Bonkers for Midjourney

The elephant in the room

As you may have noticed in my social media feeds, I’ve gone bonkers for Midjourney. You may ask yourself, “Self…what’s up with that guy? Why is he raving about Midjourney all the time?”

I have news for you, kid; creative AI will revolutionize the industry.

That is a strong statement. Why on earth would I get so worked up about this one AI program anyway? Let’s dig in a little closer, and let me show you some things I’ve discovered.

Midjourney: Easy to Use, Difficult to Master

If you haven’t messed around with Midjourney yet, and you do any art creation for your business, you are missing out. It isn’t difficult to get going. I’ve written out a step by step instructions. Check it out:

Basic Midjourney Steps

Get a Discord account. It’s Free.

Sign up for Midjourney, and accept the invitation to the Midjourney Discord channel. Unfortunately, MJ is only available on Discord. Later, once you get the hang of things, you can create your own Discord Server and do your work separately from the crowd.

Go to any #newbies channel, and type /subscribe.

Pick your Midjourney plan. They no longer have a free version. You can always upgrade. (I have the Pro Plan. The Basic Plan is $8/month, the Standard Plan is $24/month, and the Pro Plan is $48/month.

Head back to Discord, get into the Midjourney channel, and start generating images.

Start in Midjourney

Once in MJ, type /settings to view the settings for your account. You can change them.

You must type in /imagine into the chat to create an image. This brings up the ability to type in word prompts, which is how images are generated. Use as many prompts as you feel necessary.

You will receive a “grid” with four similar images based on your word prompts. Midjourney will never return the same image twice.

U1, U2, U3, U4 – mean to “Upscale” the corresponding image, which makes that image into a single panel and adds more resolution.  The numbers read left to right, top to bottom.  1 and 2 are on the top, and 3 and 4 are on the bottom.

V1, V2, V3, V4 – means to make “Variations” of the corresponding image, which will return another grid of four images but will be based on the one you like.

The “Reroll” button tells MJ to resample the instructions based on the original prompts completely.

A great way to learn how prompt words affect the image is to run consecutive tests with the same prompts, except change one word in each.  To see what I mean, try this exercise:

  • (favorite animal), (location), watercolor painting
  • (same animal), (same location), Flemish Tapestry
  • (same animal), (same location), comic book style
  • (same animal), (same location), in the style of (favorite artist)
  • (same animal), (same location), cinematic lighting
  • (same animal), (same location), alcohol ink
  • (same animal), (same location), backlit lighting
  • (same animal), (same location), linocut illustration
  • (same animal), (same location), stained glass
  • (same animal), (same location), (your idea)

To use MJ for commercial artwork, you should increase the resolution of the final image. Topaz Gigapixel, or Upscale Media, is a great way to clean up the MJ art for use.  It eliminates any bitmapped edges or blurry features.  There are settings that you can adjust.  It makes the file gigantic but at 72 dpi.  Reset that in Photoshop or Affinity Photo to 300 dpi but at the appropriate size dimension for printing.

Former Art Director Here

Back in the day, I was an art director. I had a staff of some of the best graphic designers in the business working for me. Our workload was tremendous. At times it would be difficult to keep up. The creative stress was maddening, as sales in the decoration apparel industry depends on great artwork. As a designer, you want to create something unique that people will go crazy about and fork over their hard-earned money.

Some artists may view Midjourney as the competition. I see it as an amazing tool. Are you a glass-half-full person, or is it glass-half-empty for you?

Midjourney Example: Street Outlaw

Let’s say you are doing some shirts for a car club. They want something dramatic on a black t-shirt. You enter these prompt words, “Urban, Street Outlaw, street racing, cinematic lighting, woodcut illustration, 1990 Mustang, red, white, and blue, black background, sticker, background paint strokes.”

About a minute later:

You would show this to your client and get their opinion. Let’s say they love it. Now, you just have to finish getting it ready for print production. Maybe they don’t like it. That’s ok; you’ve only spent a minute on this. Reroll and get more images. Share another one.

Is this image above perfect? Probably not. I would go in and change the Mustang badge on the front grille and maybe tweak some other areas to pull or push the design for better pop on the shirt. You’ll need to add the car clubs logo and maybe a phrase or something.

This could be separated as a simulated process job for about five or six screens, and I’d print it with decent tensioned 230 mesh screens.

All in, that is probably twenty or thirty minutes of work. As opposed to several hours of work the old way.

The Future of Work Uses AI

Not too far around the corner, this industry will have websites where that car club customer can pick a few guided prompt words and enter them. In a few moments, the AI will return some images, and they can choose one to use as the basis for their design. Add their logo, type in a phrase or two, and hit submit. The customer will type in their quantities, contact information, and payment.

With automagical-technology enabled, that car club design is zapped into the print queue. Shirts are loaded and printed. The order ships.

This could happen the same day.

Midjourney Example: Hamburger

In a Facebook group, someone was showing some struggles they were having with an order for a local hamburger joint. Hmmm. That looked like an opportunity to see how I could use Midjourney to create a great-looking hamburger for the basis of the art.

I entered these words for the prompts, “hamburger, isolated, white background, delicious.” I received a few that I didn’t like, but after rerolling the prompt choice a few times, I found one suitable enough. I saved it, brought it into a graphic program, and added some type. Here’s the design after about ten minutes of work:

Why wouldn’t any modern art department in this business be using Midjourney as the catalyst for their creativity? In ten minutes, you are onto the next job on your list.

The Midjourney Elevating Print Creativity Newsletter

I believe that Midjourney will make a gigantic impact on the print industry. It is simply too good of a tool.

I’ve been monkeying around with it for months. It can be tricky to get what you want out of it. As I’m an artist and can visualize what I want with an image, getting Midjourney to return what I’m focused on can sometimes be a struggle.

This tool will open up the ability to create images faster and of a higher quality than some people could build without it.

And, I have to tell you, it is highly addicting.

Launching May 29th

To that end, I’ve decided to launch a weekly newsletter that focuses on how to get better images with Midjourney and also how to use them in print applications. This will be a community-based newsletter, with people sharing their stories of success, struggles, and everything in between.

For $12 a month, you can subscribe to the Midjourney Elevating Print Creativity Newsletter. The first issue will drop on Monday, May 29, 2023.

Click here to subscribe.

If you are going to be using this tool, I hope that you will jump into this new creative community and share what you are working on!

“A good plan violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” – George S. Patton

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it.” – Amelia Earhart

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Help Support This Blog

While I may be goofing around with AI for some projects, this blog and its contents have been created by me, Marshall Atkinson. For this particular article, I did use Midjourney for the cover image and the example images for the article.

Why am I writing this? To remind you, dear reader, these words are backed by a real person. With experience, flaws, successes, and failures… That’s where growth and learning happen. By putting in the work.

If you are reading this and it is not on my website, it has been stolen without my permission by some autobot. Please report this to me and/or publicly out the website that hijacked it. And if you are trying to copy and use it without my permission, you are stealing. Didn’t your mama teach you better?

If you like this blog and would like to support it, you can:

  1. Buy a book.
  2. Share this blog on your social media.
  3. Join Shirt Lab Tribe.
  4. Subscribe to the Success Stories podcast.
  5. Watch and like an episode on the Jerzees Adventures in Apparel Decorating YouTube series.
  6. Get signed up for the new Production Tracker app.
  7. Subscribe to the Midjourney Elevating Print Creativity Newsletter

Also, my basic elevator pitch to you is that I help with “Clarifying effective change.” If you are dissatisfied with your business’s current results, maybe I can help.

Please schedule a discovery call here if you want to learn more.



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