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5 best AI art generators of 2023

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If you’ve ever searched Google high and low to find an image you needed to no avail, AI is coming to the rescue. With AI art generators, you can type in a prompt as detailed or vague as you’d like and have the image you were thinking of pop up on your screen instantly. These tools can help with branding, social media content creation, vision boards, and more. Even if you have no professional use for it, no worries, the process is so fun that anyone can participate.

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DALL-E 2 has made a huge splash because of its advanced capabilities and easy access; however, there are plenty of other AI art generators on the market that can all suit different needs.

To put the generators to a test, I put the same prompt, “a baby Yorkie sitting on a comfy couch in front of the NYC skyline” in each one and included a screenshot for your viewing pleasure (yes, I am a Yorkie mom). Using these observations, we put together a list of the best AI generators and detailed everything you need to know before starting your next masterpiece.

Best overall AI art generator

dalle-2-screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
pros & cons
pros

  • Fast
  • Not copyrighted
  • Accurate depictions
cons

  • Limited Credits
  • No app
more details

Features:

  • Generates four images per credit
  • Input can be as detailed as you’d like
  • Price: Free (unless you opt for more credits)
  • Free credit allowance replenishes every month

OpenAI, the AI research company behind ChatGPT, launched DALL-E 2 last November, and since it has become the most popular AI art generator on the market. We are here to tell you that its popularity is well-deserved. The site is very intuitive and will produce results in seconds. All you have to do is type in whatever prompt you’d like, specifying as much detail as necessary to bring your vision to life, and then, DALL-E 2 will generate four images from your prompt. Not happy with the results? You can tweak it a little and try again. Best part is you get 50 free credits your first month and 15 credits every month after. If you need more, you can always buy credits too.

Also: How to use DALL-E 2 to turn your wildest imaginations into AI-generated art 

Best AI art generator for your phone

dream-by-wombo screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
pros & cons
pros

  • Mobile app
  • Remix your own images
  • Multiple templates
cons

  • One image per prompt
  • Subscription cost for full access
more details

Features: 

  • Mobile and desktop versions
  • Different templates to choose from
  • Realistic renditions
  • Price: Free limited access

This app’s major success landed it a first-place spot for the best overall app in Google Play’s 2022 awards. With the app, you are able to create art with the simple input of a quick prompt. An added plus about this AI art generator is that it allows you to pick different design styles such as realistic, expressionism, comic, abstract, fanatical, ink, and more. In addition to the app, it has a free desktop mobile version that is simple to use. If you want to take your use of the app to the next level, you can pay $90 a year, $10 a month, or a lifetime subscription of $170.

Best completely free AI art generator

Craiyon screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
pros & cons
pros

  • Free
  • Unlimited access
  • Simple to use
cons

  • Longer wait
  • Distorted images
more details

Features: 

  • Completely free to use
  • Straightforward interface
  • Unlimited prompts
  • Price: Free

Despite originally having the name DALL-E mini, this AI art generator is NOT affiliated with OpenAI or DALL-E 2, rather, it is an open-source alternative. However, the name DALL-E 2 mini is somewhat fitting, as it does everything that DALL-E 2 does, just with less accurate renditions. Unlike DALL-E 2, the outputs from Craiyon lack quality. The good thing is that because you have unlimited prompts, you can continue to tweak the prompt until you get exactly what you were envisioning. The site is also so simple to use, adding to the overall appeal and making this AI generator a strong contender.

Best AI generator for highest quality photos

midjourney screenshot
Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
pros & cons
pros

  • Very high quality outputs
  • No duds
  • Discord community
cons

  • Cost
  • Confusing to set up
more details

Features: 

  • Utilizes Discord
  • Highest quality photos
  • Creates art for a variety of uses
  • Price: Starts at $8/month

I often play around with AI art generators because of how fun and easy creating digital artwork is. Despite all my experiences with different AI generators, nothing could have prepared me for Midjourney. The output of this image was so crystal clear that I had a hard time believing it wasn’t an actual image someone took of the prompt I put in. This software is so good that it has produced award-winning art. To create your images, all you have to do is go to the site and join the beta by signing up through Discord. Then you get access to 25 free renderings and can upgrade to a plan after starting at $8/per month. A really fun perk of Midjourney’s platform is that you get to see everyone else’s inputs and outputs in the Discord chat.

To show you just how good these renditions are, I included a close-up below.

yorkie-puppy-sitting-on-a-couch-with-new-york-city-skyline

Screenshot by Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET

Best AI art generator for self portraits

Photo renderings of a woman throughout different decades using AI Time Machine
Sabrina Ortiz/ZDNET
pros & cons
pros

  • Lots of options
  • Great quality renditions
  • Make great profile pictures
cons

  • Limited access
  • Long wait
more details

Features: 

  • Creates portraits of you through the ages
  • Accurate outputs make great profile pictures
  • Inexpensive premium version
  • Price: Free during certain windows

Last fall, in a mega-viral TikTok trend, people were sharing AI-generated portraits of themselves on the app. The photos were powered by MyHeritage’s “AI Time Machine” which uses 10 to 25 user-inputted photos to create realistic portraits of what you’d look like throughout the ages.

Also: You can use an AI Time Machine to see what you’d look like in different eras throughout history 

Although you have to wait 30 to 90 minutes to get the results, the beautiful artwork makes it worth the wait. The trick to getting them for free is refreshing the site and waiting until the free trial window opens up, designated by a “Try it now for free” button. If you can’t wait, there is only a $12 fee to have your photo.

The best overall AI art generator is DALL-E 2 because of its cost and efficiency. By using DALL-E 2 you can get a rendering of exactly what you envisioned within seconds with free credits that replenish every month.

AI art generator  Price  Key Features 
DALL-E 2 Users get 50 free credits the first month and 15 credits every month after. You can purchase additional credits starting at $15 for 115 credits.
  • Generates four images per credit
  • Input can be as detailed as you’d like
  • Free credit allowance replenishes every month
Dream by WOMBO Free limited access and subscriptions start at $10/month.
  • App and desktop version
  • Different templates to  choose from
  • Realistic renditions
Craiyon Unlimited, free access
  • Simple to use
  • Unlimited prompts
  • Open source
Midjourney Users get 25 free rendering, but the subscription starts at $8/month.
  • Utilizes Discord
  • Highest quality photos
  • Creates art for a variety of uses
MyHeritage’s AI Time Machine Free during certain times of day, otherwise $12 per pack.
  • Creates portraits of you through the ages
  • Accurate outputs make great profile pictures
  • Inexpensive premium version

Although we crowned DALL-E 2 the best AI art generator overall, there are other AI art generators that perform better for specific needs. For example, if you are a professional using AI art generation for your business, you may need a tool like Midjourney which delivers consistent, reliable, quality output. On the other hand, if you just want to play with AI art generating for entertainment purposes, Craiyon might be the best option because its free and unlimited.

If you want… Then choose this AI art generator…
The best AI art generator overall DALL-E 2
The best AI art generator for your phone Dream by WOMBO
The best free AI art generator Craiyon
The best AI art generator for high quality renders Midjourney
The best AI art generator self portraits MyHeritage’s AI Time Machine

In order to find the best AI art generators, we tested each generator listed and compared their performance. The factors that went into testing performance included UI/UX, image results, cost, speed and availability. Each AI art generator had different strengths and weaknesses, making each one the ideal fit for different individuals as listed next to our picks.

An AI art generator refers to software that uses AI to create images from user text inputs, usually within seconds. The images vary in style depending on the capabilities of the software but can typically render an image in any style you want including 3D, 2D, cinematic, modern, Renaissance and more.

Like any other AI model, AI art generators work on a learned data they are trained with. Typically, these models are trained on billions of images which it analyzes for characteristics. These insights are then used by the model to create new images.

AI art generators are trained on billions of images found throughout the internet. These images are often artwork that belongs to a specific artist, which are then reimagined and repurposed by AI art to generate your image. Although it’s not the same image, the new image has elements of an artists original work which is not credited to them.

Contrary to what you might think, there are so many more AI art generators than DALL-E 2 out there. Some produce even better results than OpenAI’s software. If you want to try something different, check out one of our alternatives listed above or the three additional ones below.

Nightcafe: Best multi-purpose AI art generator

Nightcafe: Best multi-purpose AI art generator

View now at Nightcafe
Canva: Best AI art generator for marketing professionals

Canva: Best AI art generator for marketing professionals

View now at Canva
Google Imagen: Best AI art generator coming soon

Google Imagen: Best AI art generator coming soon

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Ehiko: The Multidisciplinary Artist Shaping Decolonization Through Art

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Ehiko, a multidisciplinary artist born in Lagos, Nigeria, now calls Toronto, Ontario, her home. An OCAD University graduate, she has gained recognition for her powerful and evocative works that delve into the complexities of decolonization, health and wellness, spirituality, sexual violence, and the representation of melanated hair.

Ehiko’s artistic journey began in the vibrant city of Lagos, where the rich cultural heritage and traditional artistry influenced her deeply. This foundation blossomed in Toronto, where she continued to experiment and manipulate raw canvas due to its flexibility. Her expressive palette and the use of various textiles pay homage to traditional Nigerian craftsmanship, creating a unique blend of contemporary and ancestral art forms.

Her works are not just visually striking but also laden with profound messages. Ehiko’s exploration of decolonization is evident in her large-scale multi-medium paintings, performances, drawings, and installations. Each piece she creates is a testament to her commitment to unravelling spirituality linked to traditional Afrakan masks, presenting a dialogue between the past and present.

One of the central themes in Ehiko’s work is health and wellness, particularly within the context of the Black community. She addresses the often-overlooked aspects of mental health and the importance of wellness practices rooted in African traditions. Through her art, Ehiko encourages a reconnection with these practices, promoting healing and resilience.

Sexual violence is another critical subject Ehiko tackles with sensitivity and boldness. Her works often depict the pain and trauma associated with such experiences while also highlighting the strength and resilience of survivors. By bringing these issues to the forefront, she fosters conversations that are essential for societal change and healing.

The representation of melanated hair in Ehiko’s art is a celebration of Black identity and beauty. Her pieces challenge societal norms and stereotypes, presenting Black hair in its diverse and natural forms. This representation is not only about aesthetics but also about reclaiming cultural identity and pride.

Ehiko’s exhibitions in Lagos and Toronto have garnered significant attention, and her private collection of purchased work is available upon request. Her contributions to the art world extend beyond her creations; she is also an advocate for using art as a tool for social change and empowerment.

In every piece, Ehiko weaves her experiences, heritage, and vision, creating a tapestry that speaks to the heart and mind. Her work is a powerful reminder of the role of art in decolonization and healing, and her journey continues to inspire and influence the global art community.

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Home + Away artwork opens in Vancouver’s Hastings Park

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A new art installation now towers over Vancouver’s Hastings Park fields in celebration of the city’s history of spectators and sports.

Home + Away is a sculpture by Seattle artists Annie Han and Daniel Mihalyo of Lead Pencil Studio, which opened Monday in the southeast end of the historic park.

It’s a 17-metre-tall structure that resembles a narrow set of bleachers — similar to the stands of the Empire Stadium, which stood on the site of the park from 1954 to 1993 and hosted The Beatles, among many others. It recalls a covered ski jump that stood there in the 1950s and the nearby wooden rollercoaster at the PNE.

The city says the public is invited to walk the stairs and sit on the benches.

“In addition to being visually striking, this artwork is intended to be ascended, sat on and experienced. It offers exciting experiences of height and views and provides 16 rows of seating for up to 49 people, making for a unique spectator experience when watching events at Empire Fields,” the city said in a release Monday.

The idea for the park to include public art was outlined in the Hastings Park “Master Plan,” first adopted by the city in 2010. The city says Han and Mihalyo first presented their design in 2015.

“It’s wonderful to see this piece realized within the context of such a well-used public space,” said Han.

Home + Away was inspired directly by the site history of spectatorship, and we hope it will connect Hastings Park users to that history and the majestic views of the environment for many decades to come,” added Mihalyo.

The artwork features a large light-up sign, in the style of a sports scoreboard, that reads “HOME” and “AWAY.”

 

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Bill Viola, Video Artist Who Established the Medium as an Integral Part of Contemporary Art, Dies at 73

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Bill Viola, whose decades-long engagement with video proved vital in establishing the medium as an integral part of contemporary art, died on July 12 at his home in Long Beach, California. He was at 73 years old. The cause was complications related to Alzheimer’s disease. The news of his passing was confirmed by James Cohan Gallery.

Viola’s works are centered around the idea of human consciousness and such fundamental experiences as birth, death, and spirituality. He delved into mystical traditions from Zen Buddhism to Islamic Sufism, as well as Western devotional art from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in his videos, which often juxtaposed themes of life and death, light and dark, noise and silence. These explorations were achieved by submerging viewers in both image and sound with cutting-edge technologies for their time.

“I first used the camera and lens as a surrogate eye, to bring things closer, or to magnify them, to experiment with perception, to extend vision and make lengthy observations of simple objects,” Viola said in a 2015 interview. “Once you do that, their essence becomes visible. So I suppose I was always interested in the inner life of the world around me.”

Beginning in the 1970s, Viola created videotapes, architectural video installations, sound environments, electronic music performances, flat panel video pieces, and works for television broadcast—all of which expanded the scope of the medium and established Viola as one of its most notable practitioner.

Video still of a man diving into water that has been reversed. The image is mostly black and teal.

In 2003 the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York; Tate, London; and the Centre Pompidou in Paris jointly acquired Bill Viola’s 2001 three-channel video installation Five Angels for the Millennium.

Photo Kira Perov/©Bill Viola Studio

Bill Viola was born in 1951. He grew up in Queens and Westbury, New York, and attended P.S. 20 in Flushing, before receiving his BFA in experimental studios from Syracuse University in 1973. There, he studied with visual art with the likes of Jack Nelson and electronic music with Franklin Morris.

Following his graduation, between 1973 to 1980, Viola studied and performed with composer David Tudor in the music group Rainforest, which later became known as Composers Inside Electronics. He also worked as technical director at the pioneering video studio Art/tapes/22 in Florence, Italy from 1974 to 1976. During that time he encountered the work of other seminal video artists like Nam June Paik, Bruce Nauman, and Vito Acconci.

Viola was subsequently an artist-in-residence at New York’s WNET Thirteen Television Laboratory between 1976 to 1983, wherein he created a series of works that premiered on television. He traveled to the Solomon Islands, Java, and Indonesia to record traditional performing arts between 1976 and 1977. Later that year, Viola was invited to show work at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia, by cultural arts director Kira Perov, with whom he married and began a lifelong collaboration.

He was appointed an instructor in advanced video at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California in 1983. He was the Getty Research Institute scholar-in-residence in Los Angeles in 1998 and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000.

In 1985, Viola received with a Guggenheim Fellowship for fine arts, and later that decade, in 1989, he was awarded the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship. His work was also featured in some of the world’s most notable exhibitions, including Documenta VI in 1977, Documenta XI in 1992, the 1987 and 1993 editions of the Whitney Biennial, and the 2001 Venice Biennale.

In 1995, he represented the United States at the 46th edition of the Venice Biennale. For the pavilion, Viola produced the series of works “Buried Secrets,” including one of his most known works The Greeting, which offers a contemporary interpretation of Pontormo’s oil painting The Visitation (ca.1528–30). The Deutsche Guggenheim Berlin and New York’s Guggenheim Museum commissioned the digital fresco cycle in high-definition video, titled Going Forth By Day, in 2002.

Viola’s work was the subject of a major 25-year survey at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1997, which subsequently toured internationally. His work has been the subject of major museum retrospectives in the years since, including at the Grand Palais in Paris (in 2014), the Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (2017), the Guggenheim Bilbao in Spain (2017), and the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia (2019), as well as an exhibition pairing his work with that of Michelangelo at the Royal Academy of Art in London in 2019.

Viola is survived by his wife Kira Perov, who has been the executive director of his studio since 1978, and their two children.

“One thing that’s very exciting about video that has turned me on since I first saw this glowing image way back in 1970 is that it can be so much,” Viola said in a 1995 with Charlie Rose on the occasion of this US Pavilion at the Biennale. “Furthermore, what’s really exciting is I don’t think it’s been since really the Renaissance where artists have been able to use a medium that one could say is the dominant communication form in society.”

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