If you are new to using text prompts to create images on Midjourney, you may be struggling to craft the type of prompts to create the image you desire.
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to crafting prompts or prompt engineering (other, than perhaps, to experiment, which isn’t a rule, but really should be 😉 however, there are a few tips which will help you get started.
The first thing to consider is while Midjourney seems magical, the images it generates are only ever going to be as good as the prompt described what you want to see.
The more specific a prompt, there more clues you give the Midjourney engine to create your image to match what you have in mind.
That doesn’t mean that you have to be super-specific, one of the fun things about Midjourney is you can just give the engine a nudge and see what it comes up with!
The image above is the image grid from the single word prompt ‘the’. While this gave Midjourney very little to work with, it means that the results are unpredictable yet exciting.
How Would You Describe The Image to a Friend?
One approach to successful prompt crafting is if you have an image in mind of what you would like Midjourney to create, think of how you would describe this to a friend. Imagine you were giving a friend the details of a piece of art you like and they were going to go shopping for it. You would likely be very specific and tell your friend details such as:
- Subject matter (ie a field of flowers)
- Style or medium (ie photo, watercolor, 2d comic book, painterly)
- Artist/s (in the style of Picasso)
- Specifics (super realistic, cartoon, ‘as seen on’)
- Size and dimension
In the same way that if you say to a friend ‘go and get me a picture of an animal’ and then you wait with bated breath wondering exactly what they will bring back with them, when you give a very loose and woolly text prompt to Midjourney you will also be in the situation of hoping to get something you like.
But that’s not wrong, some of the greatest adventures in AI art come from the unpredictable!
Crafting Detailed Prompts
I’ve got some details below on how the different words attached to a prompt changes the look and feel of the returned artwork.
Let’s start with an easy one.
It doesn’t come a lot more general than this 🙂 and as you can see the Midjourney engine really didn’t have a lot to go on.
A Red Flower
Here I’ve told Midjourney the color I am looking for, but not been specific about the type of flower.
A Red Poppy
By adding the type of flower I am looking for, Midjourney can be much more specific in the results it gives me. Therefore think of how you can tweak your prompt to make it crystal clear to Midjourney what you want to see. For example, instead of ‘child’ do you want to see a boy or girl? Instead of ‘farm animals’ think of the actual animals you want to see.
A Highly Detailed Red Poppy Photo
I added ‘highly detailed’ and ‘photo’ to the prompt to get the image below.
A Highly Detailed Color Pencil Sketch of a Red Poppy
I changed ‘photo’ for color pencil sketch to alter the look and feel of the poppy entirely. However the base root of the prompt is the same, however ‘color pencil sketch’ gives it a whole new look and feel.
A Highly Detailed Color Pencil Sketch of a Red Poppy by Jean-Michel Basquiat
And here I’ve taken it one step further and added an artist’s name to the prompt.
And so it goes on! Each time I add a new qualifying word or phrase to the prompt it narrows down and refines the image that Midjourney creates closely aligning it (hopefully) to what I have in mind.
Grandfather Clock Prompt
The example below shows variations on ‘Grandfather Clock’ to demonstrate how to add qualifiers (ie adjectives, descripters etc) to change the look and feel – plus one surprising very big oops moment!
You can use prompt parameters to change the size and dimension of your image as well as make other changes. You can read more about prompt parameters HERE.
If you aren’t familiar with too many artists and their styles, there’s plenty of places to help you online. This article lists 40 of the top artists of all time with links to examples of their work.
One of the best places to find inspiration is on the Midjourney website (you need to be a member and logged in to see the different images), however this is a great source of inspiration to get you started.
Learn about adding weight to prompts HERE. This will help you tweak your prompts by adding weighting to important elements to achieve more consistent results. However, before we get into more detail, head back over to Midjourney and start exploring and experimenting!