Innovation & Design 2022

How to Design with Dall-E: Benefits of A.I to Product Design

03. November 2022

“An astronaut riding a horse in space in a photorealistic style” – image courtesy of DALL•E 2. Photograph: DALL•E 2

 

Over the last couple of decades, Artificial Intelligence has rapidly left an indelible mark on modern society. From data mining to healthcare, these intelligent computer systems are proving more than capable of managing to convert mountains of data. Also they are solving complex problems far quicker and more efficiently than the human mind ever could.

This rapidly changing technological landscape has left most sectors unrecognizable from previous generations, leaving most people concerned about where their place is in this coming new world order. Despite all this uncertainty, it has been commonly believed that many functions of our humanity will be left untouched. Namely, critical thinking, human interaction, and most importantly, creative expression. Yet it seems like these last great bastions of human identity are being encroached upon with the latest A.I innovation.

“a designer in Berlin in front of a navy blue background with a cube” – image courtesy of DALL•E 2

Enter DALL-E 2. The brainchild of OpenAI, a research lab formerly backed by Elon Musk. It’s name is derived from a cheeky mashup of the late great surrealist maestro Salvador Dali and the adorable android Wall-E of Pixar fame. DALL-E 2 is a text-to-image diffusion generator based on the lab’s A.I. Put simply, all the user has to do is enter the text of the desired image, say “an astronaut riding a horse in space in a photorealistic style” and Voila! DALL-E 2 would generate various iterations of this theme.

Now, text-to-image generators aren’t new in and of themselves. DALL-E 2 itself is an improved version of OpenAI’s original DALL-E 2. What is new is the astonishing level of quality and artistic expression seen in these artworks.

Here are a few more of the images generated from texts through DALL-E 2

“Design studio in Berlin, digital art” – Image courtesy of DALL•E 2.

“Bank director on the phone colourful background” – Image courtesy of DALL•E 2.

DALL-E 2 can go one step further than simply generating an image.

The system is capable of creating various iterations of the same image.
This is done through the program’s analysis of the scene, which it then describes itself. Based on the description it creates more images. 

Some of the iterations it produced from analyzing Salvador Dali’s seminal masterpiece “The Persistence of Memory”

It is also capable of creating images that are a blend of two distinct images, as seen below:

How DALL-E 2 tweaks the first input image gradually to the second input image (Source: DALL-E 2 research paper)

It can also use one image as an anchor and then modify it with a text description. Here we see a victorian house transform into a modern one:

Dalle AI turning a Victorian house into a modern house, Reddit by u/TabCompletion, April 2022 

It’s important to note that these images are specially picked. These are the best-executed DALL-E 2 images. The public’s access to the technology is currently limited to only a few select experts. Open AI is currently accepting applications to be put on a waiting list.

“An AI using a laptop computer to watch YouTube” -Image courtesy of DALL•E 2.

Users of the AI have commented on how it takes a couple of prompts to find compelling images, meaning you would have to have to look through about a dozen images. Another weakness of Dall-E is its ability to write. Here is what happened when the input “a computer watching Youtube” was inserted

But despite these inevitable growing pains, the revolutionary potential of Dall-E is tremendous. Once released, it is easily possible to imagine DALL-E 2 as the beginning of a new zeitgeist in the world of visual representation and the many spheres of society that it would affect. However, as Peter Parker´s wise uncle once stated, “with great power, comes great responsibility”, and this holds true for DALL-E 2. The moral and ethical questions that surround such a powerful resource are immense and require a critical engagement that one simply can’t cover in detail in a single article. Let’s take the time to take an overview of some of the major points of contention.

What does this mean for the creatives?

If you are an artist, illustrator, graphic designer or anyone who earns money through making visual imagery, you’ll be forgiven for having a huge lump in your throat as you read this article. To call DALL-E 2 a disruptor in the world of art and graphical representation would be an understatement, to say the least. The A.I’s ability to produce such eye-catching images with a simple text input poses a direct existential to the livelihood of creative professionals around the world. Considering the time and effort required to make works comparable to DALL-E 2 produced images, creatives would be justified in worrying about the economic viability.

On the other hand, if we look at A.I as another tool in our arsenal of creative expression, then our horizons expand immensely. Seeing as the DALL-E 2 output is a product of the input (the written description) of the user, Dall-E can be seen in the same light as a paintbrush or pencil, another medium of the expression of an artist’s vision.

So, what do artists actually think of the A.I?

So, how do artists design with Dall-E? Well, Barcelona-based 3D/CGI and VR artist Boldtron, is one of the select few given access to the immense power of Dall-E 2. He wasted no time in playing around with the A.I. He created an Instagram channel named dalle2test, showcasing the results of his experimentation with the program. Boldtron recently released an illuminating Twitter thread commenting on his early impressions of the A.I.:

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He goes on to discuss some of the creative industry’s fear of being made redundant by the technology. Rather viewing it as an opportunity to develop concepts, boldly stating that creatives “are lucky to be able to learn this technology”.

The artist later speaks on the program’s ability to make iterations on a given image, in this case, his personal works. According to him it “ Is PRETTY helpful to trigger new ideas, not only to replicate but also to change the direction of your pre-established final look.”

 

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What are the potential benefits of Dall E 2 for Product Designers?

As seen in Boldtron’s experimentation with the program, DALL-E 2 has the power to shape and foster the creative process in new and innovative ways. So how would ENNOstudio design with DALL-E? How could we use this powerful tool to the benefit of the design thinking, the users, the client and any other stakeholders involved in making a great product? Here are some scenarios we envision DALL-E 2 enriching the design process:

Personas

Personas can be created with great detail when you design with DALL-E. This visualisation of a project’s primary intended user could be greatly assisted by DALL-E 2. For example, if the client aims to sell fashion to a particular demographic, designers could quickly iterate what this specific consumer might present themselves as. This would help foster ENNOstudio’s constant drive for refinement and innovation

Art Direction

Incorporating DALL-E 2 into the design process could help quickly shape the look and feel of the brand. From generating mood boards to anticipating marketing content and strategies to visualizing the lifestyle that a project is trying to express, the A.I could act as an express form of inspiration and innovation. At ENNOstudio, our vision for the holistic synergy between client needs and user expectations would be accelerated through the implementation of a tool like this.

Storyboarding

A key part of the design process is storyboarding and one could easily envision DALL-E 2 being used in quickly generating multiple scenarios. This could be used as a way to generate scenery to illustrate a specific use case. For example, A man is in an airport, trying to get his way to the taxis. He then takes his smartphone to orientate himself. He then opens his transport app and orders a nearby automated taxi. ENNOstudio could quickly generate this series of events to quickly communicate its ideas to all shareholders involved.

Here the prompt was "a photo of a quaint flower shop storefront with a pastel green and clean white facade"

Here the prompt was “a photo of a quaint flower shop storefront with a pastel green and clean white facade”

Rapid Iteration

The biggest benefit that DALL-E 2 has to the design process is the program’s ability to quickly produce high-quality, evocative images through a basic descriptive prompt. This would allow designers to very quickly iterate different ideas during the design process. Normally a graphic designer would spend a considerable amount of time working on and creating a concept. DALL-E 2 could generate such images instantly, thus saving time and money in developing the product. The right implementation of the program would certainly streamline the journey and workflow needed to make a successful product.

Summary

So in summation, the future holds a wide array of endless opportunities for creatives and their clients alike. Through programs such as DALL-E 2, the limits of our imagination have been once again extended to unimaginable new heights. This might aid digital consultancies, such as ENNOstudio, support their clients’ needs and objectives of making the best digital products that users trust and enjoy. The onus is now upon the creative industry to explore the myriad of creative avenues that the program offers. But this is just the beginning and isn’t that just wonderful.

We hope you’re enjoying our insights about DALL-E 2.

Do you want to discuss how DALL-E 2 could impact your business, design or art? Our team of product designers and strategic consultants can help transform your digital product into a fully accessible and engaging tool that everyone can use. So, email, call or pay us a visit at our central Berlin office and let’s start innovating together.

team discussing design and innovation at ENNOstudio

We are a design and innovation studio creating engaging, accessible digital experiences for everyone. Our team of product designers and strategic consultants combine beautiful design and creative strategies to build and promote user interfaces that make a real difference to people’s lives.