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Midjourney vs. Stable Diffusion – Best of AI Art

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Main Differences Between Midjourney And Stable Diffusion

One of the biggest differences between Midjourney and Stable Diffusion is that Stable Diffusion is free to use and open-source, whereas Midjourney is a commercial platform.

Another key difference is that with Stable Diffusion, you can use user-generated checkpoint models and extensions and even create a video. In contrast, with Midjourney, you are limited to the AI art models and features they offer.

Lastly, Stable Diffusion has hardware requirements, whereas Midjourney hasn’t.

Check out: Best Stable Diffusion models

Pros And Cons Comparison

Stable Diffusion (local installation)

ProsCons
Completely free.The local installation can be complicated and with issues.
Unlimited image generation.The user interface takes time to get used to.
1000+ user-generated AI art models.Hardware requirements.
Constantly developed with new extensions and features by the community.It might require a lot of negative text prompt words.
Overall user experience (after getting used to the WebUI).
Total creative freedom.
Table comparing the pros and cons of Stable Diffusion.

Check out: How to use Stable Diffusion

Midjourney

ProsCons
Best AI art in terms of image quality and aesthetics.User interface. (this will change in the future)
Text prompt precision.User experience. (this will change in the future)
No need to fill the text prompt with multiple negative text prompts.Pricing.
You are limited to the models Midjourney offers.
Occasional mistakes in images (which will cost you credits as they are always counted as one image generation)
Occasional start and end job hiccups.
A table detailing the pros and cons of using Midjourney.

Check out: Midjourney review

Image Quality Comparison

Midjourney and Stable Diffusion can both generate high-quality AI art and images. Below is an image, art, and style comparison of both AI art generators.

Cinematic style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-cinematic-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney cinematic style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-cinematic-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results
Stable Diffusion cinematic style.

Anime style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-anime-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney anime style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-anime-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results
Stable Diffusion anime style

Photography style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-photography-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney photography style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-photography-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results
Stable Diffusion photography style.

Check out: Best photography AI art models

Comic style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-cartoon-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney comic style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-comic-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results-v2
Stable Diffusion comic style.

3D style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-3d-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney 3D style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-3d-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results
Stable Diffusion 3D style.

Realism style

midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-realism-style-comparison-midjourney-results
Midjourney realism style.
midjourney-vs-stable-diffusion-realism-style-comparison-stable-diffusion-results
Stable Diffusion realism style.

Check out: Best Stable Diffusion models

Cost Comparison

Midjourney is a paid service, whereas Stable Diffusion is completely free to use, thanks to its open-source nature. Midjourney’s pricing starts at $10/month and goes up to $120/month.

Stable Diffusion has hardware and software requirements that might not suit everyone. For this reason, you can buy Stable Diffusion-as-a-service from multiple different sites.

The average price point for Stable Diffusion-as-a-Service (SDaaS) is $5/month and goes up to $48/month.

Some of the best online Stable Diffusion AI art generators:

Check out: Best Midjourney alternatives

Features Comparison

FeatureMidjourneyStable Diffusion
Image-to-image generationYesYes
Free-to-useNoYes
InpaintingNoYes
Outpainting/Zoom Out + PanYesYes
DreamboothNoYes
Pose manipulationYesYes
Commercial licenseYesYes
Negative text promptsYesYes
AI art models8+1000+
Upscale optionYesYes
AI art model buildProprietaryOpen-source
Image generation limitNoNo
Images generated per run/job41-500+
Table comparing the features of Midjourney and Stable Diffusion.

Ease of Use Comparison

When comparing Midjourney and locally installed Stable Diffusion (SD), Midjourney takes the spot as the more accessible-to-use AI art generator. Midjourney uses Discord (Midjourney is developing a website for the AI art generation), so there’s some learning curve.

However, installing Stable Diffusion locally to your computer is a hassle and unsuitable for non-tech-savvy people.

Check out: Stable Diffusion requirements – hardware and software

Starting with Midjourney requires you to get used to how Discord works, how Midjourney text prompts work, what parameters there are, and different Discord-specific commands. With Stable Diffusion, it’s more or less the same thing while not residing on Discord. You have your normal text prompt, negative text prompt, sampling steps, CFG scale, etc., to learn.

Both options (Midjourney and Stable Diffusion) are not the easiest ones to use at the beginning. Using Stable Diffusion-as-a-Service (SDaaS) solves a lot of problems, and from this perspective, Stable Diffusion is definitely a better option.

For example, Lexica AI art generator’s user interface and user experience are prime examples of a near-perfect solution for AI art generation. Even the most beginner can easily create AI art with Lexica instantly and without hassle.

User Interface (UI) And User Experience (UX) Comparison

midjourney-user-interface
Midjourney’s Discord user interface.

Midjourney is currently operating through a Discord server and thus has a bad user experience and interface. Using Discord gets easier by the use, and it soon feels natural to create AI art with it. Midjourney is working on creating a native website to offer its services, but it’s currently in a work-in-progress stage.

Check out: How does Midjourney work

automatic1111-webui-interface-guide
AUTOMATIC1111′ WebUI (web user interface). 1. Choose which checkpoint model to use. 2. Normal (positive) text prompt. 3. Negative text prompt. 4. Settings for sampling method, sampling steps, resolution, etc. 5. Generate AI image.

Using Stable Diffusion (SD) locally with AUTOMATIC1111’s WebUI (you need a WebUI to use SD) is a bit complex to use initially, and thus the initial user experience isn’t the best. However, after a while, AUTOMATIC1111’s user interface gets easier to use, and soon you realize the brilliance of the options and features it provides.

Both (Midjourney and locally installed Stable Diffusion) solutions take time to get used to. While the image generation process is simple in both user interfaces, locally installed SD is slightly better regarding UX and UI. Mainly because you can adjust and experiment with many settings simultaneously and generate as many images as you want.

Stable Diffusion-as-a-Service UX and UI

lexica-user-interface
Lexica’s user interface for AI image generation.

Lexica, Playground AI, and Leonardo AI are AI art generators offering Stable Diffusion service. The AI art generators provide an outstanding user experience and user interface for AI image generation.

Comparing Stable Diffusion service providers with Midjourney, the clear winners are the Stable Diffusion service providers.

Key Takeaways

Comparing Midjourney and Stable Diffusion isn’t easy as you need to consider Stable Diffusio-as-a-Service platform providers too. Comparing Midjourney and locally installed Stable Diffusion, I can conclude that Midjourney is a better AI art generator overall. Stable Diffusion can be difficult to set up, and it also requires a rather beefy computer to generate AI images without frustration.

Stable Diffusion-as-a-Service (SDaaS), however, somewhat changes the setting a bit. SDaaS platforms offer an intuitive and easy-to-use interface for creating amazing AI art with Stable Diffusion. Leonardo AI’s art generator is specifically one that is clearly rivaling Midjourney in terms of AI art quality and usability.

There are also Stable Diffusion AI art generators specifically made for creating a certain type of AI art, such as PixAI art which is specifically made for generating anime AI art. This can give an edge to some who wish to create a certain style of AI art.

In terms of pricing, Stable Diffusion is free, whereas Midjourney is a subscription-based service.

Because of the open-source nature of Stable Diffusion, it’s hard for Midjourney to compete against user-generated models, extensions, and innovation happening in the AI art space.

Both AI art generators can produce amazing results regarding image and art quality. Midjourney slightly takes the edge here in terms of art aesthetics and usability. The difference in art quality is somewhat marginal, though.

My Experience

“I’ve used both options, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. At first, Midjourney was somewhat confusing to use, but after a while, it started to feel easier and easier. With Stable Diffusion, you have to read tutorials and watch videos to get the pieces together.

However, once everything is set up, AUTOMATIC1111’s WebUI and Stable Diffusion are fun and easy to use. Probably the best part of Stable Diffusion is that users are constantly generating new models and extensions, improving the art generator month after month.

However, there’s no denying that Midjourney creates some of the best-looking AI art. The art quality, aesthetics, and visuals are breathtaking to look at. Both options are great, it’s only a matter of whether you like total creative freedom (Stable Diffusion) or are you happy with what you are offered (Midjourney).”

Feature image credits (created with Midjourney).

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Okuha

Digital Artist

I’m a digital artist who is passionate about anime and manga art. My true artist journey pretty much started with CTRL+Z. When I experienced that and the limitless color choices and the number of tools I could use with art software, I was sold. Drawing digital anime art is the thing that makes me happy among eating cheeseburgers in between veggie meals.

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