If you haven’t heard about how hot AI tools are these days, you have probably been on a space trip recently. Jokes aside, AI tools have taken the minds of creators by storm over the last 6 months. The introduction of ChatGPT and Dall-E image generator as free public tools accelerated the buzz about AI tools. AI is now hard at working generating images, photos, text, sound effects, and more.
For creators, AI tools like image and photo generators, for example, offer so much more in terms of access to new ideas, new visual solutions, and, of course, access to cheaper or free creative assets.
Here we are covering six AI image generators that you can try in your creative workflow. The tools are both free and paid. We will also discuss AI image generators as a new family of online tools: what they are, how they work, and how they are trained.
Disclaimer: If you wonder if this article was written with the help of AI… Well, we used ChatGPT to rewrite certain sentences that we did not like. But over 95% of this article is human written. That’s a funny disclaimer to include, isn’t it?
What are AI Image Generators?
AI image and photo generators are usually web-based programs that use massive databases or algorithms with the purpose of creating new images based on descriptions or commands from users. Users like you and I can insert text commands or upload other images into these image generating tools.
To understand the magic of image creation, we need to explore deep learning and neural networks for a minute. Yes, AI image generators work through deep learning and neural networks, which are advanced algorithms that analyze complex data. These networks can recognize patterns in images and use them to create new ones.
Whatever naysayers may insist on, this technology is groundbreaking in its nature because it opens a new world of possibilities in digital art. With AI image generators, artists can now create unique and beautiful pieces without having to start from scratch every time.
If you work in the field of advertising and marketing, you already see the benefits and practical applications for AI in the design and creation of appealing visuals fast and at scale!
Best AI Image Generators
We have analyzed and tried several AI image and photo generators over the last several months. While we were floored by the speed of how new images were generated, we were not necessarily happy with the quality of the AI-generated images.
Before we jump into our top AI image generators, let’s voice some concerns that, hopefully, the companies managing these algorithms and tools will hear.
The quality of AI generated visuals is low even if you’re paying for the tool. We get it – it’s a young technology!
AI generated visuals tend to follow the user input to the dot. This sometimes defies the laws of physics, where the generated visuals are not of this world (in the bad sense of this phrase).
There is no clarity and uniformity about licensing of AI-generated creative assets. If our input is unique and the resulting image is unique too, who owns the right to the image: us or the tool? If we have generated the image and it’s then used in an image library that’s associated with the AI image generator, who owns the rights to the composition and the physical asset?
While we will leave these questions to the owners of the tools to answer, let’s see the best AI image generators today.
Free AI Image Generators
Below we have three interesting AI image generators that you can try and use without paying any fee.
DALL-E Image Generator
You probably expected DALL-E to be at the top of our list. Yes, it is here. It’s at the top not because it’s so great. It still has a lot of flaws, just look at this generated image of “NBA player dunking”. The imperfections are too numerous and too visible.
DALL-E is free! You will need to log in to use the image generator. DALL-E does not have an app yet, which is a drawback.
DALL-E does have a paid plan – you can buy credits to generate more images. Each credit allows to generate 4 images.
Hotpot AI Tools
Hotpot is actually a family of AI-driven tools. Here is what you get in the mix:
- AI art maker
- Remove backgrounds
- AI Headshot Generator
- Remove objects
- Colorize old photos
- Personalize art
- Restore damaged pictures
- Enhance faces
The AI art maker is free. You don’t get too much though. The images generated are very small.
Hotpot makes money by inviting you to license the visual you generated. You are happy with the low resolution of the final image, go with free. You don’t have to sign up to use the free tool. Here is what we got for “massive tower in a rustic landscape“:
Deep AI Image Generator
Deep AI also has a free AI image generator. You generate images quickly. Deep AI is clear about what you get within their tool.
The AI-generated images from Deep AI have no copyright and are considered public domain, free for commercial use for any legal purpose. You can also use the generated images for NFTs.
Deep AI does not offer high resolution or high-quality images. So larger prints might result in significant blurring.
Deep AI is the only tool in our list that’s honest about its image generator. The quality of the images will improve over time, they are saying. So, check the site out from time to time to see what updates Deep AI brings to their image generator.
Craiyon AI Image Generator
Crayion is another powerful player in the world of AI image generation. The tool is positioned as free, but the wait time to generate visuals may be up to 2 minutes. By signing up for a monthly subscription ($5/month), you get faster generation times and no ads.
Crayion has its own DALL-e mini as their AI engine, which attemps to replicate the success of DALL-E. It looks like it is happening as Crayion is a successful and sought-after service today. As a free user, be ready for longer wait times because it’s so popular.
The priority system in Craiyon draws are processed based on your subscription level. During high traffic, the site may temporarily be unable to run prompts from free users.
It’s also good to know that Craiyon Search is a service that enables people to search through images generated by free users. The results are anonymous, and the site does not store who generated the images.
Crayion also requests free users to leave the small Craiyon logo on the image and mention that it was created with Craiyon.
Bing Image Creator
Bing release its own response to AI image creation under the name Bing Image Creator. This AI image generator is completely free, but you will need to sign in or sign up with a Microsoft account. Your old Hotmail, Live.com or Outlook email may work to log in. You are limited to 25 generated images per day. This AI image creator runs on Open.AI’s DALL-E engine. So you can expect a similar experience within Bing’s Image Creator.
Paid AI Image Generators
Paid platforms usually offer a better service and higher image quality.
Midjourney is the best paid image AI generator in our opinion when it comes to the quality of the visuals produced. Midjourney offers crystal-clear output of the image, which can look like an actual photo. The software has even produced award-winning art, which is a testament to its quality.
Midjourney is not fully free. You will need to sign up through Discord and join the beta version of the site (as of this writing). You will receive 25 free renderings, and you can upgrade to a plan starting at $8 per month for more. What’s even better is that you can see other people’s inputs and outputs in the Discord community. This creates a lot of peer-to-peer camaraderie and fun!
Despite the good quality, you will still need to go through the hassles of getting through to the tool. The cost and setup process can be a bit confusing.
Shutterstock AI Image Generator
Shutterstock, one of the leading stock image libraries, that has been supplying imagery for over 15 years, has also embraced AI image generation. Shutterstock’s AI image generator is using the LG AI Research that is more advanced that Open AI’s DALL-E (or, at least, that’s our team’s perception after we compared the output images in both tools).
You can get access to Shutterstock’s AI image generator for free and try it.
But you need to pay a licensing fee to download your AI generated work on Shutterstock. Depending on your preference, you may end up paying between a couple of dollars to over $14 per image (even if it’s AI generated).
Shutterstock doesn’t currently have any plan or subscriptions that focuses on AI-generated content only. But you can already filter images down to AI-generated only.
Also, Shutterstock is not accepting AI-generated images into their stock library. This may change in the future, though.
PS: Adobe Stock is the only large library that seems to accept AI generated images from individual contributors, if you are interested to know.
How AI Image Generators Work
How do these sophisticated tools work? AI image generators create captivating visuals by studying huge datasets of images. By combining various elements from the datasets, these algorithms generate new and unique images based on what you input as text or other images into the tool.
AI image generators can focus on specific aspects like color or texture, resulting in more targeted and purposeful creations.
The more the AI system learns, the better its capabilities become, leading to even more breathtaking visuals. AI image generators are changing the game when it comes to creative design, and with technological advancements, we can expect even more amazing creations in the future.
Training Data Sets for AI Image Generators
AI image generators need a training data set, which is a collection of visual data used to generate similar images. The quality and diversity of the data set can impact the AI generator’s final output.
For example, if the training data set only includes images of cats from one angle, the AI generator may struggle to create realistic pictures of cats from other angles.
To avoid such situations, the companies that manage these algorithms seek a diverse and high-quality training data set so that the tool can produce accurate and imaginative images. You should not be surprised to hear that sites like Shutterstock or Adobe Stock or Getty Images have deals with AI image generators and give them access to their image libraries. Open-source libraries and paid services like Flickr’s Creative Commons database, ImageNet, and Google’s Open Images dataset, provide training data sets, as well.
The Process of Generating Images Using AI
Let’s get more technical in our story about the AI image generation.
Generating images using AI is a young field that involves a range of techniques and processes. One such method is the Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), where two neural networks collaborate to create original images. The first network generates images, while the second critiques them for authenticity. This continues until the second network cannot differentiate between real and generated images.
Another approach is the Variational Autoencoders (VAEs), which use statistical models to produce new images based on existing ones. This results in detailed and intricate images.
The process of generating AI images is a young technology, but it’s ever evolving. Expect it to become more sophisticated with time. The possibilities for AI-generated images are endless, and as technology advances, we can expect even more incredible creations!
Let’s sum it all up. There is no doubt that AI image generators are revolutionizing the way we approach creativity and innovation. The use of AI tools is opening new possibilities for artists, designers, and marketers alike, allowing them to generate stunning visuals in a fraction of the time compared to what it would take to create the same visual work manually.
With the free or paid AI tools that we listed above, you have access to a wealth of resources to enhance your work, get new ideas, and scale up your art creation. With AI’s ability to recognize patterns and generate unique images, you can unlock your creativity and produce breathtaking works of art.
The future benefits of using AI image generators go beyond just creating beautiful images. They will allow for more efficient workflows, which means you can spend more time on the creative process and less time on the technicalities. AI tools will also help us achieve consistency in art creation, which is crucial for brand identity and recognition.
Our final verdict is that AI image generators are valuable tools to have in your arsenal. They offer endless possibilities and have the potential to take your creativity to the next level. So, don’t be afraid to explore the world of AI image generators and see what incredible things you can create!