Midjourney vs. DALL-E: Differences, Examples, and Which Is Better

Midjourney vs. DALL-E: Differences, Examples, and Which Is Better

Artificial intelligence is transforming the art world, allowing people to express themselves faster and in new ways. Powered by deep learning models and natural language processing, AI art tools can create images in different styles from simple text prompts. Whether you prefer realism, minimalism, or surrealism, you can produce it all using AI art generators.

AI tools have come a long way in the past year, from generating incomprehensible splotches to more realistic images with few flaws. Midjourney and DALL-E are two of the more popular AI art generators. Though they use different AI models and machine learning algorithms, they achieve the same goal of generating images from text.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the differences between Midjourney and DALL-E and help you discover which is better for your use case.

Table of contents:

Midjourney vs. DALL-E: Basics

Midjourney and DALL-E are built on different AI technologies that affect how they operate. Here’s some background information about these AI art generators.

Midjourney

Midjourney V6 is an advanced AI tool that combines a large language model (LLM) with a diffusion model to transform text inputs into images. The LLM interprets and converts text descriptions into numerical vectors, which the diffusion model then uses to generate images.

This dual-model approach enables Midjourney to produce highly detailed and accurate visual representations based on natural language prompts. Access to Midjourney is provided through a dedicated Discord server, where users interact with the Midjourney bot in specific channels like General or Newbie.

For new users, Midjourney offers a free trial to explore its features. However, due to high user traffic, a smoother experience is available through subscription plans. These plans include a basic tier at $10 per month, a Standard tier at $30 per month, and higher tiers like Pro and Mega, priced at $60 and $120 per month respectively. Subscribing to these plans not only enhances accessibility but also offers complete ownership of the generated images. It’s important to note that companies with annual revenues exceeding $1,000,000 need a Pro or Mega subscription to claim image ownership.

DALL-E

Like Midjourney, DALL-E generates images from text prompts but operates on a different AI framework. It is a multimodal application of OpenAI's GPT-3, focusing on image generation through a generative pretrained transformer (GPT). The latest iteration, DALL-E 3, significantly improves upon its predecessor, DALL-E 2, in terms of image quality and prompt adherence. Its integration with ChatGPT enhances user interaction, offering a more intuitive and conversational interface.

Accessing DALL-E requires a subscription to ChatGPT Plus, priced at $20 per month, which also includes access to GPT-4, a sophisticated large language model known for its exceptional text generation capabilities.

DALL-E grants users complete rights over the images they create, allowing them to reprint, sell, or post these images on various platforms. The service is designed to comply with a strict content policy, avoiding the generation of images that might infringe on copyright laws, thereby safeguarding users from potential legal complications.

Examples and image comparison

In this section, we perform a comprehensive side-by-side analysis to help you decide which platform is better for your image generation needs.

We will use abstract, photorealistic, comic, minimalist, surreal, vintage, and mosaic art styles to show how DALL-E and Midjourney perform in different genres.

Note: We will use ChatGPT to generate the prompts and then paste them in DALL-E and Midjourney.

Abstract

Prompt: Create an abstract painting featuring a blend of vivid colors and geometric shapes. The image should be a visual representation of the concept of harmony and chaos coexisting. Include swirling patterns of bright reds, deep blues, and luminous yellows intersected by sharp, black geometric lines.

DALL-E

Abstract1

Midjourney

Abstract2

Verdict:

DALL-E and Midjourney closely follow the provided prompts, generating images with a mixture of colors and shapes. They both include the requested colors—blue, red, and yellow—in their creations.

However, DALL-E performs better when executing the “swirling patterns” part of the prompt. In DALL-E’s image, the color and shape blend as they swirl toward the center of the image.

Photorealistic

Prompt: Create a photorealistic image of a tranquil mountain lake at sunrise. The scene should capture the first light of dawn breaking through a misty haze, casting a soft, golden glow over the landscape. The lake is crystal clear, reflecting the surrounding mountains and the vibrant hues of the sky.

In the foreground, there's a wooden dock with a small, empty rowboat tied to it, adding a sense of peaceful solitude. The details should be crisp and lifelike, from the texture of the tree bark and the rocky mountain surfaces to the gentle ripples on the water's surface.

DALL-E

Photorealistic 1

Midjourney

Photorealistic 2

Verdict:

Both Midjourney and DALL-E closely abide by the prompt in the generated images. They capture a mountain lake at sunrise with shadows cast over it. But when compared, Midjourney takes a simplistic approach with a more natural feel.

In Midjourney’s image, the mountains and trees cast dark shadows over the lake—just as we would expect them to do in real life. There are also gentle ripples on the lake's surface that appear natural. Though it wasn’t included in the prompt, Midjourney goes a step further to include fallen leaves on the lake surface—something we would see on a lake surrounded by a forest.

However, neither image is perfect. For an obvious example, while we asked for the rowboat to be tied to the dock, it is not. There are other subtle issues with the boats, docks, and background, including the dock apparently not supported by its pillars in the image by Midjourney.

Comic

Prompt: Create a comic-style image of a superhero standing on a rooftop at night, overlooking a bustling cityscape. The superhero is wearing a bright, colorful costume with a distinctive emblem on the chest. The city below is alive with neon lights and busy streets.

The illustration should have bold outlines, vibrant colors, and dynamic shading typical of comic book art. The superhero's pose is confident and heroic, with a cape billowing in the wind, ready to leap into action.

DALL-E

Comic 1

Midjourney

Comic 2

Verdict:

Midjourney and DALL-E generated images depicting a superhero ready to save the city from evil. The heroes have unique emblems on their chests—just as requested. But DALL-E does a much better job at adhering to the prompt.

DALL-E’s image depicts a superhero wearing a colorful costume—with a cape billowing in the wind—standing on a rooftop. The hero’s arms-akimbo pose in DALL-E’s image portrays confidence. The city is illuminated by neon lights and the main street is full of traffic, bringing out that comic feel. However, on inspection, the traffic in the streets doesn’t seem natural, and the lighting in the windows is suspiciously uniform.

Midjourney uses less vibrant colors and focuses more on the character and city buildings. The hero’s cape is shorter than a user would expect to see, and he appears to be standing on an oddly placed, natural surface as opposed to a rooftop.

Minimalist

Prompt: Design a minimalist image featuring a single, elegant cherry blossom branch against a plain, pastel background. The branch should have a few delicate pink blossoms and some unopened buds, with a simple, clean line for the stem. The background color should be a soft, muted tone, like pale blue or light gray, to highlight the beauty of the cherry blossoms.

DALL-E

Minimalist 1

Midjourney

Minimalist 2

Verdict:

In the generated images, DALL-E and Midjourney show single branches of cherry blossom with open and unopened buds against a pale blue or gray background—just as we asked for in our prompt.

Identifying the winner in this category is difficult since both image creations align with the prompt. However, Midjourney’s image is more colorful, with more emphasis on the flowers. On the other hand, DALL-E settles for a slightly darker design, contrasting the cherry blossom flowers with the dull gray background.

Surreal

Prompt: Create a surrealistic image that blends elements of nature and fantasy. Picture a vast desert under a twilight sky with an unusually large and vibrant moon. In the center, there's a grand piano with tree branches growing out of it and its keys transforming into a flowing river. Butterflies with glowing wings flutter around this scene.

The colors should be vivid and dreamlike, with a sense of otherworldly beauty. The overall atmosphere should be mysterious and enchanting, challenging the boundaries between reality and imagination.

DALL-E

Surreal 1

Midjourney

Surreal 2

Verdict:

Both AI art generators do a fairly good job interpreting and processing the different pieces of our prompt, but fail to combine those pieces into one image in the way we’d hoped. DALL-E seems to have the upper hand, showing a scene where the moon is unusually large and a river flows from a piano’s keys—attributes lacking in the Midjourney’s image.

Both images have butterflies—but DALL-E’s creation has much brighter wings, just as we wanted. Nevertheless, both DALL-E and Midjourney fail to accurately process the “there's a grand piano with tree branches growing out of it” part of the prompt.

Vintage

Prompt: Create an image in a vintage style depicting a classic 1950s American diner. The scene should be in sepia tones, capturing the nostalgic essence of the era. The diner features a checkered floor, red leather booths, and a jukebox in the corner. Outside the large window, classic cars are parked, and a neon sign above the diner flickers softly.

The image should convey a sense of warmth and a bygone era, with attention to period-specific details and a slightly grainy texture to mimic the look of old photographs.

DALL-E

Vintage 1

Midjourney

Vintage 2

Verdict:

In both images, DALL-E and Midjourney do a good job of generating the different objects we wanted. This includes old classic cars, red leather booths, and a checkered floor.

In terms of organization, DALL-E emerges as the clear winner. It shows a jukebox in the restaurant and classic cars parked outside—as we specified in the prompt. Midjourney was more creative by including a classic red car inside the restaurant to blend with the bright red chairs and booths—but it wasn’t what was asked for in our prompt. Midjourney also fails to include a jukebox and neon sign in the generated image.

Obvious flaws, aside from a car in the cafe’s interior, can be found in both images. In the DALL-E creation, the floor seems to wave, incoherent neon signs line the ceiling in an unnatural way, and the cars outside are positioned strangely. Midjourney also seems to struggle with the checkered floor, and the scenes outside its windows are an odd mishmash of colors and shapes.

Mosaic

Prompt: Create a mosaic image depicting a vibrant garden scene. The artwork should be composed of small, multi-colored tiles, carefully arranged to form the picture of a blooming garden full of various flowers (roses, tulips, and sunflowers) under a bright blue sky with a few fluffy clouds.

The mosaic tiles should vary in shades to add depth and texture to the image, resembling traditional mosaic art techniques. The overall effect should be one of vivid colors and intricate patterns, showcasing the beauty and intricacy of mosaic art.

DALL-E

Mosaic 1

Midjourney

Mosaic 2

Verdict:

Once again, Midjourney and DALL-E produce images that closely match our prompt, with vibrant garden scenes in mosaic style. They use multi-colored tiles to highlight the shapes of flowers, branches, clouds, and the sky. However, DALL-E uses more vivid colors and includes more detail, which results in a much livelier scene.

Which is better?

In the above section, we used Midjourney and DALL-E to generate images in varying styles spanning from abstract to mosaic. From the generated images, it's clear that each AI art generator has its strengths and weaknesses. As a result, we can’t definitively say which is better overall in the Midjourney vs. DALL-E battle.

We tested Midjourney and DALL-E in this article using a single prompt in each category. We also used ChatGPT-generated prompts to test Midjourney’s and DALL-E’s abilities.

DALL-E was better than Midjourney in the vintage art style, producing content that aligns with our prompt—and with the right color and texture to depict vintage scenes. In mosaic design, we found the DALL-E model to also have the upper hand, creating scenes with more detail and vivid colors, though that is more subjective.

In the surrealist world, we felt DALL-E was the winner, producing out-of-this-world images according to our prompts. But in the photorealism category, Midjourney exceled in generating a more realistic image.

However, in every case, both AI art generators had issues with realism and quality. Sometimes the issues are obvious, and sometimes more subtle. Whether or not they are appropriate for you depends on your needs.

With these results in mind, consider exploring these AI art generators further using custom prompts to identify the right one for your use case.

AI image generator alternatives

Apart from Midjourney and DALL-E, Stable Diffusion and Adobe FireFly are good text-to-image generators.

  • Stable Diffusion. Launched in 2022, Stable Diffusion helps you generate stunning images, videos, and animations from text prompts. You can fine-tune the open-source Stable Diffusion models using a custom dataset to get them to generate the kind of images you desire.
  • Adobe Firefly. Like other AI art generators, Adobe FireFly lets you produce stunning color palettes, images, and text effects. It supports over 100 languages and offers extra features like generative fill, text transformation, and object removal.

Find AI artwork and experts

Generative AI art generators like Midjourney and DALL-E help you unleash your creativity by producing images in different styles from natural-language text. You can find inspiration from the generated images to create more appealing artwork. AI-generated images also allow you to explore different cultural and historical styles—and even find your own style.

But to use AI art generators effectively, you must know how to write clear and detailed prompts by outlining the kind of images and quality you want. Consider working with AI-generated art specialists on Upwork to help you harness AI in your workflow.

If you’re a professional looking for work, Upwork can connect you with different AI art jobs to help grow your portfolio and earn extra income. Get started today!

Upwork is an OpenAI partner, giving OpenAI customers and other businesses direct access to trusted expert independent professionals experienced in working with OpenAI technologies.

Upwork does not control, operate, or sponsor the other tools or services discussed in this article, which are only provided as potential options. Each reader and company should take the time to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.

Prices are current at the time of writing and may change over time based on each service’s offerings.

Heading

asdassdsad
Projects related to this article:
No items found.

Author Spotlight

Midjourney vs. DALL-E: Differences, Examples, and Which Is Better
The Upwork Team

Upwork is the world’s work marketplace that connects businesses with independent talent from across the globe. We serve everyone from one-person startups to large, Fortune 100 enterprises with a powerful, trust-driven platform that enables companies and talent to work together in new ways that unlock their potential.

Get This Article as a PDF

For easy printing, reading, and sharing.

Download PDF

Latest articles

X Icon
Hide