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1. What are AI image generators?

DALL-E vs. Midjourney: What's the best AI image generator?

If you're a creator or an artist looking for ways to shake up your designs, you might want to consider dipping your toes into the world of AI image generators. These ingenious tools can produce mind-boggling visuals that breathe fresh life into your branding, marketing, or product design.

Stick around as we dive into and sift through two leading AI image generators, laying out their pros and cons and ultimately helping you decide which one might be the best fit for your visionary projects.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • AI image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney are transformative tools for creators, designers, and marketers owing to their unique image-generation capabilities.

  • DALL-E shines in quirky and abstract image generation, while Midjourney excels in crafting visually appealing, detailed, and context-effective images.

  • Choosing between DALL-E and Midjourney largely depends on the specific needs and preferences of users, such as the desired level of customization, concern for ethical considerations, or budget constraints.

  • Both tools can complement services like Gelato's print on demand offerings, paving the way for seamless creation and sale of products featuring AI-generated art.

  • The exploration of ethical considerations and content moderation is crucial when utilizing AI image generators to uphold responsible usage and prevent misuse.

  • The support and resources available in the community, along with cost and accessibility, are vital aspects to consider when choosing an AI image generator tool.

What are AI image generators?

Artist's palette with digital colors

Artificial Intelligence Image Generators can create unique, visually stunning artwork from nothing more than data. They use complex algorithms to produce everything from intricate designs to photorealistic images that are indistinguishable from those taken by a human. It's essentially art without the artist.

How do AI image generators work?

Creating an image from scratch has traditionally been the domain of human artists, but AI image generators like DALL-E and Midjourney are changing that narrative.

Here's a quick rundown of how they do it: 

  • Data collection: The initial phase of AI image generation begins with data collection. The required data mostly comprises hundreds of thousands of images. The images generated by these tools can span across various subjects, themes, and styles, providing a rich database for the AI to draw inspiration from.

  • Training the AI: Once the AI is fuelled with enough data, the training phase begins. It's during this time that the AI examines each image, learning its intricate details and understanding the correlation between different elements within an image.

  • Generative adversarial networks (GANs): GANs form the backbone of this process. They consist of two neural networks: a generator that crafts new images and a discriminator that rates them based on their similarity to the original data set. The two networks push each other to improve, with the discriminator "coaching" the generator to produce more realistic images over time.

  • Output: Once the AI is successfully trained, it can generate original images when stimulated with a set of prompts. For example, you might ask the AI to create images of a "cube-shaped dog," and the AI will attempt to produce different renderings to meet that description.

  • Refinement: In many AI image generators, there's an additional step where the generated image is refined using another AI process. Refinements can include color correction, texture smoothing, and resolution enhancement, adding to the overall realism and quality of the final produced image.

The significance of AI image generation tools

AI image-generation tools are transforming the landscape of creative industries, contributing to a seismic shift in how visuals are created and consumed. The ability to generate original artwork, designs, or illustrations with intricate detail and complexity, solely guided by an algorithm, is creating unparalleled opportunities.

Designers and artists can streamline their workflow and save time whilst also exploring limitless creative potential. For marketers and product developers, these tools offer a powerful means to create unique, targeted visuals efficiently. Moreover, with the continuous advancement in AI technologies, the quality and intricacies of these AI-generated images are expected to reach new heights.

DALL-E: Overview, features, and capabilities

DALL-E logo/platform

DALL·E was first introduced by OpenAI in January 2021 with DALL·E 1, and its more advanced version, DALL·E 2, was unveiled in April 2022. This AI model is built on a variant of the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture, which is primarily known for its proficiency in understanding and generating human-like text.

DALL·E extends this capability to the visual domain, allowing it to comprehend text inputs and generate relevant, high-quality images. The development of DALL·E marks a significant milestone in AI, demonstrating an unprecedented level of understanding and creativity in machine learning models.


  1. Text-to-image generation: The core feature of DALL·E is its ability to generate images from textual descriptions, no matter how elaborate or fantastical. This includes everything from realistic images to surreal compositions that blend unrelated concepts artistically.

  2. Editable outputs: DALL·E allows users to modify generated images by providing new textual instructions, making it possible to iterate on creative ideas quickly.

  3. Variety of styles: It can produce images in various artistic styles, from photorealistic renderings to illustrations, sketches, and more, catering to a wide range of aesthetic preferences.

  4. Zero-shot capabilities: DALL·E can understand and execute tasks without having seen a direct example during its training, showcasing its robust inference abilities based on the text descriptions alone.

  5. Inpainting and outpainting: Beyond generating entirely new images, DALL·E can modify existing ones, filling in missing parts (inpainting) or extending them beyond their original borders (outpainting), based on textual cues.


  • Creativity and innovation: DALL·E pushes the boundaries of AI's creative capabilities, generating images that blend concepts in unexpected ways. This has implications for creative industries, where DALL·E can serve as a tool for inspiration and ideation.

  • Custom visual content creation: It enables the creation of customized images for a variety of uses, from marketing and advertising to personalized artwork, without the need for traditional artistic skills.

  • Educational applications: DALL-E can be used as an educational tool, helping students understand abstract concepts by visualizing them or creating engaging content for learning materials.

  • Research and development: In the field of AI and machine learning, DALL-E serves as a research tool, helping scientists and engineers explore the limits of neural networks and their ability to understand and generate human-like content.

  • Accessibility: By democratizing the ability to create images based on simple prompts, DALL-E makes it easier for individuals without formal training in art or design to bring their visions to life, potentially lowering barriers to entry in various creative fields.

Midjourney: Overview, features, and capabilities

Midjourney logo/platform

Midjourney focuses on exploring new pathways in the domain of artificial intelligence, with a particular emphasis on generating visual content or image manipulation. Unlike its predecessors and contemporaries, Midjourney is distinguished by its emphasis on the creative process, aiming to augment human creativity with AI.

It operates primarily through an invitation-only beta, accessible via a dedicated Discord server, where users can input textual prompts to generate images. The project has quickly gained recognition for the quality and uniqueness of its outputs, showcasing a blend of artistic vision and technological innovation.


  1. Image quality: Midjourney excels in producing images that are not only high in resolution but also rich in detail and artistic flair, making them suitable for professional-grade projects.

  2. Creative flexibility: Users can input a wide range of textual descriptions, from simple and straightforward to complex and abstract, allowing for a broad spectrum of creative expression.

  3. Community interaction: Being integrated within a Discord server, Midjourney encourages community interaction, where users can share prompts, outputs, and creative insights, fostering a collaborative environment.

  4. Rapid iteration: The tool allows for quick iterations on a given prompt, enabling users to refine their ideas and explore different creative directions with ease.

  5. Customization options: Users have the ability to adjust various parameters of the image generation process, such as aspect ratio, style, and detail level, offering greater control over the final output.


  • Artistic exploration and production: Midjourney is a powerful tool for artists and designers, providing a new medium for exploration and the creation of artworks that might be difficult or impossible to achieve by traditional means.

  • Concept visualization: For professionals in fields such as architecture, product design, and advertising, Midjourney offers a way to quickly visualize concepts and ideas for communication and development processes.

  • Educational applications: In educational settings, Midjourney can serve as a resource for teaching about art, design, and technology, enabling students to experiment with these concepts in a hands-on manner.

  • Innovation in content creation: The tool opens up new possibilities for content creation across various media, including digital art, film, and video game development, where unique and compelling visual elements can significantly enhance storytelling and user experience.

  • Cultural and societal impact: By democratizing access to high-quality visual creation, Midjourney has the potential to impact cultural production and societal engagement with art and media, encouraging broader participation in creative activities.

Midjourney vs. DALL-E: Comparative analysis

Artist selecting art generator

Let's dive into a side-by-side comparison based on several key parameters.

1. Technology foundation

Midjourney is somewhat shrouded in mystery regarding the specifics of its underlying technology, but it's known for its focus on augmenting human creativity through AI. It operates within a Discord server, emphasizing community interaction and feedback in its development.

DALL-E, developed by OpenAI, is built on the GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) architecture. This foundation allows it to understand and generate images based on textual descriptions, showcasing a deep understanding of both language and visual concepts.

2. Image generation quality and versatility

Midjourney shines with its high-resolution outputs that often carry a unique artistic flair. It's praised for the versatility and quality of images, capable of producing everything from surreal landscapes to hyper-realistic portraits.

DALL-E also impresses with its ability to generate detailed and relevant images from a wide range of prompts. Its latest version, DALL-E 3, has made significant strides in improving both the quality and the resolution of its outputs.

3. Ease of use and accessibility

Midjourney operates through Discord, which, while innovative, might be a hurdle for users not familiar with this platform. However, once over that hurdle, its command-based interface is straightforward to use.

DALL-E is accessible through OpenAI's platform, and it no longer requires an invite. Its interface is user-friendly, especially for those accustomed to web-based applications.

4. Customization and user control

Midjourney offers various commands that allow users to adjust the style and detail of the generated images, providing a decent level of control over the creative process.

DALL-E provides options for editing and refining images, including features like "variations" and "inpainting," which let users iterate on and modify their creations with a high degree of flexibility.

5. Applications and practical use cases

Both Midjourney and DALL-E are versatile tools that can be used across a range of fields, from art and design to marketing and education. However, Midjourney's artistic lean might make it more appealing to creatives seeking unique visual styles, while DALL-E's broad capabilities and OpenAI's backing might offer a wider range of practical applications, including commercial use.

6. Ethical considerations and content moderation

Midjourney and DALL-E both face challenges related to ethical considerations and content moderation. DALL-E has implemented systems to prevent the generation of inappropriate content, reflecting OpenAI's cautious approach to AI ethics. Midjourney, while also mindful of these issues, relies on community moderation within its Discord environment, which presents its own set of challenges and solutions.

Community support and resources

Midjourney benefits from a vibrant Discord community where users share tips, prompts, and creations. This direct interaction fosters a sense of belonging and rapid learning.

DALL-E, being part of OpenAI's ecosystem, offers extensive documentation and support through OpenAI's forums and resources. However, it might lack the same level of community interaction seen in Midjourney's Discord-based platform.

Cost, subscription models, and accessibility

Midjourney offers a subscription model with different tiers, providing users with a certain number of image generations per month. It also offers trial access, allowing new users to experiment before committing financially.

Have a look at Midjourney's pricing:

  • Basic plan: $10/month

  • Standard plan: $30/month

  • Pro plan: $60/month

  • Mega plan: $120/month

On the other hand, DALL-E uses a credit-based system where users purchase credits to generate images. OpenAI provides a free tier with a limited number of credits per month, making it accessible but also limiting extensive use without additional purchase.

Here's the pricing model for DALL-E.

  • DALL-E 3 (Standard): $0.040 - $0.080 / image

  • DALL-E 3 (HD): $0.080 - $0.120 / image

  • DALL-E 2: $0.016 - $0.020 / image

The price per image varies with the image resolution. Moreover, DALL-E 3 is available for free through the Bing Image Creator or as part of ChatGPT Plus for $20/month.

How to choose the right tool for AI-generated images

Below are some guiding points to help you choose the perfect AI image generator for your creative projects: 

  • Quality and versatility: Not all AI image generators produce the same quality of images. Look for a tool that is known for high-quality output and able to create a broad range of images - from abstract to photo-realistic ones.

  • Usability: Some AI tools require technical skills, while others are built for everyday users. Consider your skill level and pick a tool that you will be comfortable using regularly.

  • Customization: The ability to tweak or customize the output can be important, especially for designers and marketers who may want to adapt images to align with brand aesthetics.

  • Cost: Cost is a key consideration. Free tools may have limitations, and premium ones may offer more features. Consider the balance between cost and the features offered.

  • Community support and resources: A robust user community and availability of learning resources can be very beneficial, particularly for newcomers navigating the AI space.

  • Ethical considerations: Restrictions on content generation and moderation options can be an important consideration when choosing a tool. Make sure the AI-generating tool abides by ethical guidelines.

Bring your AI art to life with Gelato

Creativity meets print on demand

Bringing your extraordinary AI-generated art to life has never been easier, thanks to Gelato. From t-shirts to mugs, wall art to phone cases, photo books, and beyond, its print on demand capability breathes life into your creations.

Moreover, Gelato's Design Maker is a game-changer for creatives and entrepreneurs alike, offering an intuitive, user-friendly platform that simplifies the process of bringing custom product ideas to life. Whether you're looking to design unique gifts, personalized merchandise, or custom prints, Design Maker provides the tools you need to unleash your creativity without the need for complex design software. 

With access to a vast library of templates and the ability to upload your own designs, the possibilities are endless.

Ready to see your art come alive? Sign up for Gelato today and choose a subscription plan that suits you.


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