Stable Diffusion vs. Midjourney — Which AI Art Tool Reigns Supreme?

Stable Diffusion and Midjourney are two cutting-edge AI text-to-image models that offer a seamless way to create visually stunning artwork based on text prompts. But when it comes to creating AI art for your DnD character portrait or concept art for your projects, which tool should you choose? Let’s delve into the Stable Diffusion vs. Midjourney debate to determine which is the best AI art tool for you.

How to Access Stable Diffusion and Midjourney

Accessing Stable Diffusion and Midjourney involves different methods as they are at different stages of development.

Stable Diffusion, launched in August 2022 by startup Stability AI in collaboration with academic and non-profit researchers, stands out for its offline capabilities. Unlike other cloud-based AI text-to-image models, you can run Stable Diffusion locally on your desktop PC or Mac by following simple installation steps. The convenient option doesn’t end there—you can also use various cloud services to access Stable Diffusion without the need for self-installation, although they are not officially affiliated with the developers.

On the other hand, Midjourney runs solely through its Discord bot and cannot be operated on personal computers. However, you can invite the Midjourney bot to your server, giving you the equivalent of personal usage. Midjourney is currently in an open beta phase and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.

Unveiling the Distinctions between Stable Diffusion and Midjourney

While Stable Diffusion and Midjourney share the common goal of generating remarkable AI-created images using text prompts, they possess unique features and present their own set of advantages and disadvantages.

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Stable Diffusion goes beyond its counterpart and offers extensive image customization options. With this tool, you have the liberty to adjust the image size down to the pixel, determine the strictness of the AI in following your prompts, set the seed value, choose the samplers used to feed the AI engine, and explore thousands of art models that assist in generating diversified art styles based on your prompts.

On the other hand, Midjourney provides only a limited number of model variants, allowing you to adjust the aspect ratio and choose a specific generation of the algorithm to use. Compared to Stable Diffusion, Midjourney may produce higher-quality images with relatively less effort. However, dedicated AI prompt writers argue that with the right inputs, Stable Diffusion can produce equally realistic or high-quality images as Midjourney. Moreover, Stable Diffusion offers exclusive features such as inpainting and outpainting, enabling you to fill gaps and extend images beyond their original boundaries, which Midjourney lacks. While Midjourney’s publicly available versions have a more robust content filter, Stable Diffusion allows users to adjust the level of filtering.

Stability AI has made the Stable Diffusion source code accessible, though it is not open source. Midjourney, in contrast, is entirely proprietary, and its source code remains undisclosed. However, it is believed that Midjourney is somehow based on Stable Diffusion. Although Midjourney’s cloud-based Discord operation makes it easier to use and get started, once both tools are up and running, their ease of use becomes equal.

The Cost of Stable Diffusion and Midjourney

Both Stable Diffusion and Midjourney offer free access, but premium options are also available.

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Midjourney provides a trial experience through its Discord bot, granting you approximately 25 minutes of digital art creation time. During the trial, you can have a maximum of three concurrent jobs and a queue limit of 10. To continue using Midjourney beyond the trial, you would need to create a new Discord account or opt for one of the premium subscription plans. The subscription packages, namely Basic, Standard, and Pro, come at $10, $30, and $60 per month, respectively. These plans offer additional GPU time options, labeled “Fast” and “Relaxed,” allowing the generation of a larger number of images. With the Pro Plan, you gain the capability to handle up to 12 concurrent fast jobs and three relaxed jobs simultaneously.

On the other hand, Stable Diffusion is entirely free to use and can be set up by anyone with suitably powerful hardware. However, certain cloud services that provide Stable Diffusion functionality without the need for self-installation may charge varying fees.

Ownership of Images Created with Stable Diffusion and Midjourney

The legal landscape surrounding AI-generated images remains uncertain, with ongoing lawsuits involving claims by artists who assert that Stable Diffusion, Midjourney, and similar AI tools have unlawfully incorporated source images created by human artists, thereby infringing upon their copyright.

Nonetheless, the official policies of Stable Diffusion and Midjourney differ slightly. Stable Diffusion, being freely available, grants users commercial ownership rights to the images they create, as stated in the tool’s terms and conditions.

In contrast, Midjourney assigns all images created during the free trial the Creative Commons license, technically depriving anyone of exclusive ownership. However, if you opt for one of Midjourney’s subscription plans, you acquire a general commercial license, ensuring ownership in case of unauthorized usage by others.

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Choosing Between Stable Diffusion and Midjourney

Stable Diffusion and Midjourney are both powerful AI art tools, each with its own strengths. The choice depends on whether you prefer a quick and easy way to produce images or are willing to invest time and effort to master the tools for personalized results.

Midjourney excels in user-friendliness and accessibility, delivering high-quality images rapidly with minimal input. This makes it ideal for experimenting or quickly testing the tool’s capabilities, especially if you are already an avid Discord user. However, keep in mind that the free trial has significant limitations, accessing the tool without Discord can be cumbersome, and the range of options is considerably narrower compared to Stable Diffusion.

In contrast, Stable Diffusion stands out as a completely free tool that can be utilized offline on any machine. It offers an extensive array of options and settings, enabling you to create diverse styles and higher quality images. However, using Stable Diffusion effectively requires a learning curve and a deeper understanding of its features.

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OnSpec Electronic, Inc.

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