Midjourney is a quirky and fun AI image-generation tool that’s also extremely powerful. Despite its non-traditional lack of a formal front-end UI, Midjourney is the clear front-runner in the image generation race (at the time of writing). Instead of using a typical web, desktop, or mobile application, Midjourney is only available to users via their official Discord server. The lack of a tailored front-end experience can be frustrating, but the unbelievable value Midjourney delivers has most of its users turning a blind eye.
Beginner Friendliness 🐣
Accessing Midjourney feels like venturing into the AI underground. The lack of a formal UI causes friction for beginners who are used to typing in URLs or opening mobile apps to access their favorite software. The Midjourney server has several channels, and it’s not self-evident what you’re supposed to do when you get there. Fortunately, an enormous community is built around Midjourney, and a plethora of helpful can be accessed via a quick internet search. Once you get used to Discord, the app is simple and approachable, but the work it takes to get ramped up doesn’t make this tool terribly friendly for beginners.
The quality of the images created by Midjourney is astounding. For any content that requires beautifully creative images, Midjourney is an indispensable tool. With Midjourney, you can generate Unsplash-quality images depicting scenarios that would be impossible to find on stock image sites. Using generative AI, you can customize all sorts of parameters such as lighting, color, style, and aspect ratio and create scenes of people, places, and things by simply typing what you want. The entry tier costs $10 a month and provides 200 minutes of generation time on their backend, equating to approximately 200 images per month. The time not used will roll over and is credited to your next month.
Accessing Midjourney is awkward at first. Images are generated via a Discord slash command, a design choice that strays outside the boundaries of what you might deem a ‘typical’ web application. The channels on the Midjourney server handle enormous amounts of image generation, and as a result, the text moves extremely fast, and it’s easy to lose your place. Unless you’re a Discord power user, it’s not obvious that you can add the Midjourney bot to your own server to avoid all the noise. Interestingly, Midjourney does have a web application that allows you to view your past generations, see similar generations from other users, create a list of favorites, and provide feedback to help train future iterations of the generative models. Getting started with Midjourney requires some effort, but once you’re up and running, the Discord-only UX for image generation is easy, efficient, and productive.
At the time of writing, this is the most commonly used tool in Working Dev Hero’s stack. The vast majority of images that we use for blog posts and YouTube thumbnails are generated with Midjourney. Using Midjourney, we are able to generate images that are significantly more unique and creative than alternatives such as Unsplash and Shutterstock. Midjourney’s price is significantly more competitive than Shutterstock's. The base price for a Shutterstock subscription is $29 per month for a total of 10 images or $3 an image. For the same price, you can try up to 150 different Midjourney prompts in order to generate the image you ultimately use. In our experience, getting a useful result usually takes less than ten tries, so even a high-end estimate of $0.20 per image Midjourney is still leaps and bounds cheaper than Shutterstock. Unsplash is a great free option, but it can’t cover the enormous range of scenes you can generate with AI.