DALL-E: Reasons to Use It and How to Get Started

Codecademy Team
Learn how to generate AI images using DALL-E.


Have you ever found yourself in need of creating pictures based on a description alone? Perhaps you’ve had a collection of image sketches and wished to merge them into a single artwork. Meet DALL-E, a remarkable AI creation developed by OpenAI. It is equipped to generate images from both text and visual prompts.

DALL-E excels at producing highly realistic images, especially when tasked with merging multiple images into a single composition. In this article, we’ll delve into the capabilities of DALL-E and make a comparative analysis with other AI image generation tools.

DALL-E Image Generation

Sure, DALL-E is an AI image-generation tool. But, what makes this tool unique? Let’s analyze some of the pros and cons of using DALL-E. Then we can use DALL-E to create a unique image!

First, let’s explore some of the advantages of DALL-E. DALL-E is incredibly easy to use. With its straightforward interface, we can either type in a text-based description or upload a previous image to generate a new one. Once the image is generated, you can modify specific parts of it, giving you creative control of the image. Even more conveniently, DALL-E can be used as is, without 3rd party software, unlike many other similar tools that often require integration with other applications.

Conversely, DALL-E-generated images tend to be somewhat simplistic, often focusing on just one or two primary elements. They may lack the intricate layers and depth found in images with complex backgrounds that enhance the visual impact. Additionally, DALL-E’s output isn’t always accurate, even with straightforward prompts. We’ll dive deeper into the importance of crafting precise prompts shortly. Lastly, DALL-E generates square images, which could be limiting depending on your specific needs.

To generate images in DALL-E, we’ll use ChatGPT to assist in creating the prompts and then modify them as needed. First, let’s use ChatGPT to create a new prompt for DALL-E to generate an image of a cat sitting on a fence in the moonlight.


I'd like to create a prompt for DALL-E. 


Certainly! To create a prompt for DALL-E, you can follow these general guidelines: 

1. Be Clear and Specific: Ensure that your prompt is clear and specific. Describe the image or concept you want DALL-E to generate as clearly as possible. 

2. Use Natural Language: Write your prompt in natural, human language. You don't need to use complex or technical jargon unless it's essential to your request. 

3. Include Details: Include any relevant details, such as colors, shapes, sizes, textures, or context. The more information you provide, the better DALL-E can understand your request. 

4. Consider the Style: You can also specify the artistic style or mood you want for the image. For example, you can mention if you want the image to be in the style of a particular artist or art movement. 

5. Ask Open-Ended Questions: If you're looking for creative outputs, consider asking open-ended questions rather than making statements.  

6. Experiment: DALL-E may not always produce the exact result you want on the first try. Feel free to iterate and experiment with different prompts to get the desired output. 


I want a cat to be sitting on a fence with the moon behind it. 


Certainly, here's a prompt for DALL-E based on your request: 
"Create an image of a cat sitting on a wooden fence with a full moon in the background. The cat should be depicted in a relaxed, contemplative pose, looking towards the moon. The moonlight should cast a soft, silvery glow, creating a serene and mystical atmosphere."   

Keep in mind that DALL-E's ability to generate images may vary, and the result may not be an exact match to your vision, but this prompt provides a clear description of what we're looking for. 

The DALL-E prompt ChatGPT created was luckily under DALL-E’s 160-character count. Without specific instruction, ChatGPT could have created a prompt that was greater than DALL-E’s character limit. If that does happen, we can either prompt ChatGPT again or manually modify the DALL-E prompt to make it fit.

Now we’ll place ChatGPT’s generated prompt into DALL-E’s prompt bar. First, let’s open DALL-E’s webpage.

DALL-E's Home Page

Second, let’s place the prompt into DALL-E’s input text bar then press Generate.

Prompting DALL-E to create an image of a cat sitting on a fence in the moonlight

DALL-E generated four unique images of a cat perched on a fence, gazing at the moon. These images vary in their realism, cat orientation, and fence colors. In all the images, the cat appears to be positioned at an offset relative to the fence. Let’s fix this. We’ll modify the prompt to factor in cat posture. Let’s add a final sentence to the prompt.

“”” Create an image of a cat sitting on a wooden fence with a full moon in the background. The cat should be depicted in a relaxed, contemplative pose, looking towards the moon. The moonlight should cast a soft, silvery glow, creating a serene and mystical atmosphere. The cat should look natural perched on the fence. The cat should look natural perched on the fence. “””

DALL-E generating an image of a cat sitting on a fence modified to look more realistic compared to the first image where the cat was slightly offset to the fence

With the inclusion of the cat posture to enhance the fence’s natural appearance, DALL-E produced four new images featuring cats comfortably seated on the fence. Each of these images present a convincing moonlight scene, well-rendered fence, and a cat basking in the moonlight.

DALL-E is an incredible tool, characterized by its user-friendliness. Its simple interface allows us to generate visual content using both text and image inputs. Let’s now take a look at how this AI tool stacks up against its competition.

Other Image Generators

We’ve already seen DALL-E’s potential individually. Let’s consider some statistics to see how it compares to its competitors. We will take a look at Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and of course, DALL-E.

DALL-E Midjourney Stable Diffusion
Training Data ~400M Images ~330K Images ~5B Images
Type of Imagery Drawings, Paintings, or Photos Painterly, Aesthetically-Pleasing Images Photorealistic Images or Digital Illustrations
Images Prompt: An astronaut riding a horse in photorealistic style. Image: Image of an astronaut riding a horse in photorealistic style generated by DALL-E Prompt: /imagine prompt angry cat Image: An angry cat generated by Midjourney Prompt: astronaut looking at a nebula , digital art , trending on artstation , hyperdetailed , matte painting , CGSociety Image: Four different images of an astronaut looking at a nebula as a hyperdetailed digital art generated by Stable Diffusion
Accuracy Accuracy decreases as prompt complexity increases Generally accurate for all images Increased accuracy due to Negative Prompts
Customizability Able to customize specific portions of the image on each iteration of image generation Extensive customizable options Extensive customizable options
Prompt Sizing 400 characters 6,000 characters 320 characters
Uniqueness You can combine multiple images together to create a unique image You can create a prompt by providing an image and then use that prompt to create new imagery The Negative Prompt feature allows you to specify what you do NOT want to achieve your goal


DALL-E is a unique AI image-generation tool capable of text- and multi-image-based prompts to create distinct images. DALL-E is an excellent image-generation tool that is continuously being improved upon.

DALL-E isn’t the only AI image generator available; Midjourney and Stable Diffusion are also capable of generating images for us. Each of them has unique capabilities, making them useful in their own way. DALL-E is the simplest of the three, as it generates realistic imagery through the combination of multiple images.

If you are interested in reading more about how Generative AI can be applied in your daily life, please check out our AI Catalog of articles!

If you are interested in using DALL-E to create various forms of marketing assets, please check out our Creating Marketing Assets with Generative AI Cast Study!