TikTok has rolled a new in-app text-to-image AI generator that lets users type in a prompt and receive an image that can be used as the background in their videos. The effect is called “AI greenscreen” and can be accessed via the short-form video app’s camera screen. The new effect was first spotted by The Verge.
The launch of the new filter comes as text-to-image AI generators are becoming increasingly popular, especially with the launch of OpenAI’s DALL-E 2. It’s worth noting that the images that TikTok’s AI generator produces are quite basic when compared to the output from notable text-to-image models, including DALL-E 2 and Google’s Imagen. TikTok’s model produces abstract imagery, whereas DALL-E 2 and Imagen are able to create photorealistic imagery.
It’s possible that TikTok may have intentionally limited its model in order to ensure that the content it creates adheres to the app’s community guidelines, including those around nudity and violent imagery. If TikTok’s model was as complex and photorealistic as DALL-E 2 or Imagen, it would surely be used by some users to create disturbing content. TikTok may have opted for an abstract model to avoid such issues.
TikTok has a number of suggested prompts that appear when you select the effect, including “Snorkeling in a purple ocean,” “Hidden village in the mountains,” and “Erupting rainbow volcano.” These prompts visualize TikTok’s focus on abstract imagery for its text-to-image AI generator. You can play around with your own prompts to get similar abstract imagery.
However, if your prompt includes nudity or violent wording, you’ll see that the model will output abstract imagery with appropriate colors and themes, but nothing clear enough to warrant censorship due to the app’s community guidelines.
As of now, the filter is being used for a few TikTok trends, including one where you enter your name into the generator to see what your “aesthetic” looks like. Another trend sees users entering their birthday into the generator. And of course, some users are unsuccessfully looking to see if the generator will recreate specific body parts.
Since the new filter puts a text-to-image AI generator in the hands of millions of users, it’s not exactly surprising that it has limitations. The company seems to be positioning it as a fun way to create backgrounds for your TikToks, as it could be a useful tool for creators. Given that DALL-E 2 and Imagen aren’t widely available yet, TikTok’s new effect offers an alternative for users who are looking to have a little fun with text-to-image AI generators.