It’s a big day for Google AI as the tech giant has launched a new image-generation engine aimed at fostering people’s creativity.
The tool is called ImageFX and it runs on Imagen 2, Google's “latest text-to-image model” that Google claims can deliver the company's “highest-quality images yet.” Like so many other generative AIs before, it generates content by having users enter a command into the text box. What’s unique about the engine is it comes with “Expressive Chips” which are dropdown menus over keywords allowing you to quickly alter content with adjacent ideas. For example, ImageFX gave us a sample prompt of a dress carved out of deadwood complete with foliage. After it made a series of pictures, the AI offered the opportunity to change certain aspects; turning a beautiful forest-inspired dress into an ugly shirt made out of plastic and flowers.
Options in the Expressive Chips don’t change. They remain fixed to the initial prompt although you can add more to the list by selecting the tags down at the bottom. There doesn’t appear to be a way to remove tags. Users will have to click the Start Over button to begin anew. If the AI manages to create something you enjoy, it can be downloaded or shared on social media.
This obviously isn’t the first time Google has released a text-to-image generative AI. In fact, Bard just received the same ability. The main difference with ImageFX is, again, its encouragement of creativity. The clips can help spark inspiration by giving you ideas of how to direct the engine; ideas that you may never have thought of. Bard’s feature, on the other hand, offers little to no guidance. Because it's less user-friendly, directing Bard's image generation will be trickier.
ImageFX is free to use on Google’s AI Test Kitchen. Do keep in mind it’s still a work in progress. Upon visiting the page for the first time, you’ll be met with a warning message telling you the AI “may display inaccurate info”, and in some cases, offensive content. If this happens to you, the company asks that you report it to them by clicking the flag icon.
Also, Google wants people to keep things clean. They link to their Generative AI Prohibited Use Policy in the warning listing out what you can’t do with ImageFX.
In addition to ImageFX, Google made several updates to past experimental AIs.
MusicFX, the brand’s text-to-music engine, now allows users to generate songs up to 70 seconds in length as well as alter their speed. The tool even received Expressive Chips, helping people get those creative juices flowing. MusicFX even got a performance boost enabling it to pump content faster than before. TextFX, on the other hand, didn’t see a major upgrade or new features. Google mainly updated the website so it’s more navigable.
Everything you see here is available to users in the US, New Zealand, Kenya, and Australia. No word on if the AI will roll out elsewhere, although we did ask. This story will be updated at a later time.
Until then, check out TechRadar's roundup of the best AI art generators for 2024 where we compare them to each other. There's no clear winner, but they do have their specialties.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.