The world of digital art has been transformed by the emergence of AI art generators.
Art is an expression of human creativity, and with the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), a new era of artistic creation has begun. AI art generators, powered by various advanced algorithms and datasets, have revolutionized the way we produce and experience art. By simply inputting prompts of varying levels of detail and specificity, users can receive a corresponding image instantly. These tools are advantageous in aiding with various creative projects, such as branding, social media content creation and vision board development, among others.
AI art generators take on various forms, including the widely used text-to-image generators and image-based generators that utilize existing art pieces, visual styles and imagery. The resulting artworks can range from abstract designs to realistic portraits, mimicking human creativity and provoking thought. However, as these algorithms derive from existing ideas and images, AI-generated art raises ethical concerns about originality and intellectual property.
In this article, we will explore the four most popular AI art generators that are making waves in the art world and examine the potential ethical and legal issues associated with using them.
DALL-E 2 is a state-of-the-art image generator created by OpenAI, the renowned AI research company that also developed ChatGPT. Since its release in early 2021, DALL-E 2 has gained immense popularity due to its open-source nature and availability for free.
Using DALL-E 2, you can input a detailed or vague prompt, and the AI system will generate four images based on your input. If you’re not satisfied with the results, you can try again by making a few changes. Moreover, you can specify the desired art style in your search phrase and clarify the position of your subject(s) to distinguish between the foreground and background. If you don’t, DALL-E 2 will rely on its interpretation to populate the image.
While DALL-E 2 is free, you have to spend one credit for one prompt generation. When you sign up, DALL-E 2 users are given 50 free credits, with an additional 15 credits every month after that. You can purchase more for US$15 per 115 credits. Notably, credits will only be deducted after a successful generation. Searches that violate the content policy and don’t result in a generated image won’t count against your credit balance.
Dream by Wombo
Dream is a popular AI art generator created by Canadian startup Wombo Studios Inc. The app utilizes generative AI to produce artwork in response to natural language inputs, similar to the functionality of DALL-E 2. With just a prompt entry and art style selection, you can witness the magic of an AI-generated painting materialize before your very eyes in seconds.
The Dream algorithm makes use of a CLIP-guided approach. CLIP is an open-source neural network developed by OpenAI that can identify patterns in data. After being trained on pairs of images and captions obtained from the internet, the network can assess the relevance of user-provided captions to images.
Dream by Wombo offers several advantages, including its speedy setup and user-friendliness. The app can be accessed through the web and on iOS and Android devices. The free version provides users with one painting per prompt. If you want more, the premium version is available for US$9.99/month, US$89.99/year or US$169.99 for a lifetime subscription. With the premium version, users can access four outputs at a time, exclusive art styles, upscaling capability and other features, as stated on the official website.
Founded by David Holz, co-founder of Leap Motion, Midjourney is an AI image generator that can be prompted through text and accessed via Discord. Unlike other AI art generators that prioritize photorealistic results, Midjourney stands out by providing a dreamy and gothic style to the images it generates.
Midjourney offers users a free trial of 25 image generations. Additionally, users can also opt for their three subscription plans: Basic (US$10/month or US$96/year), Standard (US$30/month or US$288/year) and Pro (US$60/month or US$576/year). With the Basic plan, you can generate around 200 images per month. Higher subscription tiers offer more “fast GPU hours”, which refers to the amount of time Midjourney takes to perform tasks such as generating, creating variations or upscaling images.
Standard and Pro users are given unlimited relaxed GPU hours, with which images will be generated at a slower pace, but you can save up fast GPU time for images that require intensive upscales. Pro users also have the added benefit of “Stealth Mode”, which allows you to keep your images from being displayed on Midjourney’s website.
Released on August 22, 2022, Stable Diffusion is an open-source AI language model developed by London-based AI startup Stability AI. The system leverages diffusion, a powerful generative AI technique that reconstructs images based on user input. The results are incredibly realistic and detailed, with examples resembling actual photos shown in the image above. According to Forbes, Stable Diffusion has already amassed a user base of over ten million people daily, surpassing OpenAI’s DALL-E 2, which was released in July 2021.
Users can access Stable Diffusion through various platforms for free, including Canva, Nightcafe, and Dream by Wombo. If you want to fine-tune the generated images’ attributes (e.g. width, height and number of images), you can use DreamStudio, the official application programming interface (API) for Stable Diffusion, which offers users 100 free credits to play with. Depending on the configuration, users can generate up to 1,000 images with 100 credits, according to Stability AI’s website. For more credits, users can purchase 1,000 credits for US$10.
The dark sides of AI art
AI art generators have brought a lot of excitement and innovation to the world of digital art. They have made it easier than ever before to generate high-quality and unique artwork with just a few clicks, regardless of a person’s skill level or experience in art. However, it is important also to consider the potential drawbacks and ethical considerations associated with their use.
One of the major concerns surrounding AI generators is the ethical implications of using copyrighted material without permission. This can be a serious issue for both the artists who created the original works and the companies using them for profit without compensation. For example, companies like Stability AI and Midjourney are already facing a lawsuit for purportedly infringing on the rights of millions of artists through their unauthorized use of copyrighted images, without consent, credit or compensation.
Another issue is the question of the authenticity of AI-generated art. While these tools can create impressive and unique images, they lack the emotional depth and personal expression that is often present in human-made art. As a result, there is a debate about whether AI-generated art can truly be considered “art” in the traditional sense.
Finally, there is the issue of accountability. If AI art generators produce content that is illegal or offensive, who is responsible? Is it the company that developed the tool, the user who generated the content, or the AI algorithm itself?
In conclusion, AI art generators offer exciting possibilities for creativity and innovation. However, as with any technological advancement, it is crucial to consider the potential ethical implications and ensure that these tools are used responsibly. While some may argue that AI-generated art undermines the value of human creativity, others see it as a tool to expand the possibilities of what art can be. Ultimately, the future of AI-generated art will depend on how we balance the potential benefits with ethical considerations, and how we work to ensure that these tools continue to push the boundaries of digital art in respectful and meaningful ways.
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Header Image Generated with Midjourney