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The best AI image generators to try right now

AI image generators use text prompts to produce images in seconds. I tested the best AI image generators and found that DALL-E isn't your only option.
Written by Sabrina Ortiz, Editor
Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) | Best AI image generator overall
Image Creator from Designer rendering
Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)
Best AI image generator overall
View now View at Microsoft
DALL-E 3 by OpenAI | Best AI image generator if you want to experience the inspiration
ChatGPT rendition
DALL-E 3 by OpenAI
Best AI image generator if you want to experience the inspiration
View now View at Openai
Imagen 2 in Gemini (formerly Google Bard) | The best AI image generator if you're a Google user
Gemini image generation
Imagen 2 in Gemini (formerly Google Bard)
The best AI image generator if you're a Google user
View now View at Gemini.google
DreamStudio by Stability AI | Best AI image generator for customization
DreamStudio renderings
DreamStudio by Stability AI
Best AI image generator for customization
View now View at DreamStudio
Dream by WOMBO | Best AI image generator for your phone
dream-by-wombo screenshot
Dream by WOMBO
Best AI image generator for your phone
View now View at Dream
Craiyon | Best no-frills AI image generator
Craiyon screenshot
Craiyon
Best no-frills AI image generator
View now View at Craiyon
Midjourney | Best AI image generator for highest quality photos
midjourney screenshot
Midjourney
Best AI image generator for highest quality photos
View now View at Midjourney
Adobe Firefly | Best AI Image Generator if you have a reference photo
Adobe Firefly Results
Adobe Firefly
Best AI Image Generator if you have a reference photo
View now View at Adobe
Generative AI by Getty Images | Best AI Image Generator for businesses
Generative AI by Getty Images hero images
Generative AI by Getty Images
Best AI Image Generator for businesses
View now View at Getty Images
Nightcafe
nightcafe screenshot
Nightcafe
View now View at Creator.nightcafe
Canva
Canva yorkies on a beach with snow
Canva
View now View at Canva
Show more (6 items)

OpenAI's DALL-E 2 made a huge splash as the first mainstream AI image generator. Other companies have released models since that rival DALL-E 2, and OpenAI even released a more advanced model, DALL-E 3, and discontinued its predecessor. 

To help you discover which models are better for different tasks, I put the image generators to the test by giving each tool the same prompt: "Two Yorkies sitting on a beach that is covered in snow." I also included screenshots to help you decide which is best.

What is the best AI image generator overall? 

Microsoft Designer's Image Creator is the best overall AI image generator. Like DALL-E 3, it combines accuracy, speed, and cost-effectiveness and can generate high-quality images in seconds. Unlike DALL-E 3, Microsoft's tool is entirely free.

Whether you want to generate images of animals, objects, or even abstract concepts, Image Creator can produce accurate depictions that meet your expectations. It is highly efficient, user-friendly, and cost-effective.

For the full roundup of the best AI image generators, keep reading.

The best AI image creators of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Powered by DALL-E 3
  • Quick
  • Convenient to access
Cons
  • Need a Microsoft account
  • UI's appeal
More Details

Microsoft Designer's Image Creator is powered by DALL-E 3, OpenAI's most advanced image-generating model. It produces the same quality results as DALL-E, but it's free, so you don't have to pay the $20-per-month ChatGPT Plus subscription to use DALL-E.

To access the image generator, visit the Image Creator website and sign in with a Microsoft account. 

Another major perk about this AI generator is that you can also access it in the same place where you can access Microsoft's AI chatbot, Copilot (formerly Bing Chat).

This means that in addition to visiting Image Creator on its standalone site, you can ask it to generate images for you in Copilot. To render an image, all you have to do is conversationally ask Copilot to draw you any image you'd like.

Also: How to use Image Creator from Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)

This is convenient: you can satisfy all your image-generating and AI-chatting needs in the same place, for free. This combination facilitates tasks that could benefit from image and text generation, such as party planning, as you can ask the chatbot to generate themes for your party and then create images that follow the theme.

Image Creator from Microsoft Designer features: Powered by: DALL-E 3 | Access via: Copilot, browser, mobile | Output: four images per prompt | Price: Free 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Fast
  • Not copyrighted
  • Accurate depictions
Cons
  • Confusing credits
  • No app
More Details

OpenAI, the AI startup behind ChatGPT, launched DALL-E 2 in November 2022. The tool quickly became the most popular AI image generator on the market. After launching its most advanced image generator, DALL-E 3, OpenAI discontinued DALL-E 2.

DALL-E 3 is even more capable than the original model, but this comes at a cost. To access DALL-E 3, you must be a ChatGPT Plus subscriber, and the membership costs $20 per month. Once subscribed, you can access DALL-E 3 via ChatGPT or the ChatGPT app.

Using DALL-E 3 is very intuitive. Type in whatever prompt you'd like, specifying as much detail as necessary to bring your vision to life, and DALL-E 3 will generate one to two images that match your prompt. As you can see in the image at the top of the article, the renditions are high-quality and very realistic.

OpenAI even recently added new ways to edit an image generated by the chatbot, including easy conversational text prompts and the ability to click on parts of the image you want to edit. 

Also: DALL-E adds new ways to edit and create AI-generated images. Learn how to use it

Like with Copilot, you can chat and render your images on the same platform, making it convenient to work on projects that depend on image and text generation. If you don't want to shell out the money, Image Creator is a great alternative since it's free, uses DALL-E 3, and can be accessed via Copilot. 

DALL-E 3 features: Powered by: DALL-E 3 by OpenAI | Access via: ChatGPT website and app | Output: One image per prompt | Price: ChatGPT Plus subscription, $20 per month

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Easy-to-use
  • High-quality results
  • Four images per prompt
Cons
  • Need a Google account
  • Strict guardrails can be limiting
More Details

Since launching Gemini (at the time Bard), Google has updated the service with the ability to generate photos. Using Imagen 2, the image generator can produce high-quality, realistic outputs, even of objects that are difficult to render, such as hands.

Like ChatGPT and Copilot, you can access it while chatting with Gemini, which is useful to avoid context-switching between different platforms for your text and image generation needs. Unlike DALL-E, it generates four images simultaneously, helping you get the most out of a single prompt. 

If you are a Google user, you will probably enjoy Gemini's user interface because it keeps the same look and feel you experience in Google Search. It has attributes such as a Google icon that you can click on to double-check the validity of the response by searching Google and clickable links that take you to Google Search. 

Imagen 2 in Gemini: Powered by: Imagen 2 | Access via: Website or app | Output: 4 images | Price: free 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Accepts specific instruction
  • Open source
  • More entries for customization
Cons
  • Paid credits
  • Need to create an account
More Details

Stability AI created the massively popular, open-sourced, text-to-image generator, Stable Diffusion. Users can download the tool and use it at no cost. However, using this tool typically requires technical skill. 

AlsoHow to use Stable Diffusion AI to create amazing images

To make the technology readily accessible to everyone (regardless of skill level), Stability AI created DreamStudio, which incorporates Stable Diffusion in a UI that is easy to understand and use. 

One of the platform's standout features is that it includes many different entries for customization, including a "negative prompt" where you can delineate the specifics of what you'd like to avoid in the final image. You can also easily change the image ratio--that's a key feature, as most AI image generators automatically deliver 1:1. 

DreamStudio features: Powered by: SDXL 1.0 by Stability AI | Access via: Website | Output: 1 image per 2 credits | Price: $1 per 100 credits | Credits: 25 free credits when you open an account; buy purchase once you run out

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Mobile app
  • Remix your own images
  • Multiple templates
Cons
  • One image per prompt
  • Subscription cost for full access
More Details

This app took the first-place spot for the best overall app in Google Play's 2022 awards, and it has 4.8 stars on Apple's App Store with 142.8K ratings. Dream lets you create art and images with the simple input of a quick prompt. 

An added plus is this AI image generator allows you to pick different design styles, such as realistic, expressionist, comic, abstract, fanatical, ink, and more. 

AlsoHow to use Dream by WOMBO to generate artwork in any style

In addition to the app, the tool has a free desktop mobile version that is simple to use. If you want to take your use of the app to the next level, you can pay $90 per year or $10 per month.

Dream by WOMBO features: Powered by: WOMBO AI's machine-learning algorithm | Access via: Mobile and desktop versions | Output: 1 image with a free version, 4 with a paid plan | Price: Free limited access

Craiyon screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free
  • Unlimited access
  • Simple to use
Cons
  • Longer wait
  • Inconsistent images
More Details

Despite originally being named DALL-E mini, this AI image generator is NOT affiliated with OpenAI or DALL-E. Rather, it is an open-source alternative. However, the name somewhat fits as the tool does everything DALL-E does, but with less precise renditions. 

AlsoHow to use Craiyon AI (formerly known as DALL-E mini)

Unlike DALL-E, the outputs from Craiyon aren't as high of quality and take longer to render (approximately a minute). However, because you have unlimited prompts, you can continue to tweak the prompt until you get your exact vision. 

You can also include "negative words", which help you describe what you don't want to see, ensuring you get the best result. The site is simple and perfect for experimenting with AI image generators. It also generates six images, more than any other chatbot listed. 

Craiyon features: Powered by: Their model | Access viaCraiyon website | Output: nine images per prompt | Price: Free, unlimited prompts 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Very high-quality outputs
  • No duds
  • Discord community
Cons
  • Monthly cost
  • Confusing to set up
More Details

I often play around with AI image generators because they make it fun and easy to create digital artwork. Despite all my experiences with different AI generators, nothing could have prepared me for Midjourney -- in the best way. 

The output of the image was so crystal clear that I had a hard time believing it wasn't an actual photo that someone had taken. This software is so good that it has produced award-winning art.

That said, I think Midjourney isn't user-friendly and it confuses me. If you also need extra direction, check out our step-by-step how-to here: How to use Midjourney to generate amazing images and art.

Another problem with the tool is that you may not access it for free. When I tried to render images, I got this error message: "Due to extreme demand, we can't provide a free trial right now. Please subscribe to create images with Midjourney." If you're looking for realistic quality, however, I would say it is worth the investment. 

To show you the quality of renditions, I've included a close-up below from a previous time I tested the generator. The prompt was: "A baby Yorkie sitting on a comfy couch in front of the NYC skyline." 

Midjourney features: Powered by: Midjourney; utilizes Discord | Access via: Discord | Output: nine images per prompt | Price: Starts at $10/month

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Structure and Style Reference
  • Commercial-safe
  • Free
Cons
  • Longer lag than other generators
  • More specific prompts required
More Details

Adobe has been a leader in developing creative tools for creative and working professionals for decades. As a result, it's no surprise that its image generator is impressive. Accessing the generator is easy. Just visit the website and type the prompt of the image you'd like generated.

Also: This new AI tool from Adobe makes generating the images you need even simpler

As you can see above, the images rendered of the Yorkies are high-quality, realistic, and detailed. Additionally, the biggest standout features of this chatbot are its Structure Reference and Style Reference features.

Structure Reference lets you input an image you want the AI model to use as a template. The model then uses this structure to create a new image with the same layout and composition. Style Reference uses an image as a reference to generate a new image in the same style. 

These features are useful if you have an image you'd like the new, generated image to resemble, like a quick sketch you drew or even a business logo or style you'd like to keep consistent. 

Another perk is that Adobe Firefly was trained on Adobe Stock images, openly licensed content, and public domain content, making all the images generated safe for commercial use and addressing the ethical issue of image generators. 

Adobe Firefly features: Powered by: Firefly Image 2 | Access via: Website | Output: four images per prompt | Price: Free 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Commercially safe
  • Contributor compensation program
  • Personalized stock photos
Cons
  • Not clear about pricing
  • Not individual-friendly
More Details

One of the biggest issues with AI image generators is that they typically train their generators on content scraped from the internet, which means the generators use aspects of creators' art without compensation. This approach also puts businesses that use generators at risk of copyright infringement.

Generative AI by Getty Images tackles that issue by generating images with content solely from Getty Images' vast creative library, with full indemnification for commercial use. The generated images have Getty Images' standard royalty-free license, assuring you that the content is fair to use without fearing legal repercussions.

Another pro is that contributors whose content was used to train the models are supposed to be compensated for their inclusion in the training set. This is a great solution for businesses that want stock photos that match their creative vision but do not want to deal with copyright-related issues. 

Generative AI by Getty Images features: Powered by: Nvidia Picasso | Access via: Website | Output: four images per prompt | Price: Paid (price undisclosed, have to contact the team)

What is the best AI image generator?

Microsoft Designer's Image Creator is the best overall AI image generator. Like DALL-E 3, Image Creator from Microsoft Designer combines accuracy, speed, and cost-effectiveness, and can generate high-quality images in seconds. However, unlike DALL-E 3, Microsoft's tool is entirely free.

Whether you want to generate images of animals, objects, or even abstract concepts, Image Creator can produce accurate depictions that meet your expectations. It is highly efficient, user-friendly, and cost-effective.

AI image generator 

Price 

Output speed 

Accessibility 

Image Creator from Microsoft Designer 

Free 

Fast

Web and app

DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT

$20 per month

Fast

Web and app

Imagen 2 in Gemini

Free

Fast

Web and app

DreamStudio by Stability AI

Free + Credits 

Fast 

Web 

Dream by WOMBO

Free + Subscription

Fast

Mobile and Desktop

Craiyon

Free

Slower

Web

Midjourney

Starts at $10/month

Fast

Web

Adobe Firefly 

Free

Fast 

Web

Generative AI by Getty Images

Cost determined by chatting with the sales team

-

Web


Note: Prices and features are subject to change.

What are AI image generators and what are they capable of?

An AI image generator is software that uses AI to create images from user text inputs, usually within seconds. The pictures vary in style depending on the software's capabilities, but they can typically be rendered in any style you want, including 3D, 2D, cinematic, modern, Renaissance, and more. 

If you've ever searched Google for hours to find an image you needed, artificial intelligence (AI) may be able to help. 

With AI image generators, you can type in a prompt as detailed or vague as you'd like to fit an array of purposes and have the image you were thinking of instantly pop up on your screen. These tools can help with branding, social media content creation, and making invitations, flyers, business cards, and more.

Also: ChatGPT no longer requires a login, but you might want one anyway. Here's why

Even if you have no professional use for AI, don't worry -- the process is so fun that anyone can (and should) try it out.

How do you use AI image generators?

Like other generative AI models, AI image generators require a lot of data. Typically, these models are trained on billions of images, which are then used to create new images. Because of the extensive amounts of data these generators are trained on, they can produce impressive photos. 

Follow these simple steps to get started using one yourself: 

1) Visit the website of the generator you are interested in using.

2) Sign in or create an account if the site requires you to have one to access the generator. 

3) Type a detailed prompt about what you'd like the generator to output. 

For a more thorough breakdown of how to start using AI Image generators, check out: How to use Microsoft Designer's Image Creator (formerly Bing Image Creator).

Which is the right AI image generator for you?

Although I crowned Image Creator the best AI image generator overall, other AI image generators perform better for specific tasks. For example, suppose you are a professional using AI image generation for your business. In that case, you may need a tool like Generative AI by Getty Images, which renders images safe for commercial use.

On the other hand, if you want to play with AI art generation for entertainment purposes, Craiyon might be the best option because it's free, unlimited, and easy to use. 

Choose this AI image generator...

If you want...

Microsoft Designer's Image Creator  

The best AI image generator overall. In Copilot, you can get all your image-generating needs met while chatting with the bot and getting all your questions answered. The image generator is reliable, quick, and accessible. 

DALL-E 3

An upgraded version of the original best AI image generator that combines accuracy, speed, and cost-effectiveness. It lets you generate high-quality images quickly and easily, making it an ideal tool for artists, designers, and anyone looking to create unique and original content.

Gemini 

The best AI image generators for beginners with multiple features that facilitate prompt writing, including expressive chips and style suggestions. 

DreamStudio by Stability AI

The best customizable AI image generator that includes tools in its UI that make it easy to get the exact rendition you want. The fields include size, style, negative prompts, image prompts, and more. 

Dream by WOMBO

The best AI image generator for your phone with multiple templates, realistic renditions, and a mobile app. It also has a free limited access version, making it a great option for those who don't want to spend too much money.

Craiyon

The best no-frills AI image generator with unlimited prompts and a straightforward interface.

Midjourney

The best AI image generator for high-quality renderings and crystal-clear images with a Discord community, allowing you to share and view other users' outputs. 

Adobe Firefly 

The best AI image generator if you have a reference photo you'd like for the AI image generator to use as inspiration in either structure or style when rendering a new image. 

Generative AI by Getty Images

The best AI image generator for business applications. It generates images with content from Getty Images's vast creative library, meaning the images rendered are commercially safe. 

How did I choose these AI image generators?

To find the best AI image generators, I tested each generator listed and compared their performance. The factors that went into testing performance included UI/UX, image results, cost, speed, and availability. Each AI image generator had different strengths and weaknesses, making each one the ideal fit for individuals as listed next to my picks. 

  • UI/UX: The interface design and overall user experience are a big factor. Even though using an image generator should be as simple as typing in a text prompt, some platforms overcomplicate things, making it hard to get started.

  • Image results: If you use an image generator, it is likely because you want to produce high-quality art, pictures, or other media. Therefore, perhaps one of the biggest factors surrounding a model's efficiency is its ability to create realistic and detailed images with as few artifacts as possible.

  • Cost: There are so many great free AI image generators on the market that price plays a big factor. We want to ensure that if you have to pay to use a model, it is worth every penny, since some of the free generators can produce incredible outputs. 

  • Speed: Many image generators can produce images in seconds, setting the expectation for image generators to be quick. Therefore, it is noticeable when a model takes longer to create a generation. Slowness is a significant con. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best free image generator?

The best free image generator is Microsoft Designer's Image Creator because it uses OpenAI's DALL-E 3 and is free. When accessing DALL-E 3 from OpenAI's services, you need to pay. 

Are there ethical implications with AI image generators?

AI image generators are trained on billions of images found across the internet. These images are often artworks belonging to specific artists, which AI reimagines and repurposes to generate your image. Although the output is different, the new image has elements of the artist's original work that are not credited to them.

Are AI-generated images copyrighted?

Whether an AI-generated image is copyrighted depends on the terms of the generator you are using. The copyright policies also vary between subscription tiers. The best way to proceed is not to make assumptions, and double-check before you use or publish.

Are there DALL-E 3 alternatives worth considering?

Contrary to what you might think, there are many AI image generators other than DALL-E 3. Some tools produce even better results than OpenAI's software. If you want to try something different, check out one of our alternatives above or the two additional options below. 

nightcafe screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Nightcafe is a multipurpose AI image generator. It lets you create unique and original artwork using different inputs and styles, including abstract, impressionism, and expressionism.

Canva yorkies on a beach with snow
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Canva is a versatile and powerful AI image generator that offers a wide range of options within its design platform. It lets you create professional-looking designs for different marketing channels, including social media posts, ads, flyers, and brochures. 

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