Midjourney Prompt Tips: 10 Secrets to Creating Stunning AI Art
How riding the mythical unicorn of AI increases effectiveness, workflow, and exploring the elusive realms of deep productivity.
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It’s innovative. It’s revolutionary. It’s cutting-edge. Midjourney is a high-tech paintbrush dipped in glowing pixel paint, but it still needs our low-tech brain cells to make its creative potential a reality—human input and imagination are still needed!
SIDE NOTE: Do you like the black and white of the header image? Can you think of what specific style it represents? It is noir, or film noir—a term used to describe a specific style of cinema that emerged in the 1940s and 1950s, characterized by a dark, moody, and often gritty atmosphere. In visual art, noir is typically associated with dark, shadowy, and brooding imagery, often featuring elements of mystery, crime, and suspense. I added a touch of sci-fi augmented thematics.
Dream Big, Imagine Bigger, Craft a Prompt
You will soon be creating art beyond the boundaries of what you ever thought possible.
Embrace your imagination: allow yourself to dream big and imagine things that may seem impossible. Give yourself time to play and be curious, let go of perfectionism and why not find new joy in creativity with Midjourney!
Midjourney Prompt Tips Are Not Tricksy at All, Not Like Hobbitses
The fact is, most of us cannot draw and we are not employed by Marvel or DC comics to produce detailed storyboards for the next Dr. Strange and the Rise of the Mystic Mavericks movie.
But we would like to!
Well, we now have a digital design platform that allows people like you and me to create, manipulate and produce stunning visuals without the extensive knowledge or technical ability of programs such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator.
However, I must say that a working knowledge of Photoshop or Illustrator could go a long way in getting your desired results if you want to take your AI art generation to the next level.
This article is not a first-steps-intro to using the Midjourney platform, nor will it explain what on earth a Discord server is—for that you would be best to read my Introduction to Midjourney: For Absolute Beginners & Beyond.
That article will at least point you in the right direction and give you a solid footing that will have you rival Picasso in about 33.33 minutes—well, perhaps not Picasso—but at least you will begin developing your unique style and vision as an artist.
For creatives like you and me, whether experienced or inexperienced, Midjourney is a mix of the massively intricate and the utterly mind-blowing—and yet somehow, it manages to all come together and be totally understandable after a few hours, a few coffees, and a good sense of playfulness and experimental whimsy.
Who knew that something so seemingly insignificant as a few lines of text-to-image prompts could create a world of art so appealing and fantastical?
Perhaps you’ve had a paint can full of artsy ideas floating in your mind for years: a comic book series, a marketing or business idea, a logo or business card, a character for a novel you are writing, or the book cover you’ve always wanted—but you just lack the skill and/or time to bring those dreams into the real world.
Once you get the hang of prompt crafting (or, as I like to call it, prompt engineering), you will enter an entirely new universe of creative potential. Yeah, I know, it’s obviously AI-made creative potential, but it is still in need of detailed human guidance and specifically crafted nuances, with often many post-production tweaks in Photoshop or other image editing software.
Those small text inputs are ready to get upskilled beyond your ‘Level-1 Novice Elf Wizard‘ status and begin producing visual wonders. Not only will this be extremely satisfying, but you will also discover a huge range of different styles, and techniques, and begin to develop your own artistic voice and preferences.
Recently I was experimenting with ChatGPT (currently taking the online world by storm) and training it on how to create detailed and beautiful prompts of about 30-40 words, all randomized within a specific theme. Think of it as one AI telling another AI to add some magical faery dust to your luscious donuts of creativity. But more of that in another post.
It’s All About the Eggs
And in case you are still a little clueless on this whole ChatGPT-thingy, it is a conversational AI model that has been fine-tuned specifically for generating human-like text based on the input it receives. GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3) is a state-of-the-art language model developed by OpenAI.
If you plant a bad seed in poor soil, no amount of water or sunlight will make it grow into a healthy plant. In the same way, if you feed an AI system poor-quality data (our little text prompts), no amount of processing or computation, even though it is trained on billions of data points, will result in a high-quality desired output.
The quality of the output is directly proportional to the quality of the input. So, to get good results, you need to start with good input.
Whether it is ChatGPT, AI Writers (and there are dozens of these popping up like mushrooms after a tropical rainstorm), Midjourney AI, or even baking a cake: the better the ingredients the better the cake!
This post is all about planting good seeds and not cooking with stale flour and expired eggs. So let’s head to the Midjourney kitchen and see what our Master Chef can do.
Don’t Be Intimidated!
Don’t be intimidated by Midjourney’s seeming complexity at first! Try not to get too hung up on trying to memorize all the patterns and prompts you could use – just enjoy the sheer beauty of all your little experiments! I know this from experience: happy accidents always come on this platform, and often by only using one or two different words.
If anything, I have found the Midjourney AI likes to be whispered to—it’s those sweet, small subtle changes that can produce wonderful outcomes.
By carefully selecting and manipulating the prompt input, you, as a ‘prompt engineer‘ can encourage the AI system to focus on specific aspects of the data and improve its ability to make accurate predictions and outcomes.
If you have ever used any of the natural language processing AI writers (such as NeuronWriter, QuillBot, or WordHero), you would have found that small changes in the phrasing or wording of input text can greatly impact the output of a language model.
Similarly, in the training of generative AI art models, those subtle changes in the input will lead to improved recognition of specific subjects or necessary features to be included (or excluded) in your art.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun!
Oh, and one more thing, don’t forget to have fun with Midjourney.
But I do warn you—you will probably need to subscribe to the platform before too long because those free credits get used up pretty quickly.
It can become addictive!
So here we are: we now have available a comprehensive tool for anyone looking to bring their creative ideas to life without any prior coding knowledge or deep artistic experience. With its relatively simple-to-use interface, you will find yourself navigating through all the program’s commands and parameters with minimal effort.
As the Midjourney platform is on Discord it provides users with a comprehensive set of features including drag-and-drop functionality, community building with voice and text chat allowing users to communicate with each other, and the ability to create and manage your own servers.
Do you wish to produce unique, astounding AI art?
Of course, you do.
10 Secret Prompt Engineering Tips and Tricks
Let’s begin by practicing, playing, pondering, and perfecting the following ten, unique and unexpected prompt tips.
These will help set you up to be officially mind-blown in your experimentation process—and the key is to approach your prompt engineering with an open mind and a willingness to learn and grow through the process. Oh, and keep notes—I use Notion and Google Sheets and have pages of prompt ideas collected, many with sample images of my favorite results to help remind me what I am doing.
Top trick # 1
The Beauty of Style Fusion
Style fusion in art refers to the process of combining elements from multiple styles or techniques to create a unique and eclectic artwork. This can involve blending elements from different time periods, cultures, or artistic movements to create something new and original.
Combining these different artistic styles (whether with AI, digital, or traditional methods) can result in stunning pieces. This process is often referred to as “mashup” or “hybridization.” Mixing and matching various styles can bring new perspectives and fresh ideas to traditional forms of art.
For example, you could take elements of impressionism and blend them with cubism to create a unique and modern representation of a landscape. Another example could be to take the vivid colors and strong lines of street art and blend them with the dreamlike quality of surrealism to create a piece that is both bold and imaginative.
It’s important to consider the balance between the different styles you are combining and to stay true to the essence of each style while also allowing room for creativity and experimentation. Yet having said that, you still have permission to go wild and throw balance out the digital window altogether!
Additionally, this technology has enabled AI artists to blend different styles with ease. Digital tools such as graphic design software and image editing programs provide the ability to quickly and easily manipulate and blend various elements, making it possible to create intricate and highly detailed pieces.
Why not randomly choose three artists and see how the AI blends them, for example, try adding:
- Doug Chiang – American film designer and artist. He currently serves as executive creative director of Lucasfilm.
- Wendy Froud – American doll artist, sculptor, puppet-maker, and writer. She is best known for her work fabricating Yoda for Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back.
- Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn – yes, the Dutch painter and etcher, widely considered one of the greatest artists of the Dutch Golden Age. Rembrandt is best known for his stunning portraits and dramatic, evocative scenes of everyday life.
An example of prompt engineering for The Beauty of Style Fusion could look something like this:
/imagine prompt show me a flying robot that is sleek and metallic, with a look that is both aesthetically pleasing and practical for soaring in the clouds, it is equipped with high-tech yellow and black weapons, digital art in the style of Doug Chiand, Wendy Froud, and Rembrandt, vivid colors, 8K, high details --ar 4:5 --q 2
(Remember, if you are unfamiliar with what
--ar 4:5 and
--q 2 mean, see my Introduction to Midjourney article)
Obviously, the three very unique and contrasting styles gave impressive results—especially as the Dutch painter Rembrandt died on October 4, 1669, and would not have a clue what a flying robot was!
Mixing and matching different artistic styles can lead to exciting and innovative digital artworks, and provides a platform for budding AI artists to showcase their unique vision and creativity.
Top trick # 2
A Symphony of Light and Wonder
Light is an essential aspect of any art and can greatly impact the overall look and feel of a piece.
Proper use of light can create depth, and mood, and highlight important elements in a composition. Here are some ways to use light effectively in any art form, including your Midjourney creations:
Directional Light: Using directional light can help create a sense of depth and dimension in a scene. Shadows and highlights can be used to define the form and add a sense of realism.
Color: Color can also be used to convey mood and atmosphere. A warm, yellow light can create a cozy, intimate feel, while a cool, blue light can give a scene a more ominous or eerie feel.
Contrast: High contrast lighting can help draw the viewer’s attention to specific elements within a composition, such as a character or an object. Using contrast can also create a sense of drama or tension in a scene.
Ambient Light: Ambient light is the overall lighting of a scene and can greatly affect the mood of a piece. A bright and well-lit scene can convey happiness or hope, while a darker, moodier scene can evoke feelings of sadness or despair.
Rim Light: Rim lighting involves adding a subtle light source that outlines an object or character, creating a subtle, glowing effect. This technique can add a sense of dimension and separation from the background.
Dramatic Lighting: Dramatic lighting is often used in more theatrical or expressive pieces. It involves creating high contrast and intense shadows to evoke a sense of drama, tension, or mystery.
Volumetric Lighting: Volumetric lighting refers to the way light is rendered in a three-dimensional space, creating the illusion of actual volume and depth. This type of lighting can add a sense of realism and atmosphere to a scene.
Cinematic Lighting: Cinematic lighting refers to the way light is used in filmmaking. This style often involves using multiple light sources to create depth and mood, and can also involve the use of lens flares, reflections, and other special effects.
Studio Lighting: Studio lighting refers to the way lights are set up in a controlled environment, such as a photography or video studio. This type of lighting allows for precise control over the intensity and direction of light and can be used to create a wide range of effects.
As you can see, the possibilities are nearly endless. Experimenting with different lighting prompt techniques can help you find the perfect balance for your piece and create stunning, eye-catching results.
An example of prompt engineering for A Symphony of Light and Wonder could look something like this. Take note of the importance of light in the renders, they turned out very nice.:
/imagine prompt portrait photography, real-life version of Asuka Langley Soryu, volumetric lighting, with a warm neon light glow on the face --ar 4:6 --q 2 --s 550
And if you are wondering, who is Asuka Langley Soryu? She is a fictional creation from the Japanese anime and manga franchise Neon Genesis Evangelion. She is one of the main characters and is a pilot of one of the Evangelion mecha, giant robots used to fight against monsters known as Angels, and is known for her fiery personality.
Top trick # 3
Detail Engineering: Pushing the Boundaries
Detail is another important aspect of art, as it adds depth, interest, and realism to any artwork.
Greater Depth: Detail can help to create a sense of depth and three-dimensionality in any artwork. This can make the image appear more lifelike and convincing, as well as help to draw the viewer’s eye into the scene.
Enhance Realism: By adding small, realistic details, such as textures, patterns, and reflections, an AI artist can make an image feel more believable and lifelike.
Increase Interest: Detail can help to make an artwork more interesting and engaging for the viewer. This is because it provides the viewer with more elements to look at and contemplate, making the artwork feel more complete and well-rounded.
Creating art that is rich in detail will captivate the viewer’s attention. The important thing is to experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you and your prompt styling.
So how do you get all that extra detail in your images? Just ask Midjourney as her wish is your command!
But don’t just ask for: “add a few more details, please.”
Throw in several superlatives, and fiddle with adjectives in the prompt—ask for incredibly, crazily, super, hyper, or meticulously detailed.
I’ve found the following prompt words also add unique and interesting detail to an otherwise routine render of a subject:
- Cosmic – Cosmic detail refers to details in art that depict elements of the cosmos, such as stars, galaxies, planets, and other celestial objects. Cosmic details can be used to create an otherworldly, fantastical, or surreal atmosphere.
- Psytrance – Psytrance details often reflect the trippy, mind-bending nature, or intricate and detailed patterns that evoke a sense of kaleidoscopic, almost hypnotic movement. Often it produces mesmerizing, dreamlike beauty, with bold, vibrant colors working together to create a sense of depth and movement.
- Filigree-like – Filigree is a type of decorative metalwork that involves twisting, bending, and weaving thin wire into intricate patterns and designs.
- Fractalized – Fractalized refers to the use of fractal patterns, which are repeating, self-similar patterns found in many natural systems. In art, fractals can be used as a basis for generating complex, intricate designs, as well as for creating abstract and surreal landscapes.)
Sometimes you may see prompts asking for high resolution, HD, 4K, 8K, 16K, or other such variations. This won’t give you more pixels, but they might just give you more detail or even change the look of an image completely.
An example of prompt engineering for Detail Engineering: Pushing the Boundaries could look something like this:
/imagine prompt mother nature in all of her glorious rainbow of colors, celestial, fractalized detail, scrollwork, and lace, --ar 2:3 --stylize 500
Top trick # 4
Texture Seeds in a Garden of Mystery
Texture in art refers to the surface quality or “feel” of a work of art.
It can refer to the actual physical texture of a material, such as the roughness of a rock or the smoothness of a polished jade stone, as well as the visual texture of a two-dimensional image, such as the rough brushstrokes in an oil painting or the smooth, even lines in a pencil drawing.
The texture of art is an important element that also helps create depth, volume, and a sense of physicality in an image. By using textural elements, you can give your work a sense of three-dimensionality, even if it is a flat image. Texture can also be used to create contrast and interest, drawing the viewer’s eye to specific areas of the artwork and creating a visual hierarchy.
In addition to its visual effects, texture can also evoke emotions and convey meaning. For example, that rough, textured surface might evoke feelings of ruggedness, while the polished jade might convey elegance or sophistication.
Do you ask for any particular texture to be applied in your prompts?
All these and more can help describe textures well, and a surprising variety of textures are recognized by Midjourney. Experiment with:
- Transparent (also translucent, though more associated with light)
- Tree bark
If you’re not describing the texture, you’re missing out on a key prompt descriptor in your image generation.
Why not go a step further and use a picture of a texture seed image instead; there are many free textures accessible on image-sharing websites like Pixabay or Unsplash.
Download the texture image and drag it to the Discord server (it helps to set up your own Discord server and then invite the Midjourney bot to join your server.) Once you have the direct URL of the image, simply add this at the beginning of your prompt + other prompt text. The Midjourney AI will recognize the patterns and colors and can create some very unique effects.
An example of prompt engineering for Texture Seeds in a Garden of Mystery could look something like this:
/imagine prompt a photo-realistic image of a strange monster::2 it has long flowing feathers for hair:: use a slimy texture:10 add little bits of twigs and hair and moss::2 mist, stars, and sparks hovering around its eyes::3 ethereal, cinematic lightning spread, it is feminine in form --ar 5:4
Top trick # 5
Repeating patterns are a popular design element in both fine art and commercial design and are often used as wallpapers on screens such as computers and mobile devices. Common repeating patterns used in art and design would include:
- Floral Patterns: These typically feature repeated images of flowers, leaves, and other botanical elements.
- Geometric Patterns often feature repeated shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles arranged in a symmetrical design.
- Abstract Patterns: These can feature a variety of shapes and colors arranged in a repeating pattern, and can range from simple and minimal to complex and intricate.
- Tile Patterns: These are often inspired by traditional ceramic or mosaic tile designs, and feature repeated shapes arranged in a grid-like pattern.
- Damask Patterns: These typically feature a decorative pattern with a formal, stylized design, and are often inspired by classical or historical motifs.
- Plaid Patterns: These feature repeated diagonal stripes, often in multiple colors, and are often associated with traditional tartan designs.
- Paisley Patterns: These highlight a distinctive teardrop- or kidney-shaped design that is repeated to create a complex, decorative pattern.
Perhaps you may be able to utilize these in your print-on-demand (POD) store or even sell them to other designers as pattern packages.
Tile-like images can be created by adding the –tile parameter (only in versions v1, v2, and v3 of Midjourney – so remember to use the –v 3 parameter) and asking for a seamless repeating pattern. The –tile parameter generates images that can be used as repeating tiles to create seamless patterns for fabrics, wallpapers, and textures.
An example of prompt engineering for Repeater Patterns could look something like this:
/imagine prompt a very detailed plaid pattern with hints of golden and azure diagonal stripes, a traditional tartan design with a cosmic flavor, kaleidoscopic elements are a feature on the edges --ar 5:4
Top trick # 6
Punk is Not Dead, Punkify the Machine
“Punk” as an art style can refer to a number of different aesthetic movements that are influenced by punk music, culture, and fashion. Three of the more well-known ‘punks’ are:
Steampunk is a subgenre of science fiction that blends Victorian-era technology with futuristic elements. In digital art, steampunk often features elaborate, mechanical designs and a dark, industrial aesthetic.
Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction that explores the impact of advanced technology on society. In digital art, cyberpunk often features neon-lit cityscapes, artificial intelligence, and a gritty, futuristic feel.
Forestpunk is a subgenre of punk that combines elements of punk culture with elements of environmentalism and an appreciation of nature. The term “forestpunk” is sometimes used to describe a style of music, art, or fiction that is characterized by dark and mystical elements drawn from forests, such as dark trees, tangled vines, and supernatural creatures like fairies and elves. The style can range from whimsical and fantastical to dark and eerie. It can often convey attitudes of individual expression and creativity.
Both steampunk and cyberpunk digital art styles often feature an eclectic mix of historical and futuristic elements and can be highly imaginative, visually striking, and thought-provoking. These styles are popular among digital artists who are interested in exploring alternative futures and subcultures, and who enjoy creating visually rich and complex works of digital art.
Do you want your Midjourney creations to have a certain attitude and flare for the dramatic? Try and punk your prompts!
In all actuality you can ‘punkify’ anything and here is a good list to get started:
An example of prompt engineering for Punk is Not Dead, Punkify the Machine could look something like this:
/imagine prompt photorealistic steampunk ninja girls leaping across rooftops, flowing wires for hair, mystical, magic lights and swirls of color, intricate detail, cinematic lighting, octane render, 8k render --ar 2:3
Top trick # 7
Conflicting Conundrums of Creativity
And while we’re mixing words around in your mind’s Imaginarium, why not play around with juxtaposition, or as I like to call it—conflicting conundrums of creativity?
Many artists find these ‘conflicting conundrums’ to be a source of inspiration and motivation, as they work to find creative solutions to these challenges and push the boundaries of what is possible. So let’s bring that over into Midjourney by embracing these conflicting conundrums to create innovative and original works that express their unique perspectives and vision.
Some common conflicting conundrums of creativity include balancing the need for originality and authenticity with the desire to appeal to a wider audience, finding a way to express complex ideas while still making them accessible, and balancing the need for technical skill in Photoshop post-production with the desire to experiment and take risks. This is made all the more possible through prompt engineering.
Juxtaposition is a concept in art that refers to the placement of two or more elements side by side in order to create a comparison, contrast, or complementary relationship between them. By placing different (or conflicting) elements next to each other, you as an AI creative can draw attention to the similarities and differences between them, and create a sense of tension and/or harmony.
Juxtaposition can be used in a variety of ways. For example, you might place a bright color next to a dark color to create a high contrast or place a large shape next to a small shape to create a sense of scale. Whether it’s photography, digital art, or AI art, juxtaposition can be used to create a visual narrative or to tell a story through images.
However, don’t simply match up opposing themes; consider opposing lighting, atmospheres, and backdrops as well. Even experiments with complementary themes can produce outstanding results.
The attempts made by Midjourney to incorporate these contradictory concepts may result in a final image that is incredibly inventive and capture meanings that will surprise you.
An example of prompt engineering for Conflicting Conundrums of Creativity could look something like this:
/imagine prompt [ADD a direct URL link whatever, I used a piece of space art] light souls ascending into heaven, landscape celestial, soft light, magical, ethereal, sharpened --ar 2:1
Top trick # 8
Unpredictable Beauty: Randomisation and the Art of Surprise
This is a rather unique aspect in your Midjourney prompt engineering skillset: Use unexpected and random elements that bare no relation to other parts of your subject and composition.
Okay, let me explain a little more.
Unexpectedness and randomness can play a role in art and creativity by introducing elements of unpredictability and surprise into the creative process. This can help break up the monotony of a traditional and structured approach to our prompt generation, which can often lead to new and innovative ideas and creations.
Sometimes one thing can lead to another, and then to another, and that element of surprise can be a delightful addition to a whole new series of prompt ideas.
In art, the use of random elements adds an element of unpredictability to the final product, encouraging the viewer to engage with the work in new and unexpected ways. This can create a sense of intrigue and excitement, as the viewer is forced to reconsider their expectations and assumptions about the artwork.
Similarly, the introduction of randomness into the AI creative process can also lead to new and unexpected insights, as the artist is forced to work with elements that they may not have considered before. This can help to push the boundaries of conventional thinking and can lead to the development of truly unique and innovative works of art.
However, it is important to note that randomness is not the only element that contributes to art and creativity. It plays a valuable role in the creative process but should be balanced with other elements, such as composition, color, form, and subject matter, in order to create a cohesive and impactful final product. Yet remember, with Midjourney anything is possible!
An example of prompt engineering for Unpredictable Beauty: Randomisation and the Art of Surprise could look something like this:
/imagine prompt <Direct URL seed image>, a very colorful reign of LEGO, small township on the edge of a great forest, fairy-like, magic is about, light swirls, --ar 5:4
Top trick # 9
Beauty in Binary: Unleashing the Magic
Beauty is an important aesthetic concept in art, referring to the qualities or characteristics that make a work of art appealing, attractive, or aesthetically pleasing to the viewer.
Beauty in art takes many forms, including visual beauty, emotional beauty, and intellectual beauty, and is often subjective, as what one person finds beautiful may not be the same for another.
Visual beauty refers to the aesthetic qualities of an artwork, such as its composition, color, form, and texture. This type of beauty is often characterized by harmonious arrangements of elements, pleasing symmetry, and a sense of balance and proportion.
Emotional beauty refers to the way that an artwork can evoke emotions in the viewer. This can be achieved through the use of symbolism, subject matter, or the way that elements are arranged within the artwork. Emotional beauty can be seen as a way to connect with the viewer on a deeper level and to evoke feelings of empathy, compassion, or nostalgia.
Intellectual beauty refers to the way that an artwork can stimulate the viewer’s intellect or imagination. This can be achieved through the use of complex imagery, abstract forms, or thought-provoking subject matter. Intellectual beauty in art can challenge the viewer’s perceptions and encourage critical thinking, while also providing a sense of intellectual fulfillment.
Ultimately, the concept of beauty in art is a highly debated and subjective one, and will likely continue to evolve as artists, AI or otherwise, explore new forms, materials, and techniques in their work.
I sometimes add the following words to prompts: balance, symmetrical, aesthetics, harmony, vastness, spiritual, mystical, empathy, compassion, or nostalgia. These all help the AI produce some stunning compositions.
Simply adding the word beautiful in a prompt may significantly alter how the AI renders your photographs; it makes everything appear smoother and calls attention to particular aspects like gorgeous eyes, a sweet face, or fine hands. Beauty is not simply in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes even those anatomical quirks (and deformities) of AI (such as very odd hands, feet, fingers, etc.) can (but not always) be improved by adding ‘beautiful’. This is still a work in progress and I am sure future releases of Midjourney will vastly improve on these things.
An example of prompt engineering for Beauty in Binary could look something like this:
/imagine prompt symmetrical psychedelica painting of a woman dissolving into the wind, light and dark aesthetics, wind harmony, the vastness of time and space, something of intellectual beauty that changes how we view art, photo-realistic, vivid autumn and neon colors --ar 5:4
Top trick # 10
Wibbawoo and Wafflewow: Nonsensical Delights
Nonsensical words can be used in Midjourney prompts to challenge the model’s understanding and ability to generate coherent and meaningful responses. This can be useful for testing the model’s language generation capabilities and will cause the AI to go on an internal treasure hunt to find meaning in the gibberish from its data sets, often with unexpected results.
For example, an AI prompt using a nonsensical word may look something like this: “draw a large pink and black flibberdoodle klop.” The AI would then need to generate a response that tries to make sense in the context of the prompt, despite the use of the nonsensical word flibberdoodle klop.
It’s worth noting that the use of nonsensical words in Midjourney prompts is just one of the ways to be pleasantly surprised at its random creations and contexts. Another method is my ‘weird poetry method‘ or lines from children’s books (or grown-up books as well!).
‘Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!’
This wonderful nonsense poetry for kids, which is frequently dubbed “The Jabberwocky” by mistake (the Jabberwock is the monster, hence the poem is called “Jabberwocky”), begins in this way. It appeared in Lewis Carroll’s sequel to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Through the Looking-Glass.
So why not stick only the quote, and nothing else, in Midjourney to create something that will surprise us—let’s see what happens—oh my, see the result below!
The key here is to keep experimenting.
These wibbawoo-and-wafflewow-type prompts are meant to be quirky, surreal, and offbeat, and are used to inspire the playful and imaginative styles of weird and eccentric art styles.
By combining seemingly disparate elements in unexpected ways, these prompts can create a dreamlike and fantastical world that defies traditional conventions and expectations.
Whether you’re just having fun, looking for inspiration, or exploring artistic expression—weird and nonsensical words can be a powerful tool for exploring the boundaries of language, creativity, and Midjourney art.
An example of prompt engineering for Wibbawoo and Wafflewow could look something like this. Moogletub is the made-up word in the prompt and the AI found a way!
/imagine prompt draw a large pink and black moogletub, hyperrealism, concept oil and liquid ink, golden accents, --ar 5:4
BONUS trick # 11
Bonus: The Ubiquitous Emoji
Emojis have become ubiquitous in modern communication, but they are not only limited to texting and social media. Now we can use these quaint little pictograms in a Midjourney prompt—and often produce some astounding results.
There are over 3,600 emojis in Unicode Standard. This includes variations in skin tones, genders, and different emoji modifiers such as flags and directional arrows. New emojis are regularly added each year, so the number is constantly growing.
View the full emoji list on Emojipedia.
An example of prompt engineering for The Ubiquitous Emoji could look something like this. I used 👩🚀 Woman Astronaut and 💃 Woman Dancing in the prompt below!
/imagine prompt 👩🚀💃, digital photography, --ar 9:16 --uplight --v 4 --s 750
Creative Sparks for More Magical JuJu
You are on the way to becoming a pro prompter!
It involves creating text prompts that guide the AI toward a specific outcome. As a pseudo-art form, it requires a deeper understanding of artistic language across a wide range of topics: light and shadow, art styles, artists, mediums, cartoons, anime and comics, moods, colors and palettes, dimensionality, geography, culture—this list could go on and on. And then we need a healthy final dose of creativity and imagination to craft effective prompts that engage the AI in the best way possible.
Here are a few more super helpful tips and tricks to help you on your way to becoming a superstar prompt engineer:
Experiment with seed images by adding image links in the prompt (these are known as image prompts): Add one or two direct URL’s at the front of a prompt, then add your text prompt, and finally finish off with any necessary parameters — then see what happens.
Get to know your way around the Midjourney Discord interface by using the different command sets available. Commands are used to create images, change default settings, monitor user info, and perform other helpful tasks.
Experiment with different aspect ratios
--ar 2:3, --ar 2:1, --ar 16:9 --ar 5:4 etc.
Remix and More
Try out some of the more advanced prompt engineering techniques from Midjourney such as remix and multi prompts.
The Power of Parameters
Start experimenting with parameters. These are options added to a prompt that change how an image generates. Parameters are always added to the end of a prompt. You can add multiple parameters to each prompt.
One of the best ways to get photographic quality in your images is to cite real photographic words and sources in the prompt. Try cinematic still or stock photography or movie still etc.
One of my favorite art sets I created was a whole series of young steampunk pilots using pencil drawings style. Choose your subject and just add
pencil drawing of a <subject> to the prompt.
Using negative prompts can be effective sometimes:
--no blur may help reduce some blur issues; or if you are doing a space scene and want no planets, use
/imagine prompt a glorious space scene, --no planets
Perspectives & Views
Try out wide-angle view, satellite view, bird’s eye view, or drone view to see different perspectives of the final art. Also, try adding low-angle shot, eye-level shot, full-body shot, or glamor shot, etc to prompts.
Aerial view and over-the-shoulder views are also nice to experiment with.
Remember that the perspective prompts are more influential the closer they appear toward the beginning of the prompt text.
Sometimes the initial render is great, but when you upscale some tiny alterations can happen. What to do? Use Beta-Upscaling to get a larger image a lot closer to the original render. The Beta-Upscaler creates a 2048px x 2048px image without adding many additional details. The Beta Uspcaler is useful for faces and smooth surfaces.
Create Custom Options
Create custom options using preferred commands to add commonly used parameters to the end of prompts automatically:
/prefer option set <name> <value> is the syntax.
For example, to save me from typing in
hd, 4k, --ar 2:1 every time I can set a
/prefer option set y , hd, 4k, --ar 2:1 Then all I do is type
--y to automatically add it to each prompt! (notice the comma before the hd to help with overall prompt syntax)
Knolling is Awesome
A fun text prompt to use is knolling photography. This will give you super detailed, fun images. Knolling is a method of organizing and arranging objects in a neat and orderly fashion. It has since become a popular organizing technique in various fields, including photography, design, and art as a composition technique. Just use the word knolling style or knolling photographic style in the prompt.
Need some inspiration to create your own unique AI art? Check out Creative Fabrica to see a few tools that will help your creative process.
Finding Inspiration for New Midjourney Prompts
Finding inspiration for your new AI art addiction doesn’t need to be a challenge, the internet provides a wealth of resources to help spark your imagination.
Here are some suggestions for finding inspiration online:
Social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are great places to find inspiration from other artists. You can follow accounts that share art, design, and photography that you find inspiring, and interact with other creatives in the community.
Try these to start with:
Ben Myhre – Instagram – One of my go-to Instagram accounts for amazing and detailed AI art.
Radiant Descent – Twitter – Twitter bio: “A guided visual regurgitation of the internet. Teaching my GPU how to art. AI image outputs, deep dreams, and generative art.”
Daily AIAR – Instagram | Patron – Digital creator exploring the possibility of the AI universe.
SakuraAI – Instagram – Sakura’s bio: Multidisciplinary Al artist who uses different ways to explore expressiveness using the magic of computation.
Guy Parsons – Twitter – Curator of the Dallery Gallery – See the Instagram feed as well – The focus is more on AI art from DALL-E / DALL-E 2 magical machines. Also curated by Guy. His prompt tweets on Twitter are a great source of learning.
aidreamscapes – Instagram – Her bio: Digital Art Creator. A diary of my digital art creations. A journey of self-discovery.
ai_art_community – Instagram – See also their website and Discord community.
Alfonso Falcon – Instagram | Website – Venezuelan Graphic Designer | Digital Artist | Building with AI. Fully trained, innovative, talented, and professional Graphic Designer with 10+ years of invaluable hands-on experience.
prompt4you – Instagram – Eyecatching images with AI prompt craft.
There are many online galleries that showcase the work of artists from around the world. Sites like DeviantArt and Behance are great places to find inspiration and connect with other artists. If you love fantasy art then also take a look at Art of Magic the Gathering and Artstation. And never forget the abundance of Pinterest!
Many museums have virtual tours and online collections that you can access from the comfort of your own home. This is a great way to see the works of master artists up close and get a sense of the styles and techniques that have been used throughout history.
The J. Paul Getty Museum – at the Getty Center features works of art dating from the eighth through the twenty-first century, showcased against a backdrop of dramatic architecture, tranquil gardens, and breathtaking views of Los Angeles. The collection includes European paintings, drawings, sculptures, illuminated manuscripts, decorative arts, and European, Asian, and American photographs.
The Vatican Museum – The Vatican’s museums are highly artistic places with soaring vaulted ceilings, detailed frescoes, and elaborate tapestries. Take a virtual tour!
The Guggenheim – The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao was the result of an extraordinary partnership between the Basque Institutions and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. More than two decades after its grand opening in October 1997, the Museum is a reality that has exceeded the most ambitious artistic and cultural expectations.
The Rijksmuseum – The Rijksmuseum is the national museum of the Netherlands. They tell the story of 800 years of Dutch history, from 1200 to now. Want to discover more about Rembrandt?
Art blogs are a great way to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques in the art world. From tutorials and interviews to reviews and roundups, art blogs are a great source of inspiration and information. A few to try would be:
AIArtists.org – The world’s largest community of artists exploring Artificial Intelligence. They curate historically significant Artificial Intelligence art, AI art tools to use in your creative practice, and serve as a global clearinghouse for AI’s impact on art and culture.
Artsy – Great place to learn and discover new art forms. Artsy is a leading marketplace for art by the world’s emerging and established artists, we’ve made it easy for new and experienced collectors to discover, buy, and sell art—and so much more. Everything you’ll ever need to collect art, you’ll find on Artsy.
Cass Art -Their blog makes for very interesting reading on all things art.
Midjourney Community Feed
Probably the best resource around!
If you are a subscribed member to Midjourney you have the advantage of seeing all prompts and commands used to create those incredible pieces of AI art in the community feed.
Reuse them, learn from them, collect them, and create your own unique styles.
After you log in to Midjourney at https://www.midjourney.com/app/ (not their Discord) visit the main community feed. This will be a huge help when first starting out as you can learn from more seasoned AI artists and start compiling collections.
Compiling artwork collections?
Yes! Take advantage of bookmarking specific images that you want to keep track of and start following other artists to have their creations show up in your Personal Feed.
By using these online resources, you can find inspiration for your art anywhere and at any time, no matter where you are. So go ahead, start exploring, and see where your creativity takes you!
Steve Roberts is a full-time blogger, digital marketer, and freelance designer who also helps young Jedis make informed lightsaber decisions. Join Steve on this incredible journey, learning how to scale your business and entrepreneurial vision. His clients include organizations and businesses from Europe, Asia, Australia, and the USA.