Unleashing Creative Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Midjourney
Discover the magic of Midjourney: Learn how to create stunning AI-generated images from text, explore a variety of artistic styles, and unlock your visual creativity with this beginner-friendly guide to the world of AI-driven art.
“Midjourney is like a magic robot that can turn your words into pictures!”
That’s how I explained it to my 5-year-old, and it’s not far from the truth.
I’ve been using Midjourney for a couple of weeks, and I’m utterly fascinated by its capabilities. So much so, that I started a side hustle to the side hustle with my wife called ArtFusionGPT. Friends keep asking how we create our blog post images, so I decided to write this tutorial for everyone interested.
This guide is for beginners and non-tech folks who want to create magic with Midjourney. I’ll explain how to generate various image types, share the prompts I use, and provide Midjourney outputs.
Before we get started, there is one thing you should keep in mind. By using Midjourney, you will be at the cutting edge of technology. This means things are buggy and don’t always work as expected.
With that in mind, let’s dive in!
Setting up Midjourney
If you already have Discord or Midjourney, you can skip over any of these sections that are not relevant for you. For everyone else, you will first need to install and sign up for Discord and only then will you be able to set up and start using Midjourney. Discord has a web version but I personally prefer installing it on my computer. There is also a Discord mobile app which will allow you to create stuff wherever you are.
Here’s a 2 minute explanation of what Discord is:
To install Discord on a Mac, follow these steps:
- Visit the Discord website: www.discord.com. The website will automatically detect that you are using a macOS device and direct you to the “download for Mac” page.
- Click the “download for Mac” button and wait for the Discord setup file (a .dmg file) to download onto your computer.
- After the setup file has finished downloading, locate the file and drag it to the “Applications” folder on your Mac. This will initiate the installation process.
- A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm the installation. Click “Open” to proceed.
- Wait for the installation process to complete. Afterward, you can create a new Discord account or log in to an existing account to start using Discord.
More details and how to install on Windows and mobile: How to Install Discord on PC, Mac, Linux & Mobile in 2023
Once you’ve set up Discord and created an account, you’ll need to join the Midjourney server. Here’s a 1 minute Youtube tutorial on how to do it:
It’s really easy. Once you have a Discord account and are logged in, you just go to the Midjourney website, click on Signup and it will log you in automatically. It uses your username and password from Discord to log you into Midjourney.
Final Step (optional)
This step is optional, but I find the Midjourney server super noisy and hard to work in. There is a way to install Midjourney on your own server and here is a short tutorial on how to do that:
How Prompts Work
Now that you’re all set up, Let’s talk about prompts. Prompts are the key to creating images with Midjourney. They are short, descriptive phrases that guide the AI to visualize your idea. The more specific your prompt, the more accurate the resulting image will be.
For example, let’s try something simple to start:
/imagine prompt: A cute puppy playing in the grass
What do the U1, V1 and refresh buttons mean?
When you generate your first image using /imagine, You’ll notice that there are 9 buttons below your image. Four buttons labelled U1 to U4, four buttons labelled V1 to V4 and a refresh button. Let me explain what those are.
The “U” means “upscale” and numbers 1-4 represent the image position, and they are organized in this order:
Selecting a number upscales the corresponding image, enhancing its details. In Midjourney v4, the highest resolution is 2048×2048, with a default maximum of 1024×1024 pixels. However, Midjourney 5 is still in beta and only supports up to 1024×1024 pixels.
Similar to the U1 button, the digits in the V1, V2, V3, and V4 buttons indicate the particular image you’d like to modify. Here, “V” represents “variations,” enabling you to make adjustments to images based on a specific selection. By default, Midjourney generates four images in a grid, and occasionally, only one of them piques your interest but isn’t perfect. In such cases, you can use the V1 to V4 buttons to refine that image repeatedly until you achieve the desired outcome.
The refresh button is basically as if you wrote the same prompt again and hit enter.
Parameters fine-tune your generated images. To use them, make sure to put “–” before the parameter. Here’s a breakdown of each parameter, their value ranges, and an example prompt:
1. Aspect Ratio
Sets the image’s width-to-height ratio. Use values like 1:1 (square), 16:9 (widescreen), or 4:3 (traditional). The parameter is “–ar” and a value after it.
/imagine prompt: A picturesque landscape with rolling hills and a river. –ar 16:9
Controls the randomness of the image. Values range from 0 to 100, with higher values for more chaotic images. The parameter is “–chaos” and a value after it.
/imagine prompt: A surreal dreamscape with floating islands and bizarre creatures. –chaos 80
How much rendering quality time you want to spend. The default value is 1. Higher values cost more and lower values cost less. Values are 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2, with higher values for better quality. Keep in mind higher quality costs more. The parameter is “–q” or “–quality” and a value after it.
/imagine prompt: A highly detailed portrait of a majestic lion. –q 2
Applies the style of a specific image to your prompt. Provide the image URL or upload the image. Values range from 0 to 1000, with higher values for more stylization on the images. The parameter is “–s” or “–stylize” and a value after it.
/imagine prompt: A cityscape in the style of Van Gogh’s Starry Night –s 800
These are just some of the more common parameters. You can of course mix up your parameters and use more than one when generating an image in Midjourney. For a comprehensive list and more details, check out this article: All the Midjourney parameters explained (with examples) | Stef Van Looveren
Here is also a good Youtube Tutorial on parameters, how the work and when to use them: Midjourney Parameters: V5 Update
Now that you know how to generate images and about some basic parameters, Let’s talk about Midjourney’s settings. To get to the settings page in Midjourney, type /settings in Discord and you will be presented with this:
Let’s get into each of these items:
- MJ Version: This is just the version of Midjourney you are using. If you are using the free version, you will be limited to version 4. If you use the paid version, you will be able to use version 5 as well. Niji Mode, MJ Test and MJ Test Photo are also considered Modes. I didn’t really play much with them but I know Niji mode is for anime.
- Quality: This sets the quality parameter (–q) for your images.
- Style: Sets the style parameter (–s) for your images.
- Other options: all these other options are only available to paid versions of Midjourney. Stealth mode hides your images so they are not visible on your Midjourney profile, Remix mode is explained below and Relax/Fast mode is pretty self explanatory.
Here is a great video that goes into detail about how settings on Midjourney Work: Midjourney Settings Explained – Easy guide with sample images
I think this is a paid feature, but I’m not 100% sure. Anyway, remix mode allows you to take an existing image and modify it using Midjourney’s AI capabilities. To activate it, type /Settings and then You’ll see a Remix button which you need to click. Once Remix mode is active, any time you press a V below an image to create versions, the remix prompt comes up which allows you to edit the prompt before resubmitting it to get variations. Here’s an example to help you understand how remixing works:
Original image prompt: /imagine prompt: A beautiful sunset at the beach with palm trees
After the remix, let’s say we want to add a lighthouse on the beach and make the scene more vibrant:
Remix prompt: /imagine prompt: A beautiful sunset at the beach with palm trees and a beach lighthouse, vibrant scene
Now, the generated image will include a lighthouse and have more vivid colors, based on the updated prompt. Note: this doesn’t always work as intended and you may have to play with the prompts a bit to get the desired result.
Negative prompts help you exclude specific elements from the image. Add “–n” followed by the element you want to exclude. Here’s an example:
Before negative prompt: /imagine prompt: A bustling cityscape with skyscrapers.
After negative prompt: /imagine prompt: A bustling cityscape with skyscrapers –no cars
Note: this doesn’t always work as intended. In fact, it rarely works as intended because most of the time Midjourney changes the image a lot. It’s not the same image without the cars as you can see, Midjourney completely removed the streets. There is a way to have the images be much closer together but that’s a topic for another post.
Styles and Creative Examples
In this section, we’ll explore 10 different styles and provide creative example prompts for each. These prompts showcase how the style can be effectively implemented using the “/imagine prompt:” command and various parameters.
A dreamlike, fantastical art style that defies logic, inspired by Salvador Dalí and René Magritte.
/imagine prompt: A surreal painting of an underwater city where jellyfish serve as streetlights
An abstract art style that breaks subjects into geometric shapes and fragmented forms, popularized by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque.
/imagine prompt: A cubist interpretation of a bustling marketplace with geometrically fragmented fruit stalls and shoppers
3. Japanese Woodblock Print
A traditional Japanese art form featuring bold outlines, vivid colors, and intricate patterns.
4. Pop Art
A modern art movement characterized by bold colors, striking imagery, and references to popular culture, associated with artists like Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.
/imagine prompt: A pop art-style image of a retro diner, with vividly colored milkshakes, jukeboxes, and vintage cars
A futuristic, dystopian style that blends advanced technology with societal decay, often characterized by neon lights and dark cityscapes.
/imagine prompt: A cyberpunk rooftop garden with genetically modified plants, robotic gardeners, and a glowing cityscape in the background
A street art style that often incorporates bold colors, intricate lettering, and striking visuals.
/imagine prompt: A sprawling graffiti masterpiece of an intergalactic battle with aliens, spaceships, and cosmic explosions
7. Pixel Art
A digital art style that uses a grid of small squares, or pixels, to create detailed, retro-inspired images.
/imagine prompt: A pixel art rendition of a bustling underwater city with exotic marine life, ancient ruins, and hidden treasure
8. Isometric View
A 3D art style that presents objects and environments from a perspective that shows three sides simultaneously, often used in video games and architectural illustrations.
/imagine prompt: An isometric depiction of a futuristic zoo filled with robotic animals, floating walkways, and holographic exhibits
9. 2D Illustration
A flat, two-dimensional art style that can vary in complexity and detail, often used for book illustrations and digital artwork.
/imagine prompt: A detailed 2D illustration of a hidden, mystical library with enchanted books and magical artifacts
A forward-looking art style that often incorporates sleek designs, advanced technology, and innovative architectural forms.
/imagine prompt: A futuristic desert city powered by solar energy, featuring sand-surfing vehicles and cutting-edge water conservation technology
Here is a great article which goes over the many style ideas you can try out while creating images in Midjourney: 32 Art Styles on Midjourney V4 you must try!. The article is for V4 but I tried most of these and they work on V5 too.
Printing your art
This is all great, but what if I want to print my stuff on a canvas and put it on my wall? The image quality that Midjourney 5 produces is not high enough to print in high quality. What do I do?
First, Midjourney 5 is providing 1024 x 1024px resolution images only while It’s in beta. For Version 4, they did the same thing during the beta period and today you can export in 2048 x 2048px resolution. So I assume they will do the same for Version 5 at some point.
In the meantime, Slobodan suggested an image upscaler to solve this problem. I tried it and it works quite well. You can find a bunch on Google but here is the one I tried and that worked well: https://bigjpg.com/
Wrapping it up
CofounderGPT and I collaborated on this article to demystify the magic of AI-generated images with Midjourney. We hope this guide helps you create stunning visuals for your projects or just have fun experimenting. Don’t forget to check the section below with links to further readings and recommended videos to enhance your Midjourney experience.
Now that you’re familiar with Midjourney, let your imagination run wild with these creative prompts:
/imagine prompt: Miniature city within a bonsai pot, glowing skyscrapers under moonlight, –ar 16:9
/imagine prompt: Intricate motherboard cityscape, shimmering at sunset, concept art style
/imagine prompt: Fantasy art of a bioluminescent forest with whimsical creatures. –s 500 –c 80
/imagine prompt: 3d rendering of an abandoned metropolis reclaimed by nature, under a crimson sun –c 50
/imagine prompt: Illustration of an underwater kingdom with merfolk and vibrant coral gardens.
Remember to use simple language and have fun exploring the endless possibilities with Midjourney!
More reading and viewing
Some cheat codes, part 1: https://levelup.gitconnected.com/the-ultimate-cheat-codes-to-midjourney-prompting-part-1-ed44aca3cab6
Some cheat codes, part 2: https://levelup.gitconnected.com/the-ultimate-cheat-codes-to-midjourney-prompting-part-2-2763323e67d0
How to import an image and then use Midjourney to tweak it: https://bootcamp.uxdesign.cc/unlock-your-imagination-how-midjourneys-ai-can-transform-your-images-5a5fb1f6e8f1
Good overview of styles and prompt tips: