Stability AI's new Uncrop tool makes expanding images free

(Image credit: Stability AI)

AI image generation has evolved so fast that it seems it was years ago that DALL-E 2 introduced 'outpainting' (it was only in September). The feature allows users to effectively 'uncrop' an image by expanding it beyond its original borders. 

The tool led to a spate of experiments in which people started uncropping famous paintings such as the Mona Lisa. Well, be prepared for a lot more of that kind of thing because Stability AI, the developer behind Stable Diffusion, has just launched a tool specifically for this purpose. It's called, quite straightforwardly, Uncrop (see our pick of the best AI art generators).

Uncropping is now almost old hat. Aside from DALL-E 2's Outpainting, Adobe has introduced the capacity to Photoshop via Adobe Firefly in Creative Cloud and Midjourney has just introduced a 'Zoom Out' feature. But these options require a certain amount of tinkering to get used to the programs' interfaces, which may put off the casual user (see the best AI art tutorials and our piece on how to use DALL-E 2). They also have a cost: Adobe Firefly requires a Creative Cloud subscription and DALL-E 2 requires you to buy credits once your complimentary ones have run out. 

Stability AI's Uncrop is a more simple and intuitive dedicated tool in ClipDrop, its freemium suite of AI-powered image manipulation tools. You simply drop a picture into ClipDrop via your browser or the mobile app and select from the options to size the canvas. You can also adjust opacity and smoothness.

Photographers who forgot their wide angle lens could use it to expand a composition while publishers could use it to make images that fit the space they need to fill on a page. The accuracy of the result will depend on how complex the image is, but users are already reporting some success.

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Uncrop is free to use for up to 100 images a month (with a watermark) or you can pay for a premium plan for unlimited use and no watermark. Stable Diffusion has urged users to use the tool ethically and to always disclose when an image has been modified.

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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.