Having Fun with DALL-E — an AI-based Text to Image Generator

Wall-e because it rhymes with DALL-E. Generated by Anu Anniah using DALL-E

I first came across DALL-E when Medium displayed this post by Jasmine Ann Smith in my feed:

Medium Writers Have a New Option for Royalty-Free Images
Custom images, no less

The post grabbed me and threw me into the world of artificial intelligence-based images. To be fair, Jasmine did warn me in her post that it is all endlessly entertaining.

The good news is that there is a waitlist to gain access to this amazing image generator. I am telling you it is good news because once you get your foot in the door, it is tough to get off. I’ve been playing with this image generator since yesterday and I cannot seem to stop.

What is DALL-E?

DALL-E is a machine learning model developed by the folks at OpenAI. In layperson terms, it is a tool to generate images from text. But that is really stating it very simply.

Consider this text I specified in the text box:

a unicorn flying in space with Saturn in the background

Image generated by DALL-E

Well, yeah, it is not the sharpest of images, but I think that is just a matter of time. As the intelligence gets intelligenter, the images will get better.

Unique is the key advantage right now

For me, the current big advantage of this tool is that I can generate and use unique images in my posts. When I download free images from Unsplash or Pixabay, I am always worried about chancing upon ‘my’ image in someone else’s post. That always makes me cringe. It is like wearing the same dress as someone else at a fancy party! It is ok if we coordinated on purpose. But if we run into each other without warning, the moment is awkward.

DALL-E takes away that awkwardness because the text I use is not going to be the same as someone else writing about something else. What are the odds that might actually happen? Low. It is not unlikely, but it is going to be rare.

No — I have not checked the fine print on the DALL-E site to figure out what happens when two people across the globe type the exact same string — will the images generated be the same? I don’t know yet. At the moment, I am too excited about all the fun to be had to actually dig deeper and understand the ifs and buts better.

What’s the catch?

I don’t know at the moment. For now, I understand that there is a limit to how many images you can generate for free. If you are planning to put these images to some serious use, go easy with the crazy playing. I went nuts and used up almost all my credits in 2 days.

But the credits reset every month. In addition, we can purchase more credits too. So there is hope.

Look at this cute image DALL-E generated for me. I can’t get over how cute it is! It reminds me so much of my dear departed Bushy.

Text used: watercolor of a syrian hamster eating a corn cob

How to use DALL-E?

Apply for a login on the site labs.openai.com. You will be notified that you are on a waitlist. I think it took about two weeks for them to get back to me. Not a long wait.

Once you are in, type whatever image your mind sees into the text bar. Describe it in detail.

I typed this in the text field to get the results below

DALL-E generated 4 options of which this one felt perfect to me.

How cute is this stick family? Generated using DALL-E

The sky is the limit

I feel like there is so much one can play around with given such software. Whatever you can think of, DALL-E seems to be able to generate. It may not always be perfect or not always meet your creative visualization, but for the most part, it provides a unique image that only you have at this point.

I am obviously terribly impressed and excited and want to share this find with as many people as I can. Hence this urgent post.

Maybe I’ll come back and write a more detailed article after I’ve used DALL-E more extensively.

Meanwhile — have fun with DALL-E!

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