A picture is worth a thousand words.
Imagine if you didn’t need an expensive camera, artistic mastery, or a ton of time to create what was in your mind’s eye. What if you didn’t need a highly trained designer every time you needed an image for an article or report?
We are about to enter into a golden age of storytelling more unbound from resource constraints than ever before. Small organizations are about to get a huge leg up on their ability to create stunning visuals at a price that will be within reach.
As a nonprofit, you’re always looking for new ways to engage your supporters and donors. And with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), you can do just that! AI image generators can create realistic images of people or things that don’t exist. So how can nonprofits use this technology to their advantage?
1. Create Imagery for Social Media
If you’re struggling to come up with high-quality imagery for your social media posts, AI image generators can help. With these tools, you can create custom images that are tailored to your brand and visually appealing. This is a great way to stand out on social media and get more people to engage with your posts.
2. Generate Images for Blog Posts
Do you want to add visual interest to your blog posts? AI image generators can help with that, too! By creating custom images for your blog posts, you can make them more visually engaging and easier to understand. Plus, readers will be more likely to share your posts if they contain compelling imagery.
3. Create Visualizations for Annual Reports
Are you working on a report or presentation? Adding visualizations can make it more engaging and easier to digest. And with AI image generators, you can create custom visuals that will grab attention and convey complex information in a simple way.
4. Generate Imagery for Fundraising Materials
If you’re working on fundraising materials, AI image generators can be a huge help. By creating images that evoke emotion, you can make your materials more impactful and persuade people to donate to your cause.
5. Create Custom Images for Your Website
Is your website in need of some fresh imagery? AI image generators can create custom images that are perfect for your website design. Whether you need product photos, photos of people using your products, or simply stylish stock photos, these tools can help you find what you’re looking for.
Creative Ideas for Social Impact Imagery
In each of the following examples, you can see the text command used to generate the image. Note the clear language to identify the object, the action, the background or context, and then most importantly the artistic style that the output should create. For DALL-E-2, each prompt, costing 1 token, generates 4 images that may be used.
The following are some examples of prompts and the image that Whole Whale actually created.
These images could be used for a wide variety of storytelling and attention-grabbing hooks for content.
Public link: https://labs.openai.com/s/6Bt7EHU7wRg9i5uVhpxgbN2p
Using pop art styles gives the ability to avoid the pitfalls of photorealism and instead focus on the action. Putting aside that it looks like this sloth is farting fire, the image is catchy and could easily garner attention on social media for animal protection.
Public image: https://labs.openai.com/s/igVqN4U02ePtdX3a1CpjBtfu
In this case, we imagine the ability to use a notable artist to evoke emotion behind a protest. The ability to modify the image with specific language is also possible to add specificity to the cause.
Public image: https://labs.openai.com/s/CfuPjhaeFIzTXpN8HJyoE7Y1
The ability to use the style of a famous artist can add additional storytelling value to the image. In this case for women’s rights and issues of healthcare, the AI is able to create a portrait of Frida Kahlo.
Public image: https://labs.openai.com/s/vsDSnWSgA07hil0GEcvcgze3
There is also a way to use realistic imagery to make a point. The ability to mix materials that can send a message like “help” in a way that promotes plastic recycling is just a start.
Non-stock Photostock Images
No offense to generic photo stock sites that let every customer get rights to the same photos so often that meme websites can resist making jokes but… People Are Adding Dad Jokes To Cringy Stock Pics, And Here Are The 40 Funniest Ones. Just for comparison, Shutterstock annual plans for a base level cost $49 for 5 downloads, AI generators like DALL-E-2 are $.13 per image. (Though the rights are completely royalty-free and there are video options for downloads in addition to celebrity photos with tools like Shutterstock.)
The truth is internet savvy users can now identify generic stock photos instantly, which kills their efficacy for grabbing attention and telling stories. AI image generators are able to create incredibly specific images that are unique to your organization and limited only by your imagination.
Public Link: https://labs.openai.com/s/k1kfMIicX9Yy82JxYf59LCuW
Sometimes you need a sad turtle pic to convey a point. Just imagine what that would look like taken by a 35mm camera and boom! Up close and personal sad turtle pic.
Public link: https://labs.openai.com/s/poF50y879nqmqmcpRIaGtJtA
It can be hard to get a picture of a specific item with perfect lighting. One might say, it can be like pulling teeth… Not for AI image generators.
Ever have those conversations in your organization’s brainstorming session about what might be possible if there were no limits on resources? Well, if you can describe that vision well enough, AI image generators can give you, and potential donors a visual.
Public link: https://labs.openai.com/s/9MKQpFOpD9KDSX0H9A88taDS
Sometimes you need a whale in a building. This surprised us and evokes a modern art museum vibe that is incredibly eye-catching. Also, whales!
Public link: https://labs.openai.com/s/gohWVHYzzIOmiTEpyz4jkach
Imagine if you could get one of the most famous architects to design something for your organization. Done.
Public image: https://labs.openai.com/s/PrGYEOB4jHOk9j8bwfBRdDA2
If they must eat their words, might as well let them eat cake. Merging concepts can create visceral and semi-apetizing imagery that can make a point.
How AI image generators work
AI image generators work by using artificial intelligence to generate realistic images. This is done by training a computer algorithm on a dataset of real images. Once the algorithm is trained, it can then generate new images that look similar to the ones in the training dataset.
Also wizardry, there is probably some of that going on too.
Top Image Generators
Currently one of the strongest AI image generators on the market. DALL-E-2 can create any style of image based on a text description. A product of Openai.com, the product has been trained on millions of images and is currently open to the public beta (though there is a waiting list). Tokens are required to create images and as of Q3, 2022 the cost of a credit is around $.13 per token.
Rights-of-use for DALL-E-2 require that the content policy is adhered to, including limits on images evoking hate speech. The creator must give image attribution to Open AI, but has comercial rights over the images generated.
A powerful AI image generator that works inside of Discord. The code offers non-commercial rights to images generated by the code. Currently it is free and an incredible way to practice working with text commands for image generators.
A narrow (compared to DALL-E-2) but effective AI image generator that can create stunning images and imagine landscapes. They also have an IOS/Android app to create images on your phone which can be easier for social posters. As of Q3, 2022, StarryAI costs a penny or less per image depending on the plan chosen. Cool feature allows images to be turned into animations.
An open project with over 20k developer community and a big vision for creating AI language, image, 3D, video generated tools. In Q3 of 2022 they launched their image diffusion generator, which gives the ability to more finely control the output size and other settings. Pricing is based on membership that costs 10 pounds, at a .01 pound per picture rate. The API allows for third parties to build on the image generator.
Example of the same language prompt across each:
“A friendly banana monster riding a scooter on a sunny day”
How to use AI image generators
The short answer is practice.
The general formula for a request is: [object],[action],[background/context/location], [artistic style/artist/genre].
There is no substitute for playing with the tool and learning how to shape what is in your mind into language the tool can understand. A great place to start is by going through the DALL-E-2 prompt book, which is full of amazing examples of how to frame requests.
Shop for an image you like and then modify the request style for your purpose.
A note for designers
AI image generators will not put designers out of a job in the same way that digital photography done on iphones didn’t put photographers out of a job. These tools in the hands of professionals will increase the output and creativity possible if used correctly. AI image generators will increase the interest in visual storytelling and there will be a need to modify and refine even the best outputs.