One of the most evocative platforms for AI art, Midjourney, is now open to everyone in beta mode.
This is the second time the platform has been opened to everyone as a beta. On July 18, the platform was opened for 24 hours. In an email sent to Midjourney beta testers on Tuesday, however, founder David Holz wrote that “the Midjourney beta is now open to everyone.”
Midjourney is one of the more interesting entries into the small but growing field of AI art, which takes user-generated questions, runs them through an AI algorithm, and allows the algorithm to draw from its source images and apply various artistic techniques in the resulting image. . Midjourney’s images look somewhat similar in quality to those produced by Latitude’s Voyage, although Latitude charges $14.99 for 20 image credits as part of its paid plan.
Right now, beta users will get about 25 free images as part of the Midjourney beta. After that you’ll need to pay either $10/month for 200 images per month, or a standard membership of $30/month for unlimited use. Midjourney will allow corporate use of images created for a specific enterprise membership. Otherwise, the images belong to you.
There’s just one catch with Midjourney: the prompts and resulting images are generated via Discord, the social networking/chat app. To be a part of Midjourney, you’ll need a free Discord membership. (PCWorld’s beginner’s guide to Discord can help you get sorted if you’re new to the service.) The following link will sign you up for the Midjourney service: discord.gg/midjourney.
While Midjourney provides a user manual, using it comes down to this. Within Discord, you’ll need to join one of the fast-growing “#young” channels — it doesn’t matter which one. Once you enter the channel, simply type “/imagine” followed by the text prompt. Remember, even though there is AI generating the result, the direction of the style is up to you. It’s worth scrolling up and down the various “youth” channels to see which requests generate which responses and which styles you can apply.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Some results will surprise you; others will disappoint. There is a bit of luck in everything. I wasn’t that impressed with “a kraken appears from beneath the San Francisco Bay,” but the resulting image of “a castle on an asteroid floating through space” at the top of this story is pretty cool.
Every time you enter a query, you’ll get an almost instant result, in a matrix of four images that are all variations of the theme. Below each image you will also see some buttons. Each button has a meaning: the “U” buttons enhance a certain image, by 1 to 4; the “V” buttons ask the AI to provide a variation of the theme on the given image. The circular arrow is a “finish” for the whole set. Be careful! Simply pressing each button generates the command and pays you an image credit in return.
Mark Hachman / IDG
Don’t be discouraged by the sheer volume of requests either. Due to the nature of Discord, you’ll see your question and results zoom out quickly from the page. To solve this problem, click the inbox item in the upper right corner. (It actually looks like an RJ45 Ethernet port on a computer.) This will open a list of relevant messages from the Midjourney bot. Click the “jump” button to take you to the current message on Discord, where you can interact with the image.
Mark Hachman / IDG
You can also find your personal image gallery by simply visiting your “home page” within Midjourney. You can click on the small “ellipsis” menu next to the image to “open [it] in Dispute.” This will open Discord and allow you to apply the above modifications.
How to get more Midjourney image credits for free
By default, all requests you generate are “quick” or immediate. you can get more image credits, “for free”, by switching to the “/relax” command. This puts your request in a queue, rather than processing it immediately. It’s unclear how much this extra queue time actually is, but Midjourney won’t pay you a credit for using it.
Unfortunately, this loophole only works as a subscriber. On the other hand, if you end up signing up for the $10/month plan and get hooked, but can’t justify spending $30/month on cool images, you can try this option!