Midjourney: Redefining the Boundaries of AI Art Generation

Midjourney is a fascinating tool in the realm of AI art generation. This innovative software was developed by a San Francisco-based independent research lab, Midjourney, Inc. The team behind this groundbreaking technology is led by David Holz, a figure renowned in the tech industry for his role as a co-founder of Leap Motion​.

At its core, Midjourney operates on a simple yet effective concept. It generates images from natural language descriptions, aptly called “prompts“. This mechanism is somewhat akin to other prominent AI tools such as OpenAI’s DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, with a distinct focus on creativity and artistic flair​.

Examples of Art Generated through Midjourney

Curious on how you can generate these images yourself? Make sure you read the next paragraphs!

How to Use Midjourney

Midjourney’s operation is intertwined with a popular chat platform – Discord. Users can create artwork by interacting with a dedicated Discord bot. The interaction primarily involves using the /imagine command, followed by a prompt. Upon receiving the command and the prompt, the bot generates a set of four images. Users can then select the images they wish to upscale or further refine​.

While the current interface is primarily via Discord, Midjourney is not resting on its laurels. The team is actively working on developing a web interface to make the service even more accessible and versatile​.

Midjourney’s Evolution

Since its conception, Midjourney has seen a series of updates and improvements, each offering enhanced capabilities and more advanced features.

The evolution of Midjourney can be tracked through the various versions that have been released over time, starting from version 1 (V1) and going up to version 5.1 (V5.1).

  • V1, the first version, was released in February 2022.
  • This was followed by the release of V2 in April 2022, and V3 in July 2022.
  • In November 2022, the alpha iteration of V4 was introduced, followed by the alpha iteration of V5 in March 2023.
  • Most recently, V5.1 was released in May 2023, demonstrating a continued commitment to enhancing the tool’s capabilities​.

Each version has brought with it improvements in the AI’s ability to generate images from natural language prompts.

For example, the 5.1 model is more ‘opinionated’ than version 5, applying more of its own stylization to images, while the 5.1 RAW model adds improvement while working better with more literal prompts​.

Midjourney’s Pricing

Originally, Midjourney was free to use for a brief promotional period, allowing users to generate 25 images without cost. This changed in April 2023, when the free trial program was paused due to the tool’s increasing popularity and the corresponding strain on resources. Now, Midjourney operates on a subscription-based model, offering three distinct plans: Basic, Standard, and Pro​.

  • The Basic Plan costs $10 per month and offers 3.3 hours of Fast GPU allowance per month, with no allowance for Relaxed mode.
  • The Standard Plan, costing $30 per month, provides 15 hours of Fast GPU allowance per month and unlimited usage of Relaxed mode through a dynamic queue system.
  • The Pro Plan, at $60 per month, offers 30 hours of Fast GPU allowance per month and unlimited Relaxed mode usage, along with the addition of Stealth mode for private generations​.

Comparison with Other AI Art Tools

Midjourney, while highly effective, is not the only AI art generator available. Tools like DALL-E 2 and Stable Diffusion also offer similar capabilities​​.

However, each tool has its own strengths and weaknesses. For instance, while Midjourney is praised for its realistic image generation, it is currently only accessible through Discord and comes at a significant cost. In contrast, DALL-E 2, available via Bing, offers free slower generations, and DreamStudio offers a more intuitive user interface than Midjourney’s Discord-based system. There is also Stable Diffusion Online, a simpler interface that is completely free but requires a few minutes for each image to generate​.

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