DALL·E 2 AI image-generator is free for all: now I can make photos without a camera!

DALL·E 2
My Dall-e 2 AI creation using the term "Photo of a unicorn on a bridge" (Image credit: Hannah Rooke - OpenAI)

Is this a new era for photo and image creation? After months of DALL·E 2 only being available to a restricted few, developer Open AI has now removed the waiting list making its controversial artificially-intelligent image creator software accessible for everyone. The AI-powered system is able to create photorealistic images from simple text commands as well as perform simple edits to your own photos. 

DALL·E 2 was first released back in April 2022 but only a lucky handful of Beta testers had access to it, the rest of us could only dream of the possibilities it held. We first wrote about DALL·E 2 (opens in new tab) back in July but our only taste of the system's abilities came in the form of examples Open AI included on the website. As fun, as it was to generate images from a very small selection of text prompts, it was very limited and didn't allow you to get creative. With the waiting list now scrapped, anyone is able to sign up for an account and start creating unique images. 

Some of my first Dall-e 2 creations… Line 1: Photo of a unicorn on a bridge. Line 2: Black and white photo of man in outer space. Line 3: A sloth hanging off the Eiffel Tower.  (Image credit: Hannah Rooke / OpenAI)
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Having spent a fair amount of time messing around with it today (see my results above), I have made a few discoveries. Firstly, as expected, the results are much better the more specific you are - although there is such a thing as being too specific. When I typed in ‘unicorn dancing on an orange’ for example it gave me close to what I was expecting however if you try something vaguer such as ‘dream-like state’ it struggles much more to interpret what it's being asked and gives vastly different results. 

Four alternative versions of one of my portraits, generated using Dall-e 2 (the original is on the far left) (Image credit: Hannah Rooke / OpenAI)
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Dall-E also allows you to upload your own photos to the site and generate different versions of it but it can lead to the stuff of nightmares. I uploaded a portrait I'd taken and the alternative results generated by DALL·E 2 (see above) included very warped faces that just about resembled a human. 

It's easy to start using DALL·E 2, simply sign up here (opens in new tab) with your email address, Google or Microsoft account. You get given 50 free credits for the first month and 15 free credits per month thereafter – but you can purchase more, with 115 credits costing US$15. One search term is equal to one credit but four images will be generated each time.

The simpler search terms work the best as it is able to interpret exactly what you mean - or at least very close to. For example, the search term, 'unicorn dancing on an orange' generated four images very similar to what I had imagined but if your search term is vague, such as 'dream world' you will get four very different results.

 

Prompt: Photo of someone taking a photo in the street (Image credit: Hannah Rooke / OpenAI)
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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.