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The best DALL-E alternatives you should try out

We are in the midst of an explosion of imagery.
By

Published onApril 11, 2024

AI image generators like DALL-E have made headlines for making professional art accessible to all. For the first time ever, you can type in a few words and have artificial intelligence generate realistic-looking images. But ever since DALL-E 2 arrived in 2022, excitement — and controversy — have followed the phenomenon around the internet. While the imagery generated by AI is certainly entertaining, and even useful, working artists have taken issue with the ability of online image generators to copy their style, deliberately and accurately.

Among the many alternatives to DALL-E 3, some are completely free while others require a subscription. Cutting-edge AI power does come at a cost, but there are plenty of companies like Microsoft that have subsidized the tech for anyone to use. So without wasting any more time, here are the best DALL-E alternatives worth trying.

10 best alternatives to DALL-E

The more AI art generators you try, the better you’ll understand how the process works and its various capabilities and limitations. Here’s a list of sites that we’ve tried that give results that measure up to DALL-E.

Midjourney

Midjourney on smartphone stock photo (1)

Midjourney’s image generation is a bit unconventional as the whole process takes place in a Discord chatroom. You enter /imagine in the chat box, and then your prompt. The Midjourney bot generates four images and attaches them in a reply, along with the choice to upscale any of them or create variations on each result. You can click on any image to download it.

Midjourney creates painterly textures very well, and the level of detail some artists are coaxing out of it is truly impressive. But the busy nature of the room means your results are continually scrolling out of sight as the art of other users comes up. That said, it’s one of the easiest image generation platforms and it outperforms most image generators in terms of realism. The only downside? You have to pony up for one of Midjourney’s subscription plans to get in on the action.

Craiyon

Dalle alternatives Craiyon Results

Craiyon is very similar to DALL-E, on which it was based. In fact, Craiyon’s name was DALL-E Mini until OpenAI asked them to change it. Craiyon was trained on a smaller database than DALL-E was, so it is not as precise as DALL-E. Faces in particular look smeared and indistinct, as you can see from the results above.

But it is free and unlimited and the content range is unrestricted in regard to adult or political subject matter. Craiyon also provides a forum to share your results with the world.

Stable Diffusion

dall e alternatives Stable Diffusion Results

Stable Diffusion is slightly different from the other image generators we’re discussing because you can download the code for it and run it on your own computer (you’ll need a dedicated GPU). It creates beautiful images of landscapes and architecture. We’ve compared Midjourney vs. Stable Diffusion and found that the latter performs quite competitively, especially considering its non-existent price tag.

Stable Diffusion has trouble creating photorealistic images of people or animals, which come out extremely distorted, but other art styles (such as watercolor or pen-and-ink) look like the product of a talented human artist. It has some of DALL-E’s restrictions but is more permissive in other areas — go ahead and make pictures of political and other famous figures. For even more freedom, you can download a plethora of models to remove all restrictions. Just keep in mind that you’ll need a fairly beefy computer to run Stable Diffusion offline.

Meta Imagine

Facebook’s parent company Meta has developed its own AI image generator, creatively called Imagine. The company used publicly shared images from Facebook and Instagram, so the model works quite well if you need realistic images. That said, it can generate a variety of art styles as long as you specify your preferences.

While Meta Imagine is completely free to use, it doesn’t offer much in the way of customization. This means you can’t generate rectangular images or upscale for improved quality. It also adds a watermark to the bottom-left of each AI-generated image, which you cannot remove without cropping.

Wombo Dream

Wombo Dream 1

Dream by Wombo is a free AI art generator that is available on their website and as an app for Android and iOS. It is free to use, and the AI seems to specialize in dreamy, surreal images, but it can also create faces and human figures much better than some of the other choices.

Close-ups and portraits have much more defined details than longer perspectives. At Wombo Dream, you can augment your text input with a mandatory choice of art style. The output is locked to portrait orientation, unlike the square frames seen elsewhere. Nudity or sexual topics will be rejected by the app, but famous names and politicians are acceptable.

Simplified

dall e alternatives Simplified Results

Simplified is a commercial website that offers various AI-driven products, such as computer-generated copy for blog posts. It has recently added AI-generated imagery. The images are meant for use in blog posts and similar online applications, so the images are small compared to DALL-E.

The interesting thing about Simplified’s UI is that you not only enter the subject matter as text, but also choose a style, a camera angle, and a filter (though you can leave these blank). Like many of the sites on this list, Simplified’s faces are much more recognizable in close-up perspective. Simplified has restrictions on both nudity and politics/famous people in place. It also restricts you to 10 generated images before you have to pay.

Adobe Photoshop Generative Fill

photoshop generative fill on laptop
 
Adobe’s famous Photoshop editing suite has gained an impressive new AI image generation feature that also allows you to extend existing pictures and remove distractions. In our hands-on, we found Photoshop Generative Fill quite intuitive and easy to use. This is because you don’t even need to type a prompt if you’re editing an existing image; simply draw a selection and hit the Generate button. Like many other image generators on this list, it sometimes struggles to recreate human features.
 
The Generative Fill feature doesn’t require any payment beyond an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, which you already need to access Photoshop. And if you’re just curious enough to give it a try, you can simply sign up for a free seven-day trial of Photoshop. However, you only get a limited number of credits to use each month so it’s not the most cost-efficient option.
 

Starryai

dall e alternative DALL E Alternatives Starry AI

Starryai is similar to Wombo Dream and Simplified. You have a text input and a selection of styles to choose from. This engine is a bit slower because the product takes significantly longer to generate.

Starryai will let you upload a photo as a starting point for image generation. It also seems to have the same problem as Stable Diffusion in that human faces and limbs come out distorted and unrecognizable in photorealistic renders — stick to watercolor or oil paint styles to get the best out of Starryai. For landscapes and moody backgrounds, however, it excels.

ImgCreator.ai

dall e alternative ImgCreator.ai watercolor of Artemis moon mission orbiting the Moon

This entry is interesting in that in addition to the text input and a menu of art styles to mimic, ImgCreator.ai will let you choose your aspect ratio from square, portrait, or landscape. Like Starryai, it allows you to upload an image for the AI to get creative with, and the results are startling, as it filters your image in the same art style as you describe in text.

It is equally adept at creating landscapes or fantasy scenes as it is at human portraits and animals. ImgCreator.ai is only free for 10 images. As with many of the AI art sites, you can purchase more.

Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator)

Bing Image Creator on a phone showing one image of a blue AI creature with orange eyes in front of a display with zeros and ones

Microsoft entered the AI scene with its Bing Chat chatbot in late 2022. Only a few months later, the company added an image generator called Bing Image Creator. Given Microsoft’s close association with OpenAI, it’s not surprising that Bing’s image creator uses DALL-E 3 under the hood.

So why use Microsoft’s service instead of DALL-E? Because unlike the latter, you can use Microsoft Designer (formerly Bing Image Creator) for free with a reasonable usage limit that replenishes every week. Using it is simple too; just enter a text-based prompt and get four images within a matter of seconds. You can’t change any settings or dials, but the price can’t be beat.

FAQs

Anything you could do with something you physically created — admire or print it. However, some platforms have restrictive licenses that prevent you from using the art for commercial use.

Currently, no. Some artists are concerned about this development, however, so what may be permissible in the future is anyone’s guess.

The answer to that depends on whether you see art as the final product, or as an organic human process that arrives at the final product. This debate has gone on for a long time and will not be conclusively settled any time soon.