Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (2024)

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When it comes to AI image generators, Craiyon isn’t the most sophisticated tool on the market. However, as a free to low-cost option capable of producing photorealistic imagery, it’s worth checking out whether for business or personal use.

Craiyon’s machine learning algorithm first emerged as DALL-E Mini, created by Boris Dayma for a coding competition. It was supported by Google TPU Research Cloud funding as an open source project, and trained on existing images.

By using the service, you agree to terms of service that include non-exclusive, revocable usage rights (so in a nutshell, this isn’t the tool for creating unique images that only you or your business can use – more on that below).

This article explores top Craiyon features, what this AI generator is great at (and not so much), examples of Craiyon in action, and answers to frequently asked questions. You’ll also find a list of prompt modifiers to help improve the output produced by Craiyon and other AI image generators. Let’s get to it!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through links on this site, at no cost to you.

Top Craiyon Features

Even free account users can generate an unlimited number of images, with paid account options for faster image generation and other features:

  • Ad free experience
  • Removal of watermarks
  • Private images
  • Early access to new features (with a Professional account only)

Craiyon also uses a priority system that gives paid users the first crack at image generation during high-traffic periods. This means free users may not be able to use the service at all at peak times.

Recommended reading: Soundraw Review: A Simple AI Music Composition Tool for Non-Musicians

Where Craiyon Excels

Craiyon generates up to 9 image variations for each prompt, giving you some selection out of the gate. Images are available in WEBP format and so are naturally optimized for the web.

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (1)

Aside from the ads I whine about below, the interface is simple and easy to navigate.

Craiyon is available via its website and an Android app, and it offers an internal search engine that enables users to find and use images created by others (more on that below).

This AI image creator does a decent job of mimicking artistic and photographic styles, particularly when the subject matter is fairly simple/common. For example, I asked for [cityscape, golden hour, business district] and liked what it came back with:

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (2)

Easy enough. It did well with simple prompts, and I liked the vintage, cartoon style it leaned toward when I didn’t give specific instructions on lighting, materials, artistic style, etc.

Here’s an example. It’s not photorealistic, but it’s a good representation of what I asked for:

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (3)

The logo is visible in the bottom right corner but unintrusive, so unless you don’t want people to know you used AI to create the image, the free plan would be fine.

There are plenty of examples of marketing use cases in the Craiyon database, from YouTube banners and blog images to logos, product and service-related images, and even AI-generated people.

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (4)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (5)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (6)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (7)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (8)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (9)

As you can tell by the small crayon logo, these were all created by free users of the platform.

Can you really use a low-res logo with another company’s watermark on it for your business? Probably not.

But I can see how these could be used in search and social ad campaigns, email newsletters, blog posts, and social media.

Craiyon Cons & Limitations

Like other AI image generators, Craiyon is terrible at generating images of people. Warped hands and Neanderthal-like faces are par for the course, and the closer the subject, the weirder it gets.

Here’s what happened when I asked Craiyon for an image of [software engineers at a board table]:

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (10)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (11)
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (12)

It also tends to place random objects out of context in seemingly unrelated images, so reviewing the output carefully before using it is important.

Craiyon may not be the best choice for a marketing team. First, sharing accounts is strictly prohibited (although you can contact the sales team by email to discuss premium options.

Second, wide-open licensing should concern anyone intending to use these images commercially. You don’t want to see the same images you’re using show up in a competitor’s campaign or social channels – or worse, in any context that could harm your brand’s reputation by association.

Third, the images just aren’t that great. At 1024 x 1024 pixels resolution, they’re no good for print, and online usage is also limited. (You could try an AI image upscaler like Gigapixel AI, if you’re determined to get a better quality output.)

There are so many ads on the desktop version – so, so many. Someone send Craiyon the memo on intrusive interstitials (although I’m sure they’re more concerned about keeping up with demand than generating it via SEO).

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (13)

Craiyon Prompt Modifiers for Higher Quality AI Images

There’s a fine balance between being vague and giving an AI image generator too specific a prompt. Try choosing two main points of subject matter as the focus of the image – a thing + a specific place, a type of animal + an action, an object + a location, etc. Then, add modifiers to see how your output changes:

  • Lighting: golden hour, dawn or dusk, backlighting, overhead lighting, flash bulb, etc.
  • Photographic style: editorial, portrait, still life, photojournalism, landscape, panoramic, black light, composite, etc.
  • Material or medium: yarn, clay, porcelain, watercolor or oil paint, pencil sketch, string, ironwork, tile, etc.
  • Perspective: silhouette, aerial, bird’s eye view, fisheye, overlap, diminishing scale, linear, etc.
  • Mood: Stormy, happy, blissful, peaceful, furious, calm, frantic, melancholy, etc.
  • Artistic styles: vector, 3D, steampunk, cartoon, art deco, pixelated, digital, cyberpunk, etc.

Craiyon AI Image Generator FAQs

How can you use Craiyon images?

As long as you comply with Craiyon’s terms of service, you can use the images commercially, academically, and in social media. However, it’s worth noting that as a free user, you don’t have exclusive use of the images you create. See the next point on Craiyon Search for more.

What is Craiyon Search?

Free users consent to their AI images being added to a searchable database that others can use. That means even if you’re the creator, you may not be the only one using an image.All users can search the database for images to use.

Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (14)

How does Craiyon differ from DALL-E 2?

Open AI’s DALL-E 2 is more advanced than Craiyon (formerly DALL-E Mini), which is no surprise given the stark difference in resources available to each in development. DALL-E 2 produces higher-resolution images, uses a diffusion model, and leverages Open AI’s work on ChatGPT3. However, it has a more complex pricing scheme and currently costs $15 for 115 credits (free credits are no longer available, as of April 6, 2023).

Do I need to attribute images to Craiyon?

As of April 12, 2023, Craiyon says there’s no need for paid users to use any kind of attribution. However, for all others, they say: “If you’re a free user, we ask that you leave the small ?️ Craiyon logo on the image and mention that it was made with Craiyon.”

Things You’re Not Allowed To Do with Craiyon-Generated Images

Finally, like most Terms of Use pages, Craiyon’s user agreement is a heavy slog through sometimes ambiguous rules. Here are a few highlights to keep on your radar (current as of April 12, 2023; see the Terms page for the most up-to-date information):

  • You can’t use Craiyon-generated images for illegal purposes, to promote self-harm, to promote violence against other people, etc.
  • You cannot use the site to defame, libel, disparage, bully, threaten, stalk, or otherwise harass others.
  • Don’t share your account with others.
  • You may not create derivative works of images found on the site, meaning you cannot edit (add text for memes or make composite images from Craiyon images created by yourself or others.

There’s more, but those are the big ones. Review Craiyon’s terms of use to resolve any questions you may have.

Learn more about AI tools and platforms for creatives:

  • How Creatives Feel AI Will Impact Their Roles [Survey]
  • Are Humans Still More Creative Than Generative AIs? [Study]
Craiyon: Test-Driving the Former DALL-E Mini AI Image Generator (2024)

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