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Meta vs DALL-E 3 vs Midjourney: The Best AI Image Generator?

Art will never be the same again with AI. We're so close to achieving art perfection with AI models such as Midjourney, DALL-E, and Meta. The question is, which one of them is the closest?
Updated April 1, 2024
Three robot painters, generated with Midjourney
Three robot painters, generated with Midjourney

Remember the days of scouring Flickr or Unsplash for stock photos? Or when we used to spend hours looking for the best phone wallpaper? Yeah, me neither. AI image generators have completely changed the way we approach art. But with options like Meta, DALL-E 3, and Midjourney, choosing the "best" feels like picking a favorite color – impossible!

From Meta's free-to-use accessibility to DALL-E 3's superior nuance, and Midjourney's artistic prowess, each model holds a unique power. But which one fits your needs the most? And most importantly, which one can generate the best artwork using the same prompt?

Let’s find out.

What are Meta, DALL-E, and Midjourney?

Meta, officially known as "Imagine with Meta AI," is a free-to-use platform backed by the tech giant Meta (formerly Facebook). Its user-friendly interface lets you generate breathtaking images from simple text prompts. While still in beta, Meta excels at realistic photography, particularly portraits and landscapes. 

On the other hand, OpenAI's DALL-E, particularly its latest version DALL-E 3, stands as one of the leaders in the AI image generation world. While not free, it offers exceptional image quality and a remarkable understanding of complex prompts, both of which were weak points in DALL-E 2.

And then we have Midjourney, which excels in creating both artistic and photorealistic images. With the release of Midjourney V6, it also improved significantly in text generation and prompt cohesion. It has a new feature almost every week, the latest of which includes Niji 6 and style reference. The much-awaited web alpha version has also been released to a select group of people, so here’s a sneak peek of it:

Feature Comparison

Let’s start from the worst to best. Meta’s features, apart from image variations, are non-existent. You can’t even save image generation history. It’s very barebones but, to be fair, what else can we expect from a free AI image generator?

DALL-E 3 is much better than Meta when it comes to features. You have the staples such as image variations and history, but what sets it apart is its integration with ChatGPT. Using GPT-4, DALL-E can use conversations as its prompt by turning your original prompt into something that the AI image model can understand better.

That said, DALL-E 3 doesn’t hold a candle to Midjourney’s features. It has all the staples of AI image generation, but it also has features like:

  • Pan & Zoom: Enlarge your image canvas for closer inspection or adjustments.
  • Upscaler: Generate a significantly higher resolution version of your chosen image.
  • Variations: Create subtle modifications of an image you like for alternative options.
  • Model Selection: Switch between various Midjourney versions (V1 to V6) or Niji models for anime-style images.
  • Aspect Ratio Customization: Choose the specific width and height ratio for your image.
  • Chaos: Control the randomness and unpredictability of generated variations.
  • Stylize: Adjust the degree of stylistic elements and artistic interpretation in your images.
  • Prompt Weights: Prioritize specific elements or keywords within your text prompts for stronger influence.
  • Text Generation: Create images with surprisingly accurate textual elements within them.
  • Style Reference: Use any image as a reference to capture its style and apply it to your prompt.

Output Comparison


Prompt: exterior, portrait image of a swimmer after a match, beach, medium shot

Prompt: isolated image of a photorealistic ceramic mug with iced coffee, beige background

Prompt: an empty school hallway during golden hour

Prompt: an empty school hallway during golden hour

Digital Art

Prompt: pixel art scene, closeup of the statue of liberty at sunset, pastel sky

Prompt: a panda befriending a koala, anime scene, slice of life

Prompt: a lakehouse, minimalist topographic lines, line art, muted colors

Prompt: minimalist logo of a ball of yarn

Overall Thoughts

For photorealism, Midjourney really has come a long way since the unnatural and uncanny looking images of versions V5 and earlier. On the other hand, DALL-E still has those same issues, even with their newest models. People and landscape still look a little waxy and perfect, with hints of AI repetition sprinkled amongst them. Meanwhile, Meta is a great option for photorealism considering that it's free.

As for the digital art, this has always been Midjourney's forte. I still think that its logo creation is a little subpar, but to be honest, so does every other AI image generator. If I had to pick, I'd say that DALL-E 3 is a little better in digital art than Meta, but most of it can be attributed to the latter's poor nuance.

Price Comparison

Meta Imagine takes the cake for affordability. Currently in beta, it offers free access to everyone with no hidden fees. Perfect for casual creators or those new to the AI art scene, it's a low-risk way to experiment and have fun.

Midjourney caters to varying needs with its tiered subscription model. The Basic plan starts at $10 per month, granting access to a limited number of "generations" (image creations) and community features. For higher volumes or commercial use, plans scale up to $120 per month, offering more generations, faster processing, and priority access.

DALL-E is a little bit of both. If you use it through ChatGPT, it requires a $20 per month subscription to GPT-4. However, there's a free option: Bing Image Creator. This platform offers 15 free DALL-E generations with "boost" (faster processing) and unlimited free generations. 

At the end of the day, the "best" pricing depends on your individual needs and usage patterns. Meta is a fantastic free option for beginners. Midjourney offers a flexible subscription model for varying demands. DALL-E requires careful consideration, with the free Bing option offering limited functionality.

All Said and Done

We’ve done a comparison between these tools in the past (along with Stable Diffusion and Adobe Firefly 2, so check that out later) and I’ve only further solidified my opinion about these tools in this article.

Meta is free and amazing at portraits, but it lacks the customizability and fine-tuning that other AI image models offer. DALL-E 3 is the most understanding of them all, the most capable in text generation, and can hold its ground in digital art. However, it’s only so-so in portraits, opting instead to generate eerily smooth, flawless people in their images.

Midjourney is the best all-around option for AI art. It has the most output parameter and fine-tuning options of them all. Not only that but it’s also the best in both photorealism and digital art. If you have $10 to spare, there’s little to no reason to look at other AI image generators besides Midjourney. 

At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Good luck!

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Written by John Angelo Yap
Hi, I'm Angelo. I'm currently an undergraduate student studying Software Engineering. Now, you might be wondering, what is a computer science student doing writing for Gold Penguin? I took up studying computer science because it was practical and because I was good at it. But, if I had the chance, I'd be writing for a career. Building worlds and adjectivizing nouns for no other reason other than they sound good. And that's why I'm here.
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