How to add an image to ChatGPT – “see, hear, and speak” update

A step-by-step guide to adding images to ChatGPT

Learn how to add an image to ChatGPT for enhanced chatbot interactions with the GPT-4V vision model and DALL-E 3.

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ChatGPT can now see, hear, and speak! Users can add images directly into the visual ChatGPT interface. OpenAI’s powerful large language model can generate text-based conversations, including a description of an image. In addition to the NLP (Natural Language Processing) abilities we know and love, the new feature (GPT-4 image input) brings with it image recognition capabilities. Prompting with, and analyzing, a ChatGPT image alongside textual input (meaning adding an image to ChatGPT) is easier than ever, with these simple instructions.

How to use image features in ChatGPT

ChatGPT and Google Bard lead the way with image input and output functionality, thanks to their respective VLMs (Visual Language Models) GPT-4V and Gemini.

In the announcement, published Monday 25th September, the AI research firm explained the feature rollout – which is now complete.

We are beginning to roll out new voice and image capabilities in ChatGPT. They offer a new, more intuitive type of interface by allowing you to have a voice conversation or show ChatGPT what you’re talking about.

Voice and image give you more ways to use ChatGPT in your life. Snap a picture of a landmark while traveling and have a live conversation about what’s interesting about it. When you’re home, snap pictures of your fridge and pantry to figure out what’s for dinner (and ask follow up questions for a step by step recipe). After dinner, help your child with a math problem by taking a photo, circling the problem set, and having it share hints with both of you.

We’re rolling out voice and images in ChatGPT to Plus and Enterprise users over the next two weeks. Voice is coming on iOS and Android (opt-in in your settings) and images will be available on all platforms.

OpenAI.com

OpenAI announced via a tweet on March 14th, 2023, that the latest OpenAI model features “visual input”. This meant that the neural network known as “GPT-4 can accept images as inputs and generate captions, classifications, and analyses”. Until November 2023, this was limited to the GPT-4 LLM via the OpenAI API – now this is possible through the ChatGPT interface in a web browser or mobile app! Remember, GPT-4 and ChatGPT are not synonymous.

A demonstration of the new LLM accompanied the announcement.

A screen shot of the OpenAI website, demonstrating GPT-4 AI model and how to add an image.
GPT-4V visual input feature.

The free version of ChatGPT (GPT-3.5) can’t accept image prompts. To add images to ChatGPT (image prompting), you’ll need to subscribe to one of the three paid subscriptions — ChatGPT Plus, ChatGPT Team, or ChatGPT Enterprise. The GPT-4 API can also be used as an image generation tool.

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The user interface of the Open AI Chat GPT AI chatbot may resemble that of AI art generators like Midjourney, but the tech under the hood is not the same. The former uses a large language model (LLM) and the latter combines that with a diffusion model. It does this by using a sidecar model trained on visual training data to recognize the content of an image. The processing that goes into this is pretty dense and scientific. In short, it just has a lot of examples of common visual stimuli. Objects, animals, and places all count as stimuli, and ChatGPT recognizes the similarities between them.

Now that ChatGPT can see, hear, and speak, here’s how to upload pictures in ChatGPT!

How to add an image to ChatGPT conversations

Image prompting after the “see, hear, and speak” update

To add an image to ChatGPT:

  • Open ChatGPT either via a web browser (for desktop or mobile) or via the ChatGPT app (for Android and iOS).
  • Subscribed to ChatGPT Plus ($20/month), ChatGPT Team ($25/month x 2 users minimum) or ChatGPT Enterprise if you aren’t already.
  • Tap either the camera icon (to take a new photo) or the image icon (to select one from your camera roll).
  • Type your text prompt (if you think you need to) alongside the loaded image.
  • Hit enter, and ChatGPT will process your image and associated text prompt accordingly!
New ChatGPT interface for image input.
New ChatGPT interface for image input.

Image prompting without ChatGPT Plus or ChatGPT Enterprise

There is no way to use images with ChatGPT for free. The following process has been made redundant, but if the new feature is not working for whatever reason, ChatGPT plugins still provide a workaround:

  1. Open ChatGPT either via a web browser (for desktop or mobile) or via the ChatGPT app (for Android and iOS).
  2. Ensure you’re subscribed to ChatGPT Plus ($20/month) or ChatGPT Enterprise.
  3. Install the Image Converter and/or SceneXplain plugins.
  4. The ChatGPT interface does not allow you to add an image directly. Instead, upload your image to a service that provides a direct link to that image. This does not include Google Drive.
  5. The direct link to an image will end with a file extension (in this case, .jpg or .png). Use the link to that image in your text prompt.
  6. Ask ChatGPT about the image!
Image Converter ChatGPT plugin install
Image Converter ChatGPT plugin install

Depending on how closely linked your question is with image recognition, you’ll receive an answer of some degree of accuracy. For example, prompting an image of a banana and asking “What fruit is this?” Is much more likely to receive an accurate answer than asking “How many calories are in this fruit?”

SceneXplain ChatGPT plugin install
SceneXplain ChatGPT plugin install

If you’re limited to GPT-3.5, your best option is to describe the image in words and let ChatGPT generate a text-based conversation around that description. For example, if you want to share a picture of a cat with someone in ChatGPT, you could describe the cat in words such as “a small, fluffy cat with green eyes and a white belly.”

Learn how to add an image to ChatGPT.
Learn how to add an image to ChatGPT.

You can then copy and paste the results into a text-to-image generation tool like MIdjourney, DeepAI, or DALL-E. If that’s not an option, then try an alternative large language model (LLM) with multimodal capabilities such as Microsoft Copilot or Google Bard.

SceneXplain add an image to ChatGPT
SceneXplain adds an image to ChatGPT.

These tools use advanced machine learning algorithms to generate images based on textual descriptions, which can be a great way to bring your ChatGPT conversations to life.

Use cases for image-to-text multimodality

Image analysis: Ask AI about objects in images, analyze documents, or explore visual content. Remember, images can be screenshots of a text-based document – ChatGPT can read images! Then “add more images in later turns to deepen or shift the discussion. Return anytime with new photos.”

Image annotation: Draw attention to specific areas by circling or drawing arrows with a photo edit markup tool on your image before uploading. “This guides ChatGPT to focus on elements you deem important.”

What’s the future of ChatGPT image input?

OpenAI co-founder Sam Altman is hopeful about the future of image recognition, and generation with ChatGPT.

The official GPT-4 page reads “Following the research path from GPT, GPT-2, and GPT-3, our deep learning approach leverages more data and more computation to create increasingly sophisticated and capable language models”. Considering the undeniable pressure of competition in multimodality, we can expect to see text-to-image, text-to-audio, image-to-audio, and perhaps even text-to-video capabilities in the coming months and years.

However, it’s important to know ChatGPT’s limitations and work within them to get the results.

Conclusion

Image prompting is about to become easier than ever. Plugins are no longer necessary to add an image to ChatGPT. In addition, with the introduction of DALL-E 3, you can now output images from ChatGPT too! This functionality is limited to paid accounts, and we expect this to continue to be the case with the eventual release of GPT-5.