Painting Outside The Lines: DALL-E’s New Feature

September 14, 2022

DALL-E 2 is an AI art generator that can produce images based on an input prompt of your choosing. Previously I experimented with the V2 of the site and what it could offer. 

DALL-E 2 has a new feature though, that lets users see beyond the bounds of any image, including those that art historians know best.

The feature is called Outpainting and refers to generating images around the painting or image in question.

What is Outpainting? 

OpenAI, the team behind the preeminent generative art tool, DALL-E 2, announced another new feature last month: outpainting.

Inpainting, by contrast, means making alterations within a generated image. Outpainting allows an image to be expanded using artificial intelligence, based on text input paired with analyses of “shadows, reflections, and textures to maintain the context of the original image,” OpenAI’s blog post explains.

With Outpainting, a lot of the previous limitations in DALL-E 2 have been mitigated. Previously, the AI program could only generate a single 1,024-pixel by 1024-pixel square—anything larger or in different shapes was out of the question. 

Outpainting allows for different canvas sizes and to reinvent the layouts, by stitching different squares to an original image. 

How To Use Outpainting? 

Outpainting works as an extension to DALL-E 2. Users select the option to upload an image as opposed to the written prompt version, from there the image will be placed on a generation board. 

Users then select a 1,024-pixel by 1,024-pixel square area where they want to extend the image. Next, users would specify any additional prompts to guide the AI in the text box. 

For each outpainted section, DALL-E 2 will offer up to four possibilities for users to select. If none work for the final product you want to achieve, there is an option to have the AI try again. 

What is most impressive, is that Outpainting “takes into account the image’s existing visual elements.” This means that any details added almost seamlessly integrate to the original image, making the new additions look like part of a coherent whole body. 

How Much Does Outpainting Cost?

Outpainting comes standard with DALL-E 2 which operates on a credit system. All users are given 50 credits during their first month on the model and then granted an additional 15 every month after that. 

Generating an image will cost one credit, as does every additional outpainted section. For those who run out of their allotted credits, additional blocks of 115 credits can be purchased for $15. 

Examples Of Using Outpainting 

I took Outpainting for a spin to learn what’s just beyond the frame of history’s great artworks. We standardized by inputting the same textual formula for each artwork: 

  • The style for which the original artwork was painted in, and 
  • Some contexts that matched (some more than others) the background of the original artwork. 

Take a look below.

Final Thoughts 

Like my previous experience in testing the different models available on the market, I feel that AI-generated art is an exciting field that poses enormous legal, artistic, and philosophical questions in the realm of Contemporary Art

With the introduction of Outpainting, the legal impact of these images come to mind—given that the original point of these generated images are already the intellectual property of some artist previously. These implications I’m sure will come to some light in the future due to the increasing popularity around AI-generated art. 

The potential for what AI can do is expanding every day, and it is up to us to keep it as a tool benefiting our creative instincts, rather than limiting the prospects of working with human artists.

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