For anyone following AI or machine learning trends in recent weeks, text-to-image generation has taken the spotlight by force. A never-ending stream of synthetically-generated (yes, algorithm-generated!) images is populating social media feeds. This was very different just a couple of months ago, before an invite only beta version of Open AI’s DALL-E 2 was opened to the public in July. With DALL-E available via signup and waitlist, and now with Stable Diffusion released to all as public open-source software, developers have been prolific and building and hosting an array of online image generators. Perhaps the users of these image generators are even more prolific than their authors—libraries of millions of generated images are swiftly gaining popularity, making it easy to browse other people’s creative ideas and find inspiration.
We’ve put together a list of the 5 best, openly available online AI image generators using stable diffusion to help you jump right into the mix.
This is the foundational tool released by the company that created Stable Diffusion, Stability AI. The basic version requires a login, but is free to use. The generator offers a ton of settings, including the model version, Cfg scale (how close the image will be to your prompt), steps, number of outputs, image dimensions and more. You can start both from scratch or with a seed image of your choice. Conveniently, Dream Studio keeps a history of all your creations and lets you download the full resolution image. There is also a guide on how to write the best prompts so that the generator achieves the best results.
Replicate is a small startup on a mission to make machine learning models easier to use for everyone. They provide a service that helps you use previously uploaded models or upload your own model to run inference on demand, instead of spinning up your own server. With the wave of interest in stable diffusion, they have created a useful web app to use the model in order to generate images as well. Signup is required, but otherwise it is free to use. To date, the model has generated more than 5 million images!
NightCafe is a company whose mission is to democratize the creation of art using technology. They have been going strong since 2019, but have recently gained huge momentum with the advancements of text-to-image models. A simple text field invites you to enter your prompt, but advanced customizations are available. You can generate up to 5 images for free, but have to buy credits afterwards. NightCafe also offers other creation models besides stable diffusion, such as VQGAN+CLIP, which was their most popular before 2022. They offer a huge collection of artworks created by other users, a Discord server and a Subreddit for discussions.
This project is a simple text-to-image generator using stable diffusion, with only a simple input for a prompt. There are suggested categories and tokens that can be used to compose the prompt and get inspiration. Creation requires login, which gives you 10 credits (equivalent to 10 images generated) and also enables you to revisit your previously generated images. After the first 10, you have to buy additional credits to keep creating. Phase.art offers a Discord server to connect with fellow text-to-image artists.
This AI image generator was previously known as DALL-E mini, and became wildly popular as the original DALL-E by OpenAI is not yet openly available to everyone. The authors, Boris Dayma and Pedro Cuenca, attempted to implement a similar image generator, but using an open source model. This is actually not a stable diffusion model and the results are sometimes a bit less polished (especially for faces) when compared to other image generators. However, the service is entirely free and enables you to download your creations, even if only as a screenshot and not in full resolution.
Not sure how to get started or what prompts to use?
Fortunately, with web apps like Lexica.art and ArtHub.ai there are several fast growing libraries of images that other people have created using stable diffusion including the relevant prompt they used in the AI image generator. If you’re in lack of ideas, go ahead and browse the prompts that other users submitted to get started!
If you'd like to learn more about Stable Diffusion and other generative image models, check out our Guide on Diffusion Models here.