AI Image Generators: Standalone app for Macs with ARM processors

AI Image Generators: Standalone app for Macs with ARM processors

AI-based image generators are fascinating: From a simple “prompt” that puts into words what is to be displayed, they create artificial photos and even paintings. There are now a number of different algorithms that can do this. The technology is sometimes so good that it wins art prizes. However, access is currently limited. Some systems are only for developers, but most must be used per website. Mac owners can now try out one of the image generators, Stable Diffusion (SD), directly on their computer – without going to the terminal to install it, but as a self-contained app.

The program takes advantage of the fact that SD is an open source project and is available for free. The app goes by the name of DiffusionBee. Developer Divam Gupta, who works full-time at Meta, previously published the one-click ML tool DiffusionBee only runs on ARM Macs and is optimized for M1 and M2 machines according to Gupta. The installation after the download is easy: when the program is started, two pre-configured models are downloaded first. These take up a few gigabytes on the SSD, so you should have left some space.

The app then starts immediately after a short initialization. It is used by entering a prompt in a text field. This should be in English and can also be “crazy”, such as our dog above in the form of a giraffe. The description can also be detailed, for example you can describe the background or the genre of the picture (“comic”, “photorealistic”, “oil painting”). The creation process then runs, which can take between 30 seconds and around a minute; fine adjustments are also possible, which may speed up or slow down the process.

The maximum image resolution is 768 x 768 pixels and is therefore lower than the popular Midjourney, which is available via Discord. For experiments, it is also best to leave it at the preset 512 by 512 pixels, as this still keeps the creation time within limits. The generation steps (steps) and the so-called guidance scale can also be increased. Both have an impact on the end product, but take longer to generate an image.

DiffusionBee also eats up a lot of RAM – a fundamental characteristic of AI generators. You should have at least 16 GB in the Mac, but more main memory is definitely advisable. Developer Gupta recommends closing other applications during the build process, which can speed up DiffusionBee because more RAM is then available.

[Update 15.09.22 19:55 Uhr:] With CHARL-E, another SD-based image generator is available for the Mac. The app offers more setting options than DiffusionBee, but this also makes it a bit more complex. Here, too, the entire necessary software package has been packed into one app.

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