The other day, I introduced you to the DALL-E 3 text-to-image system, working inside of ChatGPT Plus. I had a lot of fun playing with the add-on, so I decided to see if I could talk it into making a T-shirt design for me.
I had some limited luck. It’s fun, but it can also be oh-so-annoying.
You might as well come along for the ride. Prepare to be amazed, enthralled, and completely blown away. Get ready to be gobsmacked by the stubbornness, obtuseness, and uncooperativeness. It’ll be fun. It’ll be frustrating. And yes, I do this for a living.
My idea was to make a ZDNET-themed T-shirt design with a robot. I like the retro robot designs, so that was where I was going to start.
Here’s my initial request. I didn’t just want a retro robot. I also wanted it to feel a bit more modern. So I asked for it to be rendered in a cyberpunk-style environment. I was actually quite happy with the results.
I particularly liked the third image, so I asked for it on a T-shirt. What I got was definitely not what I wanted. It’s almost like it’s a caricature of the previous image.
I clarified I wanted it on a black T-shirt, and that I wanted it to keep the original style. I got back something fairly acceptable. Of course, the robot changed again.
But I wanted the image to blend into the shirt, not have a neon border. I tried again, and got yet another robot image.
This wasn’t quite as nice as the original robot I chose from the four generated, but I would have been happy with this on my T-shirt. Let me point out that I could have just saved this image (assuming I could get the robot without the shirt), taken it into Photoshop, and generated the rest of my design in something like five minutes.
But no. I had to try doing it with the help of an AI (or two, if you consider DALL-E and ChatGPT as separate AIs conspiring with each other).
I tried nailing down this robot with this background by assigning it a name. It was ultimately a futile effort, but worth the try.
What I wanted to do was keep that exact robot, but change the colors of the graphic to reflect the green used by ZDNET. So I fed it ZDNET’s hex color value and told it to redraw the robot. To prevent confusion, I told it to use the robot design I defined as robot1.
As you can see, it’s a completely different robot. The previous one was much more of a close-up, while this latest one shows much more background. Why, DALL-E? Why do you ignore me?
So, I tried again. I told DALL-E there was an error, and instructed that the robot be torso and head. DALL-E responded with a thoroughly terrifying robot, not the one that I previously defined as the one we wanted to use.
I tried again, this time specifying I wanted a more 1950’s-style robot like my original instruction. This design, I liked.
But once again, I wanted to soften the edges of the design. And once again, DALL-E decided to give me a completely new robot.
By this point, I had pretty much lost patience trying to get DALL-E to use the robot I wanted. Instead, I moved ahead and asked it to include ZDNET’s slogan on the shirt.
And once again, I got a less desirable robot design, plus an unintelligible saying, a headache, and chills at the back of my neck.
Aggregating the instruction
I decided to try a different approach. By this point, I figured out the parameters of the prompt. I wanted:
- A 1950s pop culture robot
- Torso and head rendered in a photorealistic style
- Cyberpunk environment
- Use the #D0FF4B hex color code as the predominant color
- Blend the image into a black T-shirt
- Add ZDNET’s slogan, “Tomorrow belongs to those who embrace it today” to the shirt
Here’s the prompt
I got back four designs. None of them were on a T-shirt, but they were interesting.
Finally, here are each of the four images at full size, starting with image 1:
Here’s image 2:
Here’s image 3:
And, finally, here’s image 4:
My conclusion is that DALL-E in ChatGPT, much like Midjourney, can create compelling images. Midjourney has much better image modification tools, as does the standalone DALL-E.
So, can you create a T-shirt design using DALL-E? Without question. But you have to be flexible. You probably won’t get what you want, but if you happen to like one that DALL-E generates, and don’t need to make any modifications or corrections, you’re golden.
Which do you like best? Let us know in the comments below.
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