Google's quietly launched a free AI image generator that gives users a helping hand

An image promoting the Google AI image generator ImageFX
(Image credit: Google)

Just how many AI image generators does the world need? At least one more, Google thinks. It's just launched ImageFX (not to be confused with our sister publication, the bestselling digital art magazine ImagineFX), and it's the tech giant's first dedicated text-to-image tool that the general public can use.

Google reckons ImageFX is different thanks to its “expressive chips". That sounds elaborate, but it's basically a function that provides suggestions that you can use to modify your text prompt. These come in the form of dropdown lists and, according to Google, allow users to "quickly experiment with adjacent dimensions of your creation and ideas."

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ImageFX is powered by Imagen 2, Google DeepMind’s existing text-to-image model. But while Imagen 2 itself is available only for approved Google Cloud customers using Vertex AI (not to be confused with Vertex 2024, our own CG art event), ImageFX is being made available to general public for free (at least for now).

From some of the early comparisons shared on social media, it doesn't appear to achieve the same levels of realism as Midjourney. However, some people are saying that the clean user interface alone makes it one of the nicest AI image generators to use.

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ImageFX is available in Google's AI Test Kitchen,  a platform that permits use of to Google's AI projects while they’re still in development. However, it's only accessible in the US, Kenya, New Zealand and Australia so far, and only in English. Images generated with the tool (audio made with the AI music tool MusicFX) are tagged with a digital watermark, SynthID, and IPTC metadata to clarify that they were made by AI.

Google continues to tread more carefully than some other developers of AI image generators, imposing relatively strict controls and rolling out access slowly as it tests how its tools perform in use. It has now added free AI image generation in its Bard AI chatbot in most parts of the world, but the results from ImageFX appear to be far better than those produced in Bard at the moment.

For more on AI, see our pick of the best AI art tutorials.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.