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Making Thumbnails with AI: Complete Guide

April 2, 2023


As artificial intelligence (AI) continues to revolutionize various aspects of content creation, making thumbnails with AI is becoming an increasingly viable option for marketers and business owners. Two popular AI tools, DALL-E 3 and Midjourney, have shown great potential in generating eye-catching YouTube thumbnails. In this article, we will explore their capabilities in-depth, discuss the best practices for creating thumbnails using AI, and provide examples of how these tools can be used effectively.

AI Image Generators: DALL-E 3 and Midjourney

Making Thumbnails With AI

Making Thumbnails with DALL-E 3 AI

Created by OpenAI, the same team behind the popular AI model ChatGPT, DALL-E 3 is an AI image generator that produces unique images based on text prompts. While it can generate interesting images, it struggles with some key aspects of creating usable YouTube thumbnails, such as:

  • Generating realistic human faces
  • Creating readable text
  • Adhering to the optimal aspect ratio for YouTube thumbnails (16:9)

Realistic Human Faces

AI-generated human faces often look unrealistic or distorted, which can be off-putting for viewers. For example, when given the prompt "a person with a shocked expression on their face," DALL-E 3 might generate an image where the facial features are misaligned or the expression doesn't accurately convey shock.

Readable Text

DALL-E 3 also struggles with generating readable text within thumbnails, which is crucial for conveying the video's topic and attracting viewers. Text might appear distorted, incoherent, or even entirely absent when using AI-generated images.

Aspect Ratio

The aspect ratio of YouTube thumbnails is 16:9, and any deviation from this standard can result in poor presentation or cropping issues. Unfortunately, DALL-E 3 has difficulty generating images that adhere to this aspect ratio, leading to thumbnails that may not display correctly on YouTube.

Making Thumbnails with Midjourney AI

A more advanced AI image generator, Midjourney offers significant improvements in design accuracy and facial details. By adjusting the aspect ratio to 3x2, creators can get closer to usable YouTube thumbnails. However, including an image of the creator in the thumbnail can result in less desirable images.

Tips for Making Thumbnails with AI

Making Thumbnails With AI
  1. Use ChatGPT for ideation: ChatGPT can help generate strong thumbnail ideas, which can then be modified and used as prompts for AI image generators. Know about what is Chatgpt and make use of it smartly. 

For example, when creating a thumbnail for a video about "10 surprising facts about cats," you can ask ChatGPT for thumbnail ideas. It might suggest "a cat with an amazed expression looking at a list of facts" or "a collage of different cat breeds with a title overlay."

  1. Be clear and specific with prompts: To get the best results, provide detailed descriptions of what you want in your thumbnail when using AI image generators.

Instead of a vague prompt like "a person with a surprised expression," try something more specific, such as "a woman with blue eyes and brown hair, wearing a red shirt, showing a shocked expression while holding a smartphone."

  1. Experiment with different AI tools: Try different AI tools like DALL-E 3 and Midjourney to see which one produces better results for your specific needs.

For instance, if you're creating a thumbnail for a tech review video, test both DALL-E 3 and Midjourney with a prompt like "a person holding the latest smartphone model with a futuristic background." Compare the results to determine which tool generates more appealing images.

  1. Combine AI-generated elements with photo-editing software: Use programs like Adobe Photoshop or GIMP to combine AI-generated elements and fine-tune the final thumbnail.

For example, you can use AI to generate a background, a character, or an object, and then use photo-editing software to:

  • Add readable text
  • Adjust the aspect ratio to 16:9
  • Correct any visual imperfections

Examples of AI-Generated Thumbnails

Let's explore three examples of using AI to generate thumbnails for different video topics:

  1. Filling a pool with plastic balls: For this video idea, you can ask ChatGPT for thumbnail suggestions, such as "a before-and-after comparison of an empty pool and one filled with plastic balls" or "someone jumping into a pool filled with plastic balls." Using Midjourney, you can generate images for both prompts, and then refine them in Photoshop to create an appealing thumbnail.
  2. McDonald's food challenge: To create a thumbnail for this topic, you can use ChatGPT to generate an idea like "a person holding a tray filled with McDonald's food items." Although Midjourney might struggle to generate a perfect image, combining its output with Photoshop adjustments can result in a more polished thumbnail.
  3. Fortnite fashion show: For this video, you can ask ChatGPT for a thumbnail idea such as "three Fortnite characters dressed in colorful, fashionable outfits, striking poses on a runway." After generating an image with Midjourney, you can make adjustments to create a winning thumbnail.

Making Thumbnails with AI: Complete Guide

Mastering the Art of Making Thumbnails with AI

While AI-generated YouTube thumbnails using tools like DALL-E 3 and Midjourney show potential, the technology is not yet advanced enough to replace human-made thumbnails entirely. However, AI can aid in the ideation process and serve as a starting point for those who need inspiration or assistance with their thumbnails. Not just thumbnails, you can use AI for YouTube scripts to make your videos interactive, and fast selling. 

As AI technology continues to evolve, we can expect even better results in the future. For now, combining AI-generated elements with photo-editing software can help you create eye-catching thumbnails that attract viewers and grow your channel.

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