Can you imagine a tool capable of creating an image from a simple descriptive text? This is exactly what OpenAI proposes with its artificial intelligence called DALL-E 2.

This software is much talked about, it is now available to everyone for free.

Art Shortlist
by Art Shortlist - October 11, 2022

How does it work?

It all starts with a Deep Learning algorithm that allows the machine to retranscribe text content in the form of images. It is mathematical, the more it is used and the better it becomes, time plays in its favor.

A Raphael painting of a Madonna and Child eating a pizza

Each request made by a person improves the tool's performance and the correlation between text and image becomes better. As soon as a user types a text, DALL-E 2 suggests several images and different styles.

Moreover, DALL-E 2 is capable of making realistic modifications to existing images, the possibilities with this tool are endless.

You should know that the name DALL-E is a crossword that evokes both the Pixar robot WALL-E and the Spanish painter Salvador Dalí.

Who is behind DALL-E 2?

OpenAI is a non-profit organization founded in 2015 by Elon Musk and Sam Altman with the main goal of democratizing artificial intelligence while making it virtuous and entertaining.

For Elon Musk, artificial intelligence would be "the greatest threat" that humanity currently faces. He believes that a monopoly imposed by a small group of people on this technology could create a dangerous dictatorship.

Elon Musk's departure in 2018 caused the project to change course, OpenAI became a capped for-profit organization and is opening up to funding, including from Microsoft.

The DALL-E project is officially presented in 2021, the proposed images are the synthesis of the 32 best results found by the algorithm in relation to a single word.

What impact can DALL-E 2 have on the art world?

The big question about this artificial intelligence is the following: Can we qualify as artworks creations coming from an algorithm without involving human sensitivity in their plastic conception? It is this almost philosophical question that has been the subject of much discussion and has caused a number of creators to accuse the software of somehow desecrating art.

Pikachu at the table in a Parisian bistro in the manner of Claude Monet

Are artists about to be replaced by machines? Second underlying question that we can ask ourselves. Don't worry, we are not at that stage yet, DALL-E 2 has a lot of progress to make.

DALL-E 2 definitely facilitates access to image generation, which is very useful for advertising and marketing, but talking about works of art is a bit inappropriate.

AI is at the heart of a legal vacuum

It is undeniable that there is a legal vacuum surrounding the issue of copyrights, since many actors are involved in the creation process, it is almost impossible to attribute a creation to its different authors...

However, OpenAI has taken the bull by the horns by preventing its users from generating fake realistic images in order to avoid the propagation of deep-fakes or false information.

A recent update offers new possibilities

In 2022, DALL-E 2 implemented the ability to imagine what is happening outside an image. This feature is called "Outpainting" and takes into account existing elements in the image such as reflections, shadows and textures in order to keep the original context of the image to be enlarged.

The result is quite impressive as you can see with this Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer revisited by DALL-E 2.

Here are two more examples:

More than 2 million images generated every day

Previously, the software was only available to professionals on a long waiting list, but this is no longer the case.

DALL-E 2 already has more than 1.5 million active users and generates more than 2 million images every day.

Teddy bears shopping in the Ukiyo style

A registration on DALL-E includes 50 free credits, which means 50 created images. Then, every month, 15 credits are added to your account and for the most creative and impatient, it is possible to purchase additional credit packs.