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What is an AI art generator?

Can artificial intelligence be considered art?

Reviewed By: Kevin Pocock

Fact Checked By: Steve Hook

Last Updated on December 18, 2023
What is an AI art generator?
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AI art generators are artificial intelligence algorithms that allow users to create artwork (any digital image) from a text prompt! Also known as AI image generators, these platforms use an AI model trained on visual data (images with text labels) which is capable of generating new images based on a brief description. You may have heard of Midjourney, DALL-E 3, and Stable Diffusion or SDXL, but how do they work? Is using AI art legal? You may have several questions, so let’s start with the most essential of all.

What is an AI art generator?

The name is thankfully quite self-explanatory. An AI art generator is any software that uses artificial intelligence to make an image. The terms “AI art generator”, “AI image generator”, “AI picture generator”, and sometimes “AI photo generator” tend to be used synonymously.

Machine learning allows a computer system to learn from a large selection of pre-existing images. This selection of images is known as a dataset, and in this case, is called the training data or training dataset. Once the training process is complete, you have what we call an AI model. This model is used by software to produce AI-generated art – unique images created from scratch based on what the algorithm learned from the training data. This generated image does not exist in the training data; it’s something new, unique, and not considered plagiarism.

This is because AI art generators work by creating a neural network of ‘parameters’ which can be considered the synapses in a brain. The more parameters a model has, the more conceptual and relational understanding the model has. The point is, this neural network is much like our own, the one inside our skulls, in that neither is here being used as an information recall (IR) system. We can also create art, which also never existed exactly in this way before, but will also be influenced by what we have seen in the past.

The type of AI neural network used in AI art generators is called generative adversarial networks (GAN).

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How to use AI art generators

AI art creators use an AI art generator tool usually by going online to a website and typing in what they want to come out. That’s the least romanticized way to describe it, and the angle that many traditional artists understandably go with. Most popular AI art generators exist as a website, though my personal favorite (Midjourney) is also accessible via the Discord app. Indeed, that’s the most popular way to use it. You can learn how to use it via your own Discord server here.

To use text-to-image generators (as they’re also known), the user enters a text prompt. This can be a short sentence, a long series of paragraphs, or anything in between. The AI platform will then create high-quality images, even realistic images if you ask for photorealism. Some of the best options today could fool actual humans in a side-by-side test between an AI-generated photo and a real one. Having been a videographer for several years of my career, this is not an easy thing to admit, but nevertheless, it is true.

What is the best AI art generator?

The best AI art generator is Midjourney. We can be confident in such a matter-of-fact statement because the results speak for themselves. With 16,000,000+ users, Midjourney is the most popular paid AI image generator. Very impressive monthly user figures for a service that no longer has a free version. Not only does it have an incredible range of art styles, it also produces the highest aesthetic quality of all its competitors. Moreso, the art styles it is capable of are not limited to distinct buttons and separate models, but instead, all flow from one incredibly adaptable model based on what you ask for in your text prompt.

Alternative AI image generators include Stable Diffusion, DALL-E, Deep Dream Generator, StarryAI, Adobe Firefly (inside Photoshop), Jasper art, CF Spark, and more!

Are AI art generators illegal?

Generative AI is not illegal. AI art platforms typically make clear that the user owns the copyright of the generated image. Without this, we can imagine they wouldn’t have much custom.

Steve is an AI Content Writer for PC Guide, writing about all things artificial intelligence. He currently leads the AI reviews on the website.