I got my invitation from OpenAI DALL-E a few days ago and decided to play with it a little bit.

What is OpenAI DALL-E?

DALL-E is an AI system that can generate realistic images from a description. It uses a process called diffusion to combine different objects in the same image in a cohesive way. It started as a research project and is now available in beta. You can join the waitlist to get an invite.

Using the OpenAI Front-End

You are met with a simple user interface when you sign up.

Before you start randomly generating images, please be aware that you have 50 free credits. You can buy more credits ($15 for 115 credits at the time of this writing). Generating 1 image costs you 1 credit.

You can now get creative and generate whatever you would like to see. In the following example, I entered a puppy and a kitten playing in a green field and pressed the Generate button.

Here’s what it came up with:

Image generated by AI for the description "a puppy and a kitten playing in a green field" 1 of 4
Image generated by AI for the description "a puppy and a kitten playing in a green field" 2 of 4
Image generated by AI for the description "a puppy and a kitten playing in a green field" 3 of 4
Image generated by AI for the description "a puppy and a kitten playing in a green field" 4 of 4
By default, it generates 4 images.

I think the results are quite impressive. If I didn’t know they are AI-generated, I wouldn’t be able to tell so. There are some small giveaways, but I wouldn’t read too much into it.

If you hover over the images, a button appears which shows more options:

Button showing quick actions menu

You can create even more similar images from it by clicking Generate variations. For example, the variations of the above image look like this:

Image variations created based on a previously generated image
Generating image variations also costs 1 credit.

Another option to generate images is uploading your own image.

To test this feature, I uploaded a stock image:

Stock photo for ocean sunset

Accepted the disclaimer:

Dialog box showing the rules for uploading images

Then I was asked to crop the image.

Dialog box asking to crop the image

I accepted the default suggestion and clicked Done.

Then I asked to pick an action:

Dialog box asking to pick an action: Edit image or Generate variations

If you click Edit image, you are taken to an image editor. Looks like all it does is remove some parts if you like, though.

Image editor to remove parts of the image
If you click the Cancel button, it cancels the entire upload operation, not just the editing.

I then went ahead with Generate variations action. Here are the results:

Variations of the uploaded image

It doesn’t look like there are many variations, but then again, maybe it’s too simple to allow variations. I guess at this point, you just have to play with various ideas and see what works best.

Using DALL-E Programmatically

I wanted to write some code to generate the images programmatically, but I couldn’t find anything about it in the OpenAI docs. I asked the question on their Discord server, and a bot answered my question:

Discord's answer to the DALL-E API question

So looks like that’s not an option for the time being.


This is just a quick overview of the OpenAI DALL-E project. There are other projects out there that produce similar results. It’s a very active field these days, so it’s worth watching the space. I’ll likely post an update when the API is available.

Categories: AI

Volkan Paksoy

Volkan Paksoy is a software developer with more than 15 years of experience, focusing mostly on C# and AWS. He’s a home lab and self-hosting fan who loves to spend his personal time developing hobby projects with Raspberry Pi, Arduino, LEGO and everything in-between.