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Life imitates art, or does art imitate life? With OpenAI's DALL-E 2, art can imitate just about anything. The text-to-art platform allows users to generate images with their words instead of art supplies.
The concept sounds almost too simple (and futuristic) to be true: Type your idea into a text bar, and voila! But for the best results, you'll want to follow these tips and tricks to get the most realistic and accurate representations of your desired images.
How to use DALL-E 2 to generate images
1. Create an account on OpenAI's DALL-E 2's website
Before generating images, visit DALL-E 2's website and click the "Try DALL-E" button. The site will prompt you either to create an account or to sign in. You can do this on either a mobile or web browser.
Once you're logged in, you're ready to start creating. At the top of the webpage is the search bar. You will also find other images created by DALL-E 2 users underneath it. If you need some inspiration, roll your mouse over each one to see what prompts the artists used to generate the image.
3. Type a specific phrase into the search bar
Once you're ready to try your idea, type a phrase into the text input bar.
For example, "a modern painting of a cowboy using spaghetti to lasso a cow in the middle of outer space."
You may be thinking that the wording is oddly specific, and it is. Since the AI relies on your description as a prompt to create an image, it's best to be as particular as possible when writing your prompts.
You can designate an art style for the image by mentioning it in the prompt. Also, be clear about the positions of your subject(s) if you want something in the foreground versus the background. Otherwise, DALL-E 2 will populate everything through its interpretation.
4. Generate and modify
Select "Generate" when you're satisfied with your prompt, and DALL-E 2 will produce four different images for you to preview. If you're not satisfied with the images, identify any common denominator between the four and tweak your search phrase accordingly.
For example, you may want to move a subject to the foreground or background or reorder the terms in the phrase so that one thing comes before the other.
If you're satisfied with the output, select the image that you'd like to save.
5. Save and share
Once you've selected an image, it will appear in full size. You can save the image to your DALL-E 2 gallery from here by selecting the save button on the top right corner. You can save to your "Favorites" collection, which will constantly appear in a window to the right of your DALL-E 2 workspace, or to a specific collection you've started -- Pinterest-board style.
There is also an option to download the artwork in the upper right corner of the image. Your creation will save to your device, and you can send it to friends and family. Or, you can print the photo to have on display.
Tips and tricks to get the best DALL-E 2 results
Using AI tools to generate art can be fairly intuitive, but having so many possibilities and needing to specifically communicate your abstract ideas with a robot takes some practice. Here are some tips that make creating funky art even easier.
1. Draw from others' inspiration
If inspiration hasn't struck you quite yet or you're feeling overwhelmed, hover your mouse over an image or concept you like from the main page gallery and select "Click to try."
From there, DALL-E 2 will create similar variations, which you can customize with your own text description(s).
2. Don't be stuck, be surprised
If you lack inspiration, let the software be your muse. Above the input bar, select the "Surprise me" button. From there, a phrase will appear in the search bar. You can either hit the button again for a different result, modify the phrase with your personal touch, or keep it as is and generate it.
3. Explain to DALL-E 2 like it's a five-year-old
The other day, my colleague Sabrina Ortiz was trying to create a piece with a Corgi and a Yorkie. DALL-E 2 had no problem recognizing the word "Corgi" but struggled to process "Yorkie" or "Yorkshire Terrier". Instead, "Yorkie dog" did the trick. Essentially, the more specific, the better -- AI is smart, but you're smarter.
What is DALL-E 2?
Originally launched in early 2021, DALL-E 2 is OpenAI's artificial intelligence system that allows users to create art from textual input.
Is DALL-E 2 free?
Users who signed up with their email and created an account before April 6, 2023, are granted 15 free credits that expire and renew after each month. For example, I signed up on September 25, 2022, so I get 15 free "credits" until the 25th of each month, when they automatically renew. Note, however, that free credits don't roll over from month to month.
Unfortunately, new users just creating an account don't get the same free credit benefit and have to buy a minimum of 115 credits for $15. For a single DALL-E credit request, users can visit labs.openai.com, which is billed separately from DALL-E API.
When do DALL-E credits expire?
Free credits expire after every month until replenished on their renewal date. Paid credits expire 12 months after the purchase.
A credit is only cashed after a generation is inputted and completed, so searches that violate the content policy and are not generated won't be deducted from the free credits. You can check how many credits you have remaining each month by clicking on your profile icon in the upper right-hand corner of the search interface, and there's also an option to buy more, starting at $15 for 115 credits.
Can I use my DALL-E 2 creation for merchandise?
Yes. Arguably the best thing about DALL-E 2 is that users have full rights to commercially use, print, and merchandise their own unique, AI creations. Craiyon, another AI art generator, offers users the ability to order shirts with their designs on them from within the platform.
Since you technically create the idea for your artwork, you, by default, are the accredited artist for the AI-generated product. If you download the image, though, there will be a colorful DALL-E 2 watermark in the bottom right corner.
Is making art on DALL-E 2 ethical?
It's definitely cool that your art is credited to you and DALL-E 2, but it's important to recognize that DALL-E 2, along with other AI art generators, are trained on billions of pieces of art culled from the internet. These images have, and belong to, an original artist. While that artist isn't directly creating your DALL-E piece, your art does have elements from the original art without being credited to the artist. Whether or not AI-generated art is ethical is currently a hot topic of debate.
Can I use DALL-E 2 to create any image I want?
There are limits to what you can create with the platform. For example, DALL-E 2's content policy prohibits harmful, deceitful, or political content. Search terms for many public figures -- Taylor Swift, for example -- are prohibited to discourage deep fakes. While not all celebrities violate the content policy, their faces are often distorted for safety.
Is DALL-E 2 the same as Bing Image Creator?
Interestingly, Bing Image Creator actually uses a more advanced version of Open AI's DALLE-2. The rendered images differ in artistic subtleties and attention to detail, with Bing Image Creator producing a more vibrant, detailed image.