6 Best Free AI Image Generators for Design & Photography 2024

Our technology has indeed come a long way from the painstaking process of photo editing. These days, AI tools such as AI Image Editor can now remove backgrounds, remove unwanted objects, and upscale images — all in a matter of seconds.

Let’s take it one level higher. How about painting your creative thoughts into actual images in just a few seconds? With AI image generation, anyone can be an artist.

In this article, we’ll delve into how AI image generators work and how to pick the best AI image generator for you.

What Is An AI Image Generator?

The forefront of AI image generation is dominated by deep learning, a subset of machine learning. Great, now your next question might be — what is deep learning?

Imagine teaching a computer to recognize objects in an image. Initially, it might struggle, but as it's exposed to more examples, it learns to identify patterns and features.

Deep learning****takes this concept further by creating complex, hierarchical representations, enabling the generation of images that can exhibit incredible detail, nuance, and creativity.

To put it in perspective, think of a neural network as an artist with a vast palette of colors. Each layer in the network adds an additional dimension to the artwork, refining the details and creating a final masterpiece.

AI image generators can create images from two types of inputs — text or image.

AI image generator from image

When you upload an image, the AI model learns to understand the visual content, extracting information about shapes, colors, textures, and other visual elements.

The generator then produces an output image, often aiming to enhance, modify, or generate new content based on the patterns and features learned from the input image.  Original Image Original Image

AI Image Output(Anime Style)

AI Image Output(Anime Style)

AI Image Output(Game Art Style)

AI Image Output(Game Art Style)

AI image generators from images are often used for tasks like style transfer, image enhancement, or content synthesis.

AI image generator from text

Text-to-image generators are more common. The AI model interprets the text prompt and uses it as a guide to generate an image. This involves translating the words and concepts in the text into visual elements, such as objects, scenes, or styles.

Text-based generators allow users to describe the desired image rather than providing a reference image. For the rest of this article, we’ll zoom in on text-to-image AI generators. There will be several examples to compare.

The Most Powerful AI Image Generators

The most popular AI image generators that produce the best quality images by far are Midjourney and Dall-E. Both are paid AI image generators. If you use AI to generate images regularly, consider investing in them to get the best work you can get for the money.

Midjourney

 Midjourney - AI Art Generator for Creative Minds In 2022, an AI art won first place in the digital art category at the Colorado State Fair. Jason Allen’s masterpiece, Théâtre D’opéra Spatia, was not made through Photoshop or any illustration app — but through Midjourney.

This shows that anyone with a creative mind who can communicate his or her thoughts in detail, paired with a strong AI model like Midjourney, can create stunning artwork — even without holding a brush.

Midjourney used to offer free trials for their Beta version, but now they offer subscription plans because of high demand. For as low as $10/month, you can create AI art through Midjourney’s discord server. No software is required — just enter your text prompts on their Discord servers, and the Midjourney bot will generate images in seconds.

Not sure how to write your text prompts? Observe the prompts on their Discord channel. Everything is shown in public, including the text prompt and the AI-generated images.

Dall-E

Dall-E - Transform Text into Visual Narratives with AI Developed by OpenAI, Dall-E is a text-to-image generator that integrates with ChatGPT. While ChatGPT has a free version, the latest Dall-E 3 can only be accessed through ChatGPT Plus for $20/month.

Dall-E empowers individuals with a penchant for creative expression but perhaps lacking traditional artistic skills. The AI model acts as a virtual collaborator, turning vivid descriptions into compelling visual narratives.

The example of Super-duper Sunflower Hedgehog DALL-E's uniqueness lies in its emphasis on text-to-image generation, creative flexibility, extensive training datasets, community engagement, and ongoing development. These factors contribute to DALL-E's position as a pioneering and influential AI image generator in artificial intelligence and creative expression.

6 Best Free AI Image Generators

Dall-E and Midjourney may be the most powerful AI image generators today, but they aren’t cheap. Hence, we’ll focus on alternative AI image generators you can try for free.

How We Picked The Best Free AI Image Generators

Out of several free AI image generators on the internet, we picked out our recommendations based on the following criteria:

  • Free to use

All of our recommendations have a freemium model, which means you get a limited number of credits for use only. Beyond that, you’ll have to wait for your credits to refresh the next day or earn more credits through their subscription plans.

The essential point is democratizing these AI image generators to beginners and even to folks with no experience yet.

  • Text-to-image

We compared several free AI image generators on the internet using the same prompt:

"Transport Taylor Swift to the roaring twenties in an Art Deco jazz club. Dressed in glamorous flapper attire, she takes the stage with a jazz band in the background. The air is filled with the rich sounds of the saxophone, and the venue radiates the elegance of the Jazz Age. Art Deco, flapper glam, jazz night, vintage elegance."

Note: Some AI image generators have content policy restrictions, especially Dall-E, when using public figures, violence, or abusive, malicious, harmful content.

  • Diverse styles

We’re looking for AI image generators that have various style options. They must be capable of transforming text prompts into cartoons, sketches, illustrations, paintings, photographs, and cinematic shots.

Note: Our list of AI image generators is built on top of the most powerful AI models, such as Dall-E and Stable Diffusion.

  • Ease of use

We recommend only beginner-friendly AI image generators with intuitive user interfaces. Image rendering should also last from seconds to less than five minutes. The point of AI image tools, after all, is to help photographers and designers do a more precise job as fast as possible.

Based on those factors, here’s a snapshot of the best free AI image generators that we’ll be trying out.

AI Image Generator

Free Credits

Pricing Model

Platform Accessibility

Fotor

5 credits per day

Starts at $8.99/month

Web Browser | Mobile app (Android/iOS) | Desktop (Windows/Mac)

Runway AI

125 credits (~25 images)

Starts at $15 per editor/month

Web Browser | Mobile app (iOS)

DreamStudio

25 credits (~125 images

Pay-per-image ($1 for ~ 500 images)

Web Browser 

Night Cafe Creator

5 credits per day

Starts at $5.99/month

Web Browser | Web App for mobile devices

Leonardo.AI

150 tokens per day

Starts at $12/month

Web Browser | Mobile App (Android)

Bing Image Creator

25 boosts upon sign up | 15 boosts weekly

Redeem Microsoft Rewards

Microsoft Edge | Desktop (Windows 10/11 only)

Now that you got a glimpse of the bigger picture, let’s focus on each AI image generator. Learn what you can do with them, how much are their paid plans, and weigh out their pros and cons.

1.Fotor

Fotor - AI-Powered Image Editing Tools for Creators Fotor, known for its intuitive user interface, provides a range of basic editing tools, including cropping, retouching, and filters. While not specifically an AI image generator, it offers a creative toolkit for users looking to enhance their photos with ease.

PROS

CONS

✅ Their webpage has a demo video and step-by-step instructions for user convenience

✅ Visual elements excellently depict the text prompt

✅ Image-to-image AI generator is also available

✅ Other photo editing tools are also available

✖️ Available styles may be limited compared to other AI image generators

✖️ AI art gallery may be open to the public for inspiration. However, you can’t view the text prompts used.

HOW TO USE FOTOR’S AI IMAGE GENERATOR:

In Fotor’s home page, hover over the AI Tools from the header tabs. Select ‘AI Image Generator’ from the dropdown menu. Fotor’s home page Enter the text prompt in the box. After clicking on ‘Generate’, it will lead you to a page with a pop-up sign-up form. Sign up for a free account to get your free credits. Each AI-generated image is equivalent to 1 credit.

Sign up for a free account to get your free credits

Image Quality: Fotor is at the top of our list because the images depict a realistic photograph from the text prompt using the Photograph style. Fotor captured the vintage elegance of the jazz night band, and the results were identical to Taylor Swift’s appearance.

Ease of Use: Fotor’s user interface is simple to use. You don’t have to wait too long until the images appear. Download them straight to your device, and you’re done.

Pricing: Fotor’s freemium model offers 5 credits per day. Their pricing plan starts at $8.99/month for 100 credits. Alternatively, you can earn more credits for free by visiting Fotor’s website, referrals, and joining their Discord server, among others.

2.Runway

Runway AI - Empowering Creativity with Diverse AI Models

Runway caters to users ranging from artists to developers, making AI accessible for various purposes. They provide access to a diverse set of pre-trained models for creative applications. Apart from AI image generation, their platform also covers music, video, and design.

PROS

CONS

✅ Diverse pre-trained models — you can even train your custom AI model

✅ Active community support in Discord

✅ Image-to-image AI generator is also available

✅ Other AI enhancement tools are also available

✅ Can export your image into a shareable link.

✖️ Go through several web pages before you reach their AI image generation tool

✖️ Can’t buy more credits with the free plan

✖️ Some minor details are distorted

HOW TO USE RUNWAY.AI’S IMAGE GENERATOR:

In Runway’s home page, hover on ‘Product’ menu among the header tabs. Select ‘Text-to-Image’.

Runway’s home page

This leads you to their AI image generator tool. It has all the step-by-step instructions, a demo video, and FAQs to help you get started. Click on ‘Try Runway for Free’ to start signing up for a free account, which only takes a few seconds. Choose the Basic or the free plan.

Once you’ve successfully created an account, scroll down until you see the Text to Image tool.

Text to Image tool Enter the text prompt, set the image ratio, resolution (720p available for free accounts), style, and number of image generations. Wait a few seconds, and the images will be available for download or sharing. The settings of RUNWAY.AI

Image Quality: Runway doesn’t have Photography style. We used Cinematic instead, which gave us excellent results. Apart from minor distortions, the rendered images, especially the wide shots, already depict what we’ve described in our text prompt.

Ease of Use: Runway is not an exclusive AI image generator. You will have to travel across a few web pages and tabs before generating your images. But apart from that, it’s like plug-and-play right after.

Pricing: Runway’s freemium model offers 125 credits per day. Each image generation uses 5 credits. Their pricing plan starts at $15/month for 625 credits.

3.Leonardo.AI

A woman star created by Leonardo.AI 1 A woman star created by Leonardo.AI 2 A woman star created by Leonardo.AI 3 A woman star created by Leonardo.AI 4

Leonardo.AI is an AI tool that can create production-quality assets across several domains like architecture, interior design, game assets, marketing, photography, and others.

PROS

CONS

✅ The most diverse platform models (styles) in the list

✅ Refining and upscaling images available also on the platform

✅ Image-to-image AI generator is also available

✅ Capable of photo and 3D editing 

✅ Tokens refresh every 24 hours

✖️ Takes a few more seconds to render images than other AI image generators

✖️ Unused tokens in the paid plans expire at the end of the billing period

HOW TO USE LEONARDO.AI’S IMAGE GENERATOR:

First, create a free account to get 150 free tokens. Just click ‘Create an account’ from the home page. Then, on the left-side column, under ‘User Tools’, click on ‘AI Image Generation’. The home page of LEONARDO.AI

After entering the text prompt in the box, choose a finetuned model. Leonardo.AI has several platform models to choose from, depending on your style. Feel free to do a bit of exploring.

Several platform models of Leonardo.AI In this example, we selected Leonardo Vision XL. This AI model was pre-trained to “excel at realism and photography” from its description. You can also select the number of images to generate — in this case, 11 tokens for 4 images.

Image Quality: Although the background elements may look distorted, the subject pops out. The results gave identical representations of Taylor Swift, up to the finer details of the close-up pictures.

Ease of Use: The platform may look overwhelming at first with many options, but tutorials are available. Just click on the purple question mark icons to help you get started. It’s good to have many options with descriptive styles, though it may take experimentation which can exhaust the free tokens.

Pricing: Upon signing up, you get free 150 tokens which refresh every 24 hours.Token usage depends on the features used. If you wish to add more tokens, upgrade to their subscription plans starting at $12/month for 8,500 tokens.

4.DreamStudio

DreamStudio - Create Artistic Images with AI Innovation

DreamStudio by Stability.AI is also the developer of another powerful AI model called Stable Diffusion. Compared to Dall-E and Midjourney, DreamStudio allows you to try their open-source AI model for free.

PROS

CONS

✅ No-fuss, straightforward tool

✅ Can generate several images already using the free credits

✅ Image-to-image AI generator is also available

✅ Other photo editing tools are also available

✅ Pay-per-image pricing model

✖️ Some images generated do not follow the selected style

✖️ Few distortions on the minor details

HOW TO USE DREAMSTUDIO:

DreamStudio is straightforward because Stability.AI develops the AI model itself. On their home page, simply click on ‘Get Started’ and start entering your text prompt.

Home page of DreamStudio

We used the Photographic style to generate realistic shots. After clicking the ‘Dream’ button, you’ll be asked to create a free account which only takes a few seconds. You can view and download the images after creating an account.

Image Quality: Perhaps due to their content policy, particularly involving public figures, DreamStudio did not accurately depict Taylor Swift’s appearance. Some images didn’t look like photographs. Other visual elements from the text prompt, though, were evident.

Ease of Use: Their open-source platform is straight to the point. Generate your images in no time.

Pricing: DreamStudio’s freemium model can generate 125 images. You can see the amount of credits for each image generation in the Dream button. Credits neither renew nor expire. You can buy more credits ($1 = 100 credits or 500 images) which requires a credit card.

5.Night Cafe Creator

Night Cafe Creator - Transform Ideas into Art with AI Styles

Night Cafe is another free AI image app that focuses on style transfer and various image filters, allowing users to create artistic and visually appealing images using the most powerful AI models such as Stable Diffusion and Dall-E.

PROS

CONS

✅ Diverse pre-set styles and AI models available

✅ Earn credits for free in several ways

✅ Image-to-image AI generator is also available

✅ Easily share on social platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit) or anywhere with a shareable link

✅ Can order a museum-quality printout of your AI artwork

✖️ May take several tries before you get the desired results

✖️ No native mobile app yet for Android and iOS devices

HOW TO USE NIGHTCAFE CREATOR:

On Night Cafe Creator’s home page, click on ‘CREATE’ located on the header ribbon to start creating your free account. Then, choose a creation method.

Night Cafe Creator’s home page

Night Cafe has 5 creation methods, including the powerful Stable Diffusion and Dall-E 2. We found Stable Diffusion to produce better results when mentioning public figures in text prompts.

Enter the text prompt and choose a style. Compared to the previous AI image generators, Night Cafe Creator has more diverse styles to cater to broad artistic tastes. In this example, we used the NightCafe pre-set style.

NightCafe pre-set style

Wait a few seconds, and you can view and download the images.

Image Quality: Night Cafe Creator has a Photo pre-set style, but it didn’t give satisfactory results. With the NightCafe pre-set style, the images generated depicted the text prompt better.

Ease of Use: Their web app has a user-friendly interface and is highly flexible with diverse options in style and AI model. You can also view other AI image generations in the community and see their text prompts for inspiration. They run daily contests, too, where you can earn additional credits.

Pricing: Night Cafe Creator’s freemium model offers 5 credits per day. You can earn more credits by sharing your creations on social media or publishing them on the NightCafe platform, and engaging with other AI creators. Otherwise, upgrade to their subscription plans.For as low as $5.99/month, you can generate 310 SDXL images every month.

6.Bing Image Creator

Bing Image Creator - Generate Images with Dall-E AI Model

Bing Image Creator is an AI image generator made by Microsoft. It uses the Dall-E model for AI generation on a Microsoft Edge browser only.

PROS

CONS

✅ Uses the powerful Dall-E model

✅ 15 boosts refreshes weekly for free

✅ Share your creations anywhere with a shareable link

✅ Directly accessible from the sidebar of Microsoft Edge

✖️ Limited platform accessibility

✖️ Credit system links to Microsoft Rewards

✖️ No style options available

HOW TO USE BING IMAGE CREATOR:

Open your Microsoft Edge browser and sign in with your email account. Then, open the Image Creator from the sidebar with this icon:

Image Creator icon Clicking on this icon will open the Image Creator pane. Input the text prompt in the box and click ‘Create’ to start generating.

Click Create

The Dall-E model has stricter content policy rules. So we had to remove the public figures in the text prompts, or else the ‘Create’ button wouldn’t work. Here, we replace Taylor Swift with ‘blond popstar’ instead. This time, it started rendering the photos.

Replace Taylor Swift with blond popstar instead

To download, click on each photo so it opens a tab on the browser. Click on ‘Download’ to save to your device, ‘Save’ to your Collections for easy reference, or ‘Share’ to copy a shareable link.

Image Quality: There were no options available when it came to style, so the images were generated by default. Due to Dall-E’s strict content policy, the pictures do not like Taylor Swift.However, Bing Image Creator generated a better jazz-looking vibe in the background than the previous models in this list.

Ease of Use: Bing Image Creator is exclusive to Microsoft Edge browsers in Windows 10 and 11 platforms only. Once you have these, it can be accessed easily through the sidebar. It saves you time with the default style and number of image options in place.

Pricing: Bing Image Creator offers 25 boosts after signing up, which refreshes to 15 boosts weekly thereafter. Each batch, consisting of 4 images, uses up 1 boost. If you need more boosts, you can redeem your Microsoft Rewards. Collect more points by using more of Bing Search or by purchasing from the Microsoft Store.

Wrap-Up: How To Choose The Best AI Image Generator?

AI image generators exemplify how cutting-edge AI models can democratize art creation, welcoming individuals from various backgrounds to partake in the exciting journey of text-to-image generation.

Choosing the best AI image generator for you boils down to the:

  • Base AI model — whether it’s Dall-E, Midjourney, or Stable Diffusion
  • Ease of use of the platform — whether they can provide diverse style options for flexibility
  • Credit system — whether they allow a good number of daily credit allowance to experiment their features.

FAQs

What is the most powerful AI art generator?

Midjourney and DALL-E 3 currently lead the pack in terms of power and capabilities.

Is there a completely free AI image generator?

Yes, there are free AI image generators, but the caveat may be limited features or credits. Several free AI image generators, including Fotor, Runway, Night Cafe, Leonardo AI, DreamStudio, and Bing Image Creator, offer impressive features under a freemium model.

Is DALL-E available for free?

DALL-E 3 offers a premium experience and is not available for free. However, previous versions may be available to the public.

What is the AI art everyone is using?

The popularity of AI art varies, but DALL-E, Midjourney, and tools like the platform in this list are gaining recognition for their exceptional results.

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Get stunning visuals with AI-powered image creation tools.

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    Overscale

    Ai upscale and enhance your images

  • Remove unwanted objects from images

    Clearoff

    Remove unwanted objects from images

  • Remove backgrounds automatically

    Outcut

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