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Midjourney Review: The Best AI Image Generator By Far

Harnessing the power of generative AI, Midjourney goes beyond traditional design boundaries, transforming simple text prompts into stunning visual masterpieces. It's currently the hottest image generation tool publicly available, bridging the gap between language and visual artistry in 2023.
Updated September 15, 2023
A bunch of gold penguins looking in different directions
A bunch of gold penguins looking in different directions

Ever stumbled upon an amazing picture online and wondered how on earth it was made? In the past, you probably assumed it was the work of a talented artist or some tech-savvy guy using Photoshop, right?

Well, things have changed over the last year all thanks to artificial intelligence and platforms like Midjourney. Believe it or not, you too can tap into your inner artist and create stunning visuals. Regardless if you enjoy art, need to make thumbnails, or want to prototype a product – you could do it all in Midjourney.

You might have heard about text-to-image AI generators like DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion, or Midjourney, or may have never heard about them at all. just have been hesitant to give them a try. If you're curious and want to dip your toes in the water, I've got you covered with this comprehensive Midjourney review.

Not only will I show you how to use it, but we'll go over what's behind the company. So, buckle up and keep reading to discover this mind-blowing AI art-making platform.

What is Midjourney?

Midjourney is a text-to-image generator that revolutionizes the way content creators (or really anybody) can create images using nothing but a sentence & discord server.

Using the power of artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms, Midjourney generates photorealistic realistic images from scratch with remarkable precision. With this innovative tool, you don’t need to have artistic skills to create art.

Midjourney Winter landscape photo by AbigailScott407

Founded by American entrepreneur David Holz in July 2022, Midjourney has since taken the artistic world by storm (in both good and controversial ways). It's way better at creating images than tools like DALL-E 2 which pioneered a couple months before Midjourney.

Unlike traditional image generation techniques, Midjourney understands and mimics the patterns, textures, and structures present in various types of the millions of images it was trained on; and generates unique images that blend elements from these different sources.

Midjourney generates images from natural language descriptions, called "prompts", similar to OpenAI's DALL-E and Stable Diffusion. It works by using a diffusion model to turn random noise into beautiful art.

Where Do You Create Pictures?

Midjourney is currently only accessible through a Discord bot on their official Discord server, by direct messaging the bot, or by inviting the bot to a third party server.

Upon its initial release, anyone could use Midjourney for free through invitation or by sending a request to be invited. At that time, you could create up to 25 stunning images without spending a dime.

But as of April 2023, the free trial is no longer available. You'll have to register for a plan starting at $10 a month. Regardless of plan status, the procedure of getting Midjourney is still the same. Here’s how:

  1. Go to Midjourney.com and click “Join Beta.” 
  2. Fill out the fields to create a free Discord account.
  3. You can also sign-up directly on their Registration page - https://discord.com/register.
  4. If you already have an account, click Already have an account? to login.
  5. Add the Midjourney server to your Discord account by clicking the + button located on the left side of the Discord toolbar.
  6. To start creating images, subscribe to any of the paid plans. Go to the message field and type /subscribe, and hit Enter.
An image of the default home page on the Midjourney discord server

How To Use Midjourney

To create an image on discord, go to the message field and type /imagine and add a space. You should see the text prompt appear. Here, you can describe the image you're looking for in as little as 1 word or as much as a few sentences. Need some ideas?

  • Moonlit symphony under an alien sky.
  • The last whisper of an ancient forest.
  • In the market of shadows, where memories are currency.
  • Clockwork creatures hosting a carnival at dawn.
  • A city built on the back of a sleeping giant.
  • The library where stars are books and galaxies the stories.
  • Reflections in a mirror maze from parallel worlds.
  • An underwater ballroom where jellyfish are the chandeliers.
  • The crossover of forgotten gods in a contemporary coffee shop.
  • A train station where the tracks lead to different eras of time.

In less than a minute, Midjourney will show you four different images. To find your images, you may have to scroll up or down and find your username (if you're in a server with a lot of people). To find them faster, click the Inbox icon on the upper right of the page and go to Mentions.

Once you see your images, you'll notice eight buttons underneath - U1, U2, U3, U4, V1, V2, V3, and V4. You’ll also see a Re-roll button that when clicked, will re-run your prompt and generate four new images.

The letter U stands for Upscale, which creates a new larger version with higher quality details. The letter V stands for Variations, which tells Midjourney to create variations of a particular image. 

The numbers 1-4 refer to the sequence of the images - from top left to top right (1-2) and from bottom left to bottom right (3-4). There's also a re-roll button that will re-run the prompt and generate four completely different images.

Refine Images Produced Until Satisfied

By default, Midjourney creates square images with an aspect ratio of 1:1 with a resolution of 1024 x 1024 pixels. If you want to change your image to a rectangle, you can change its aspect ratio by using the –aspect parameter. The aspect ratio should always be in whole numbers. (Ex: 142:1, not 1.42:1)

Midjourney also has an Image Prompts feature that allows you to upload an image into your prompt via a direct link. If you upload images from your device, send them to the Midjourney Bot and it will automatically generate a link. Here's all the parameters you could tweak your requests with:

  • Aspect Ratios
    • --aspect, or --ar: Changes the aspect ratio of a generation. This is invaluable for designers ensuring images fit specific display requirements.
  • Chaos
    • --chaos <number 0–100>: Varies the result unpredictability. Perfect for creatives seeking a balance between predictability and surprise.
  • Fast
    • --fast: Overrides settings for a quicker job using Fast Mode. Ideal for those under tight deadlines needing a quick potential output glimpse.
  • Image Weight
    • --iw <0–2>: Adjusts image prompt weight relative to text. Content creators can tweak this to harmonize the influence of text and visual cues.
  • No
    • --no: Excludes specific elements from an image, such as plants. Handy for artists looking to omit certain elements.
  • Quality
    • --quality or --q: Determines rendering quality time. Resource-conscious users can manage GPU usage, finding a balance between quality and computational efficiency.
  • Relax
    • --relax: Overrides settings for a relaxed job mode. Beneficial for users who prefer softer, less intense results.
  • Repeat
    • --repeat or --r: Creates multiple jobs from one prompt. Essential for developers and designers needing multiple iterations of an image.
  • Seed
    • --seed: Sets a specific seed number for initial image grids. Ideal for those wanting consistency or recreating a particular style.
  • Stop
    • --stop: Finishes a job partway for blurrier results. Designers aiming for abstract or ethereal concepts might appreciate this option.
  • Style
    • --style: Switches between model versions or aesthetics. Curators can align content with specific aesthetics or model versions.
  • Stylize
    • --stylize or --s: Influences Midjourney's default aesthetic style strength. Allows users to fine-tune and complement their project's aesthetics.
  • Tile
    • --tile: Produces images for repeating, seamless patterns. Invaluable for pattern designers and textile artists creating unique designs.
  • Turbo
    • --Turbo: Overrides settings for a Turbo Mode job. Ideal when speed is crucial for rapid image generation.
  • Weird
    • --Weird: Explores unusual aesthetics. Perfect for venturing beyond the usual into avant-garde aesthetics.

PRO TIP: Midjourney will just follow whatever your command is, so be very specific in telling it what to do. If you want to get more ideas, join groups about Midjourney, browse other users’ prompt commands and images, or just scroll through the Discord server!

How Much Does Midjourney Cost?

Midjourney has four pricing plans - Basic, Standard, Pro, and Mega. The minimum monthly cost is $10, and you can save $2/month if you choose an annual subscription.

Basic

  Standard

Pro

Mega

Monthly

  $10

  $30

  $60

  $120

Annually

$96
($8/month)

$288
($24/month)

$576
($48/month)

$1152
($96/month)

Fast GPU Time

3.3 hrs/month

15 hrs/month

30 hrs/month

60 hrs/month

  Relax GPU Time

  Unlimited

  Unlimited

Unlimited

  Purchase Extra GPU Time

  $4/hr

  $4/hr

  $4/hr

  $4/hr

  Work Solo In Your Direct Messages

  Stealth Mode

  Maximum Concurrent Jobs

3 Jobs
10 Queued

3 Jobs
10 Queued

12 Fast Jobs

3 Relaxed Jobs 10 Queued

12 Fast Jobs

3 Relaxed Jobs 10 Queued

*You are free to use your images in just about any way you want, as long as you had a subscription to Midjourney at any point.

What’s the Difference Between Fast GPU Time and Relax GPU Time?

GPUs stands for Graphics Processing Units, which interpret and process each prompt in Midjourney. GPU time is the amount of time for backend servers to generate your image. As a paid Midjourney user, you are buying time on these GPUs.

Fast GPU Time simply refers to the time allowed for you to use Midjourney each month, depending on your subscription plan. Once you are in this mode, Midjourney will process your prompt using its GPUs. The time for every prompt will be deducted from your monthly allotted limit.

According to Midjourney, their bot spends about 1 minute of GPU time to create an image. More Fast time gives you more time to fine-tune your prompts. This Fast Mode is set by default but you can change it to Relax Mode and vice versa, any time you like.

Relax GPU Time is the amount of time when jobs are placed in a queue while the GPUs are unavailable. This “waiting time” ranges from 0 to 10 minutes per job. The basic plan offers no Relax time, while the other plans offer unlimited. Use the --fast --turbo or --relax parameter to switch modes directly when prompting.

Unused monthly Fast GPU time does not roll over and is reset at the end of your monthly billing period. You can check your remaining time in your account. If you’re running out of GPU time, switch to Relaxed mode or purchase extra GPU time.

10 Awesome Image & Styles You Can Create Using Midjourney

You just need to use your imagination and let the tool do the hard work. To be more specific, here are some of the different kinds of images you can do with Midjourney:

Abstract Art

PROMPT: A swirl of pastel colors gently colliding, embodying the serenity of a morning sunrise. Set --iw 1.5 --stylize 70

A swirl of pastel colors gently colliding, embodying the serenity of a morning sunrise. Set --iw 1.5 --stylize 70

Architecture

PROMPT: A treehouse village interconnected with wooden bridges, perched atop ancient giant trees amidst a misty forest

A treehouse village interconnected with wooden bridges, perched atop ancient giant trees amidst a misty forest

Dreamlike Landscapes

PROMPT: A vast desert with shifting purple sands under a galaxy-filled sky, with silhouettes of nomads traveling on giant winged creatures

A vast desert with shifting purple sands under a galaxy-filled sky, with silhouettes of nomads traveling on giant winged creatures

Game Characters

PROMPT: A warrior princess with shimmering armored wings, wielding a crystal-infused sword, standing on a snowy peak

A warrior princess with shimmering armored wings, wielding a crystal-infused sword, standing on a snowy peak

Home Images

PROMPT: A modern minimalist loft with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a tranquil beach at sunset. --quality 1

A modern minimalist loft with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a tranquil beach at sunset. --quality 1

Icons

PROMPT: A steampunk-style gear icon with intricate engravings and a bronze finish. --quality 1

A steampunk-style gear icon with intricate engravings and a bronze finish. --quality 1

Logos

PROMPT: A sleek silver phoenix emblem, wings spread wide, encircled by a ring of fire

A sleek silver phoenix emblem, wings spread wide, encircled by a ring of fire

Poster Art

PROMPT: An enchanting movie poster for a fairy tale, featuring a grand castle, dark woods, and mysterious glowing creatures. You could even sell these.

An enchanting movie poster for a fairy tale, featuring a grand castle, dark woods, and mysterious glowing creatures

Story Characters

PROMPT: A noble knight from a steampunk realm, clad in leather armor and brass, riding a mechanical dragon

A noble knight from a steampunk realm, clad in leather armor and brass, riding a mechanical dragon

Stickers

PROMPT: A vibrant sticker of a kawaii-style cactus wearing sunglasses, with the words 'Stay Cool' in bubbly letters

A vibrant sticker of a kawaii-style cactus wearing sunglasses, with the words 'Stay Cool' in bubbly letters

Why I love Midjourney

Aside from being affordable and insane image quality that gets produced, it's the start of something massive in the generative AI world. At first, the interface seems to be confusing but gets easy to work with after just a few minutes.

The fact that there’s no daily limit allows me to be more imaginative and creative, trying a bunch of things and figuring out what style I want to adapt. Fellow users in the Midjourney community are also really generous in sharing their tips and ideas.

More importantly, Midjourney has huge potential applications in fields like advertising, design, entertainment, and VR. It's just endless.

Midjourney has already impacted the comics industry. Great examples are the graphic novels created by Steve Coulson, creative director of Campfire Entertainment. To date, Coulson has published several best-selling digital science fiction novels, such as Summer Island, The Bestiary Chronicles, and Exodus using Midjourney.

Is Midjourney Worth The Money?

Yes, Midjourney is absolutely worth the money. Even if you don't want to renew a subscription, for the price of a lunch, it's worth the countless hours of fun you could have with it.

An Alternative to Midjourney: DALL-E 2

DALL-E 2 is one of the best Midjourney alternatives. Developed by OpenAI, DALL-E 2 was officially released in September 2022 to replace DALL-E 1. Like Midjourney, this text-to-image generator can also create photorealistic images and some variations.

Both tools offer inpainting and outpainting features that allow users to extend their creativity. However, DALL-E 2 differs in results and pricing. DALL-E is definitely not as good, creative, or expansive.

Midjourney has more upscaling features than DALL-E 2, which appears to produce more details in higher resolutions. Unlike Midjourney, DALL-E 2 does not offer monthly subscriptions but on a per credit basis.

It does seem like OpenAI is working on DALL-E 3 now though. We should hear some more about it in the coming months.

Limitations and Drawbacks

Midjourney, like other AI text-to-image generators, has its own limitations and drawbacks. One major limitation is that it currently does not offer API access, and there is no indication that it will add this feature anytime soon.

What bothers me the most is that you can use Midjourney only through a Discord account. Both for safety and convenience reasons. Switching to stealth mode will only make your images invisible from the Midjourney gallery, but not in public Discord channels. I just wish I could use it directly from the browser.

Midjourney Controversies and Concerns

Banned Users and Words

Like any other company startup, Midjourney is not exempted from controversies. When Midjourney founder David Holz announced halting the free trial because the platform was “abused.” The announcement came shortly after Midjourney-created photos of New York City police arresting former President Donald Trump went viral. The said photos were created by British journalist and Bellingcat founder, Eliot Higgins.

As a measure, Midjourney banned the user and the word “arrest” from the platform. In May 2023, a Twitter user admitted that he got banned from Midjourney after creating images of politicians cheating on their wives.

Three months earlier, Midjourney banned some words related to human biology such as “placenta, “fallopian tubes,” and “mammary glands.” Holz said the action is to prevent users from generating shocking or gory content. A necessary nerf? Up to you to decide.

Midjourney and Copyright

Copyright Law is the worst enemy of AI imaging tools such as Midjourney. In September 2022, AI artist Kristina Kashtanova publicly announced that the US Copyright Office granted her copyright for her comic book, Zarya of the Dawn. In her Instagram post, Kashtanova admitted that her artwork was created using Midjourney.

But in February 2023, the US Copyright Office reversed its decision and removed the copyright for the Midjourney-generated images in Kashtanova’s book. According to the letter (PDF) by the US Copyright Office sent to her lawyer, “the images in the Work that were generated by the Midjourney technology are not the product of human authorship.”

As a response, Kashtanova said that “When you put your images into a book like Zarya, the arrangement is copyrightable. The story is copyrightable as well as long as it’s not purely AI produced.” She added that her lawyers will further explain her side to the US Copyright Office. Kashtanova is now creating a new comic book but using another AI image-creating tool.

Does Midjourney Steal from Artists?

Being a legal matter, this question will eventually be answered directly by a court judge. Until then, platforms like The Verge reported in January that three artists filed a lawsuit against Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DeviantArt.

Allegedly, the said AI-image generators scraped billions of images from the web without the consent of the original creators, and used them to train their AI tools. Definitely a controversial topic.

Holz admitted in a Forbes interview back in September 2022 that his company did not seek consent from the artists regarding the copyrighted images in Midjourney. “There isn’t really a way to get a hundred million images and know where they’re coming from.” Holz said.

So, is Midjourney stealing images from artists? Another topic for you to decide.

Interview answer from David Holz, Did you seek consent from living artists or work still under copyright?

No. There isn’t really a way to get a hundred million images and know where they’re coming from. It would be cool if images had metadata embedded in them about the copyright owner or something. But that's not a thing; there's not a registry. There’s no way to find a picture on the Internet, and then automatically trace it to an owner and then have any way of doing anything to authenticate it.
Screenshot Credit: The Verge

Final Thoughts

With everything aside, using Midjourney is a great experience. It's incredible. If you don't think it's incredible, try showing it to someone a few years older than you. They'll be blown away.

I’m not a visual artist at all but I feel like I can pretty much create anything now. Just looking at other’s work amazes me and it never crossed my mind that I can also create a masterpiece. Even if it's just for my own amusement.

Whether you'll use it for business purposes or just want to create things, investing in Midjourney is a smart move. You'll be amazed at all the things you can do with it.

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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