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The best DALL-E alternatives you should try out
AI image generators like DALL-E have been making headlines. The fact is we are in the midst of an explosion of imagery that has been generated via artificial intelligence from natural-language text input. 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, 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.
9 best alternatives to DALL-E
The more AI art generators you try, the better you’ll understand how the process works and what its capabilities and limitations, are. Here’s a list of sites that we’ve tried that give results that measure up to DALL-E.
Midjourney’s image generation 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 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 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.
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 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
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.
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.
Bing Image Creator
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 under the hood.
So why use Microsoft’s service instead of DALL-E? Because unlike the latter, you can use 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.
Anything you could do with something you physically created — print it, sell it, make a new product with it, etc.
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.