DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT Plus is helpful but also gave me images of laptops from 1900

Need quick, quality images for presentations? See how DALL-E 3 in ChatGPT could be a convenient, if occasionally tricky, solution.
Written by David Gewirtz, Senior Contributing Editor
Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

We've been discussing DALL-E, OpenAI's text-to-image generative AI tool, for quite some time now. It's been long available (at least long in generative AI terms) via its web interface at labs.openai.com. But recently, OpenAI made it accessible from within ChatGPT.

Also: How to use Midjourney to generate amazing images and art

I decided to go hands-on and see what it could do.

Enabling DALL-E 3 from within ChatGPT Plus

Like ChatGPT's other add-ons, the DALL-E feature is only available from within ChatGPT Plus. DALL-E 3 within ChatGPT Plus is currently listed as beta, but you don't have to enable it in the Settings panel.

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You will have to choose it from the GPT-4 drop-down menu, and choosing it eliminates access to Browse with Bing, ChatGPT Plugins, and Data Analytics.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

Once you've checked it off for your session, all that's needed is to feed it some prompts.

Let's see what we can get DALL-E to do

Issuing prompts is straightforward. Like ChatGPT, you want to provide clear prompts. And like Midjourney and other text-to-image tools, you want to provide some stylistic information, if you have a style in mind.

As my first prompt, I asked for a photorealistic Mac mini on a marble pedestal.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

I got back four renditions. I chose the third one by clicking on it, and got this larger image:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

As you can see, it's very reminiscent of a typical Mac mini. The case is a bit more rounded and the ports aren't exactly right, but it's definitely close. I was impressed. So much so that I tried to get DALL-E to produce a range of MacBook Pros.

Imagine, after creating a nearly perfect Mac mini, that I got back a "no Macs for you" response from ChatGPT:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET

So, I tried to get DALL-E to produce laptops, without any brand pedigree. Here's what I got back:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

Just in case you can't make out the details, let's zoom into the last one of the set

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

For some reason, I was comforted by the fact that ChatGPT saw fit to provide two laptops from the year 1900. Even though I was working with DALL-E, ChatGPT's ability to produce confident, yet completely wrong responses was still there. It felt like coming home to an old friend.

A handy PowerPoint-making machine

DALL-E in ChatGPT is substantially more limited than its standalone sibling and Midjourney. You can't upload images to it. You can't pan around an image and have DALL-E extend the image. You can't selectively edit portions of the image. But what it lacks in power it makes up for in convenience.

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Take the following image:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

If you need an image of someone working in a home office for a slide, you can generate one very quickly. To be fair, the image doesn't look exactly photo-realistic, but it's certainly good enough for PowerPoint use.

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

Or let's say you want to illustrate a meeting where sales revenues are going up. Here's a quick prompt and four versions, rendered to look like they stepped out of a Pixar cartoon:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

Of course, in true ChatGPT style, only one of the images actually has four people, but that's OK. I actually prefer the fourth version, which has six people:

Screenshot by David Gewirtz/ZDNET via DALL-E 3

Note: Diversity may be an issue. Of the 22 executives DALL-E 3 generated, only two of them appear to be of color. If you're making slides or otherwise producing materials, you might want to be aware of this issue and guide DALL-E appropriately.

Some closing thoughts

So there you go. It's very easy to get started in text-to-image with the DALL-E add-on to ChatGPT. I recommend you give it a try. I'm still going to keep my paid Midjourney account because I do use some of the advanced features for projects, but I'll definitely dip in and out of DALL-E in ChatGPT for quick images.

Also: How to get a perfect face swap using Midjourney AI

What about you? Have you used text-to-image tools? Which ones? What has your experience been? Let me know in the comments below.

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