, few are talking about AI’s ability to generate images. That’s why I’ve compiled three of the best image generators for you to experiment with and impress your friends.

The three image generators in question are Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion. Each generator has its inherent advantages and disadvantages, but we recommend not straying away from them if you want to create some high-quality AI art. Or you could just generate an image of Darth Vader smashing out a DJ set at the club as I did below.

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Prompt: Darth vader as an EDM DJ in front of a massive crowd, cyberpunk vibes, hyperrealistic, dynamic lighting, reflections - - ar 4: 5

My comparison analyzed cost, ease of use, image resolution, dynamic range, composition, creativity, post-processing, and even speed. Along with those factors I also fed each with identical prompts to see how they rendered four different scenes.

Is It Copyright Infringement?

Before we start, I’d be remiss not to discuss claims that AI Image Generators are “stealing” other artists’ work.

It doesn’t take a lot of research to realize all of these programs understand art through machine learning: algorithms that are merely recognizing patterns and well… not much else. Are they trained using art made by humans? Yes. Are they flat-out stealing it? Not really.

It’s important to note that AI isn’t simply copying and pasting other artists’ work into one giant mashup. The key issue here is generative AI that can replicate artists’ styles—which is already possible using a program called Midjourney. Things are obviously very complicated right now and the matter is actively being investigated by the United States Office of Copyright. As of right now, there’s still not a definitive yes or no as to whether these generative AI programs are on the right or wrong side of the law—though we do at least know that AI-generated images can not be copyrighted.

That being said, resistance to new innovations in artistry is nothing new. This movement of AI taking over reminds me of painters’ reacting to the advent of photography back in the 1820s; the majority of them were outraged, but it also had a hefty influence on impressionist painters. It pushed them over the edge into accepting photography as the best medium for capturing life’s fleeting moments. This actually allowed them to lean further into the funk zone with their style to complement photography instead of compete with it. Funny to think that this controversial new medium actually opened up opportunities for painters to be more creative.

Scene Comparisons

I fed each image generator with three prompts to compare their ability to create different scenes. However, instead of messing around with random prompts and letting my imagination run loose, I was very purposeful with the prompts I chose. The first aimed to not only evaluate the ability to create human forms, but also trees, forests, and complex lighting scenarios.

It’s important to note that human forms (think of things like your face, hands, arms, and legs) are still very difficult for AI to produce realistically.

➥ Prompt 1: “A close-up of a robot working at a desk in a densely packed forest”

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Stable Diffusion

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DALL-E
  • Midjourney: It’s clear to see that Midjourney objectively produced the best image here. Not only is it the only rendition that even attempts to replicate complex human features, but it does so with impressive levels of detail. That’s also not to mention the “densely-packed forest” behind our robot, which shows quite a lot of depth and complexity; note that the foreground elements are in focus and the background is nice and soft—just as you would get from a photograph.
  • Stable Diffusion (Dream Studio): At first glance, this render simply isn’t in the same ballpark as the Midjourney work that shows up first. If you look closely, it doesn’t even make an attempt to render human hands. However, the layering of the image (foreground, midground, and background) is actually very strong, and the forest isn’t all too bad either. I’d even go as far as to say that the composition—or framing of the image—is just as good if not better than the first.
  • DALL-E: While the first two images were overwhelmingly positive, DALL-E’s rendition of the robot left quite a lot to be desired. Not only is the robot a complete mess—you really have to work to find the arms and legs—but also the forest and lighting conditions are basic, flat, and downright uninteresting.

The goal of this second scene was to showcase each program’s ability to generate a complex lighting situation—ie: a forest fire. However, while the ability to generate the color, warmth, reflection, and even halation of fire is great, that’s far from everything needed to achieve a photorealistic render. The other goal of this prompt was to demonstrate the ability to render objects that are on fire. Trees evolve quite a lot as they burn down, leaving sparks and embers, and a colossal amount of smoke. Of the three different comparisons I’d say the differences between the three images are most profound in this scene.

➥ Prompt 2: “Massive overgrown forest on fire being extinguished by firefighters”

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Midjourney

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Stable Diffusion

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DALL-E
  • Midjourney: There are no prizes for guessing which image was produced by Midjourney. Every time I look at this masterpiece I notice something new. The complexity in particular takes it to the next level; the flames themselves are also complemented by sparks and heat haze, which add drama to the image. That’s not to mention that it appears to be quite a windy day—good thing this is a render and not reality.
  • Stable Diffusion: I actually really like the composition that Stable Diffusion came up with —it’s arguably better than the Midjourney image. Everything else on the other hand is well… not as good. Sure the flames are there but show up extremely basic compared to the number 1 image. This is the perfect example of what separates a good image from a great image.
  • DALL-E: Unlike the other two, DALL-E’s rendition of the forest fire leaves a lot to be desired. Is it a digital rendering of a prompt? Yes. Do I like any one aspect of it? No. It might sound like I’m being harsh, but when you realize DALL-E is still a paid service (like the other two) this level of performance is downright disappointing.

As a photographer, many of the images I capture are inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings—known for their moody commentary on the strangeness of everyday scenarios. So why not use it as the base for an imitation game between all three of these image generators? Not only will this test the ability to replicate Hopper’s work, but I realized it’s also a great way to test out the compositions that these image generators can come up with; I’m always enamored by the layering of foreground, midground, and background in his work. Instead of rendering the same intimate small-town settings—as Hopper would have—I challenged Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL-E to recreate the Empire State Building.

➥ Prompt 3: “The empire state building, Edward Hopper style”

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Midjourney

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Stable Diffusion

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DALL-E
  • Midjourney: I was especially blown away by its ability to render Hopper’s style here. The result is super tight as the final image is well put together and hits all the right notes. Along with nailing the style, it’s one of the only images that has a good amount of layering; note the person and staircase in the foreground, more buildings in the midground, and the Empire State Building in the background. It’s also the only image that shows the landmark from ground level.
  • Stable Diffusion: Keeping with the pattern of previous scenes, Stable Diffusion came close to the Hopper look, but the result was never really in the same ballpark as Midjourney’s version—the composition is orders of magnitude simpler. I do have to say the dynamic range (the ability to replicate the darkest and brightest bits of the image) is still quite good.
  • DALL-E: Given the painterly style we’ve seen from DALL-E, I wasn’t super surprised to see that its work was actually quite impressive here. While it doesn’t feature the same definition seen in Midjourrney, you’d probably be able to successfully identify it as a painting of the Empire State Building.

Thoughts

🏆 Best Overall: Midjourney

Midjourney is the most advanced AI image generator that we tested. It not only produced the highest visual fidelity, but also cranked out equally impressive human anatomy (i.e.: hands, feet, legs, and arms), dynamic range, textures, and composition relative to the generators on test. However, these spectacular results were the most difficult to achieve, with a steep but rewarding learning curve to grind through.

The learning curve is steep, but it’s important to mention that the latest version of Midjourney produced stunning results right out of the gate. The key is learning the right commands and keywords to get the last 10 percent from your image. Once you have your prompt figured out, Midjourney allows you to add separate ideas—you’re able to split them using commas—to give you more freedom to create the image you want. For instance, below you’ll find the exact prompt that we used for the first scene that we rendered in Midjourney.

Close up of a robot working at a desk in a densely packed forest, hyperrealistic, studio lighting, reflections

While we were most impressed with Midjourney, it’s not perfect. It was not only the most difficult to learn, but also proved to be the most expensive. Starting out you’ll get 25 free “tokens,” before you have to pay a monthly subscription; these are available in two tiers with $10 a month giving you around 200 renders per month while $30 gives you unlimited queries.

🧑‍🎨 Easiest to Use: Stable Diffusion

Stable Diffusion (SD) is by far the easiest AI Image Generator to get the hang of. While it isn’t collaborative like Midjourney, we used Dream Studio, which allows you to interact with Stable Diffusion using a visual interface that legitimately makes sense. There aren’t any complex commands or syntax to learn for you to achieve the final image you want.

Stable Diffusion also makes it easy to tweak renders that you’ve already made. Yes, you can do this in Midjourney but the process is a bit convoluted and doesn’t give you any control of where to take the image. As an example, I’ve taken the image of the Empire State Building below and added some tags to change the time of day from dusk to dawn. You can see, the composition of the image is largely the same with just a bit more warmth and light in the second image. In Midjourney it would’ve been quite similar.

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We’d be remiss not to mention that we were using the latest SDXL Beta version of Stable Diffusion for this article. Unlike Midjourney, which is paid for as a subscription service, Stable Diffusion uses a token system where $15 will get you approximately 7,500 images.

🏁 Best For Starters: DALL-E

Following our ChatGPT coverage, I came in with high expectations for DALL-E, which is hosted by the same company (Open AI). Unfortunately, that was where the hype ran out and the disappointment began. As a start, the images DALL-E produced weren’t all that impressive—especially for a paid service where users burn tokens for each render. You get a limited number of tokens to start but they run out pretty quickly.

The max resolution of (1024 x 1024 pixels) is comparable with the best generators out there. However, I was a bit befuddled to see that the final images failed to deliver the same visual fidelity. Most of DALL-E’s work appears more painterly when compared with Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. This means you’re simply out of luck if you want to make a render appear photorealistic when using DALL-E.

Worst of all, I ran into the same capacity issues that I experienced with ChatGPT—getting an error message just about every time I tried to make a rendering. This effectively made the service completely unusable for about 90 percent of my time with it—yeah not great. I’d be inclined to look the other way if DALL-E was free for all to use, but that simply isn’t the case. To offer some perspective, $15 in credits gives you approximately 400 DALL-E renders.

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Matt Crisara

Matt Crisara is a native Austinite who has an unbridled passion for cars and motorsports, both foreign and domestic, and as the Autos Editor for Popular Mechanics, he writes the majority of automotive coverage across digital and print. He was previously a contributing writer for Motor1 following internships at Circuit Of The Americas F1 Track and Speed City, an Austin radio broadcaster focused on the world of motor racing. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where he raced mountain bikes with the University Club Team. When he isn’t working, he enjoys sim-racing, FPV drones, and the great outdoors.

FAQs

AI Image Generators Will Blow Your Mind. Here Are the Best 3 Right Now? ›

Best AI image generator overall

Bing's Image Creator is powered by a more advanced version of the DALL-E, and produces the same (if not higher) quality results just as quickly. Like DALL-E, it is free to use. All you need to do to access the image generator is visit the website and sign in with a Microsoft account.

Which AI image generator is the best? ›

Best AI image generator overall

Bing's Image Creator is powered by a more advanced version of the DALL-E, and produces the same (if not higher) quality results just as quickly. Like DALL-E, it is free to use. All you need to do to access the image generator is visit the website and sign in with a Microsoft account.

What AI generator is everybody using? ›

Deep Dream Generator

One of the most popular AI art generators on the market, Deep Dream is an online tool that enables you to create realistic images with AI.

What are AI image generators? ›

An AI image generator from text is exactly what you think it is. It is an AI-powered tool that takes a text prompt, processes it, and creates an image that best matches the description given in the text prompt. Don't confuse them with AI image-sourcing tools though.

What AI generator is everyone using on Instagram? ›

Lensa is the AI photo editing app everyone is using on Instagram!

How to get free DALL-E credits? ›

Create a free account: Sign up for an account on the OpenAI website to access DALL-E 2. Upon signing up, you will receive 50 credits initially, with an additional set of 15 credits added every month. Note that free credits cannot be carried forward.

What is the Tiktok AI image generator? ›

AI Greenscreen, which generates an abstract image inspired by any prompt you type into the effect. AI Art, which takes an image from your camera roll and uses it to create a new work of art.

What AI generator is everyone using on Tiktok? ›

The rendered images are created by a software called Lensa which was created by Prisma AI.

Is there a free AI upscaler? ›

Is Upscale.media free Online AI Photo Enhancer? Yes, with Upscale.media, you can enhance and upscale your low-quality images for free online. It only takes a few seconds to do so.

What is the AI image enhancer for 2023? ›

In 2023, YouCam Enhance should be your first choice if you're looking for an online AI picture enhancer. Every photo's quality may be rapidly enhanced with YouCam Enhance using picture denoise, sharpening, and color enhancement. YouCam Enhance makes it unnecessary to manually fix picture flaws.

What is the most advanced AI text generator? ›

While ChatGPT is the biggest name in AI at the moment, it's the engine that powers it—GPT—that's really shaking things up. GPT-3 and GPT-4, its two latest versions, are incredibly powerful, and they're available as an API, which just means that other developers can add AI text generation to their apps.

What is the most advanced AI device? ›

GPT-3 was released in 2020 and is the largest and most powerful AI model to date. It has 175 billion parameters, which is more than ten times larger than its predecessor, GPT-2.

How do I make an AI image of myself? ›

How to Generate AI Art Images from Your Selfies
  1. Step 1: Download the AI Photo Generator.
  2. Step 2: Select AI Styles for Your AI Art.
  3. Step 3: Upload Photos to Generate AI Art.
  4. Step 4: Enhance Your AI Photo Further.
  5. Step 5: Save and Share Your AI Art.
May 23, 2023

What AI app is everyone using on Facebook? ›

If you've logged on to any social media app this week, you've probably seen pictures of your friends, but re-imagined as fairy princesses, animé characters, or celestial beings. It is all because of Lensa, an app which uses artificial intelligence to render digital portraits based on photos users submit.

What is the AI everyone is talking about? ›

For the unfamiliar, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence language model that understands and generates human language.

What app is everyone using for the AI filter? ›

The Bold Glamour filter uses artificial intelligence, known affectionately as AI, to assess your face and then completely remold it so that you can look on TikTok like you've gotten a cosmetic makeover along with some plastic surgery.

What is not allowed on DALL-E? ›

Do not upload images of people without their consent. Do not upload images to which you do not hold appropriate usage rights. Do not create images of public figures.

Is Midjourney better than DALL-E 2? ›

Upscaling – Midjourney Wins

Midjourney differs from Dall-E 2 when you want to adjust images in variations and upscaling. OpenAI's art generator provides only variations. In Midjourney, you can use suffixes in your prompt to create further variations.

Is OpenAI free to use? ›

Simple and flexible. Start experimenting with $5 in free credit that can be used during your first 3 months. To keep things simple and flexible, pay only for the resources you use.

What AI is used on TikTok trend? ›

Generative AI allows TikTok creators to reimagine history - Rest of World.

What is the AI button on TikTok? ›

A new trend has gone viral on TikTok with videos showing people experimenting with the popular AI face filter which allows you to turn yourself into whatever you could think of. Here's how you can try this filter out for yourself on the app.

How does Snapchat use AI? ›

Content shared with My AI, including your location if you've shared that with Snapchat, will be used by My AI to provide relevant and useful responses to your requests, including nearby place recommendations. Your data may also be used by Snap to improve Snap's product and personalize your experience, including ads.

How do I remove AI filter from TikTok? ›

How To Remove Filters And Effects From TikTok Drafts
  1. Open the TikTok application.
  2. Click on your profile icon in the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Go to your drafts folder.
  4. Select the video you want to modify.
  5. Tap the filter icon on the edit screen to remove the filter from the draft video.
Mar 1, 2023

How does TikTok AI green screen work? ›

TikTok's AI Greenscreen filter is an in-app, text-to-image generator. That means you can tell the app what green screen to create for you by simply typing in a word. The feature is quite basic but works well enough to give you an accurate filter to add a fun element to your TikTok videos.

How to make money with AI image generator? ›

Print-on-demand products made from your AI art are one of the most lucrative ways to make money. You should simply transfer your plans to sites like TeeSpring and RedBubble. Your artwork will be printed on a variety of products from mugs and t-shirts to posters and notebooks by these websites.

What is the best free AI art generator? ›

  • Download: Starry AI for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
  • Download: Dream by Wombo for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
  • Download: Picsart for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
  • Download: Canva for Android | iOS (Free, in-app purchases available)
May 23, 2023

Do you have to pay for the AI generator? ›

As one would expect, this AI art generator is not free to use. You get the first 25 image creations for free, but you need to pay US$10 a month for the membership, which lets you create up to 200 images. However, after playing around with Midjourney for some time, I would say the membership fee is worth it.

Which AI algorithm is best for image recognition? ›

Due to their unique work principle, convolutional neural networks (CNN) yield the best results with deep learning image recognition.

Are there any good AI art generators? ›

Jasper Art

Jasper is better known for being one of the best AI writing generators, but it also has a decent art generator as well. It's more expensive than a lot of the other apps on this list, but if you already use Jasper, it's worth a look.

What AI image generator has no restrictions? ›

Dream By Wombo

Unlike other AI image generators, Dream By Wombo offers unlimited image creation without any restrictions on its features and without any cost.

What is an example of image recognition AI? ›

Image Recognition AI used in visual search

Google lens is one of the examples of image recognition applications. This technology is particularly used by retailers as they can perceive the context of these images and return personalized and accurate search results to the users based on their interest and behavior.

How is AI used to identify images? ›

Image recognition algorithms use deep learning datasets to distinguish patterns in images. These datasets consist of hundreds of thousands of tagged images. The algorithm looks through these datasets and learns how the image of a particular object looks like.

Is there an AI that can identify images? ›

April 5 (Reuters) - Facebook-owner Meta (META. O) published an artificial intelligence model on Wednesday that can pick out individual objects from within an image, along with a dataset of image annotations that it said was the largest ever of its kind.

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