NightCafe Studio is on a mission to “democratise art creation.” Founded out of creator Angus Russell’s Inner-West Sydney bedroom late in 2019, this generative AI tool had already served up over 35 million AI-generated artworks by October 2022.

So what makes NightCafe Studio unique, and how can you make the most of this much-loved AI image creator?

For starters, Angus and his wife Elle (now the company’s COO) are passionate about ensuring artists of all interests and skill levels can experience “the satisfaction, the therapy, the rush of creating incredible, unique art.”

NightCafe also has some fun social elements that other generative AI platforms lack, and you can even earn credits to create more images by engaging in the community.

In this guide, we’ll explore the features, community, and technologies that make NightCafe Studio an AI art platform of choice. You’ll find pros and cons, a guide to getting started, feature-specific tips and tricks, and some extra info about selling your NightCafe artworks as NFTs or evolving from the works created by others.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning we get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through links on this site, at no cost to you.

Let’s get to it!

What is NightCafe Studio?

NightCafe Studio is a generative AI platform that enables users to create works of art using various technologies including Stable Diffusion, DALL-E 2, CLIP-Guided Diffusion, VQGAN+CLIP, and Neural Style Transfer. The name ‘NightCafe’ pays homage to one of the creative duo Angus and Elle Russell’s favorite artists, Vincent Van Gogh.

NightCafe also offers a searchable public AI art gallery where users can share their works and like/comment on one another’s creations.

A selection of AI images from the NightCafe library.

NightCafe Studio Pros & Cons

There’s a lot to love about this platform:

Realistic 3D Models: NightCafe Studio specializes in creating high-quality, realistic 3D models of humans, which is an area where many other generative AI tools fall down. The platform uses advanced AI algorithms to generate human models that look natural and are anatomically correct.

Diversity and Inclusivity: It’s good to see an AI tool committed to promoting diversity and inclusivity in its generated models. NightCafe offers a range of customization options that cater to different ethnicities, body types, and gender identities, making it possible for users to create models representative of different communities and populations.

Easy to Use: NightCafe Studio is designed to be user-friendly and accessible to people without technical expertise in 3D modeling. The platform offers a simple and intuitive interface that allows users to create and customize their models easily. It also provides a range of tutorials and resources to help users get started and make the most of the platform.

Copyright Assignment: The platform assigns copyright to the user, so you own the rights to works you create on NightCafe Studio. (Whether or not that copyright is recognized and protected by the courts and other legislative bodies in your country is another matter altogether.)

Versatility: NightCafe Studio’s 3D models can be used in various applications, from gaming and animation to virtual try-on and e-commerce. The platform offers various export formats, including FBX, GLTF, and USDZ, making integrating the models into different workflows and platforms easy.

Powerful Image Controls: More on that further into this article.

Overall, NightCafe has a lot of great features. However, it also has some limitations users must be aware of.

Recommended reading: An Illustrated Guide to AI Prompt Mastery: for MidJourney, DALL-E, NightCafe, Deep Dream Generator, and More

NightCafe Studio Cons & Limitations

Pricing: NightCafe Studio’s subscription plans are a bit convoluted, as image creation is based on a credit system. You can subscribe to receive credits monthly or buy Credit Packs. See their pricing page for the most current rates and options.

Not Suitable for Real-Time Applications: While NightCafe Studio’s 3D models are highly realistic and detailed, they may not be suitable for real-time applications such as video games or augmented reality experiences. The high level of detail in the models can be resource-intensive, which may cause performance issues in real-time applications.

Image Resolution: NightCafe Studio doesn’t offer any paid subscription tier that unlocks higher resolutions than the ones displayed in the options. However, once your creation is finished, you can use the “Enhance” feature to upscale your model to a higher resolution (up to 8000 x 8000px).

Getting Started in NightCafe Studio

Setting up a new account was as easy as inputting my email address. NightCafe AI gives you an introductory tour to help you get started, and shows you the following areas of the interface:

1. Create: Where you set your prompt and choose the settings for your creations.

2. History: You can browse your latest creations, click one to open it, then duplicate, evolve, publish, share, or do whatever you like with it.

3. Chat: Which says, “Creating is more fun with friends. Start a chat, or join one that someone shared with you, then have fun creating together.”

4. Primary Panel: Your creations will show up here, but it can also be used for choosing images, editing advanced settings, and more.

5. Preferences: To switch between dark or light mode, go back to the old interface, or to re-take the introductory tour, just open up the preferences tab.

Getting started was simple, and if you aren’t quite sure what you want to do and want to see what NightCafe Studio can do, you can use the random prompt that prepopulates the Create textbox, as I did:

Getting started in NightCafe Studio with a random prompt.

As you can see, we’re immediately offered a choice of algorithms and models in the left-hand sidebar. Clicking the [ALGORITHM] menu opened new options in the center window: Stable, DALL·E 2, and three options that work with the old NightCafe interface only: Coherent, Artistic, and Style Transfer.

Choosing an algorithm in NightCafe Studio.

Switching to DALL·E 2 gave me an entirely different output. Before you hit Create, you can also choose how many variations you want (with additional variations costing more credits):

DALL·E 2 images created using a random prompt in NightCafe's AI image generator.

You can use Presets that say they work best with Stable and SDXL, too:

Fine-Tuning Your AI Images in NightCafe Studio

The above options alone can produce a fairly decent output, and you can improve that initial image quality by working on your prompts.

Turning on Advanced Mode unlocks features like the Advanced Prompt Editor, which lets you use Presets or add suggested modifiers to your prompt:

Advanced Mode also lets you adjust:

  • Output resolution
  • Runtime
  • Aspect Ratio
  • Overall Prompt Weight (how closely the image should match the prompt)
  • Seed – and you’ll want to read the tool tip provided at this option in the dashboard, as it’s pretty complex.
  • Activating CLIP Guidance, which can help to improve image results for complex prompts or larger resolutions and also make images look more realistic.
  • Setting the Sampling Method

Evolve Another Creator’s Image

NightCafe lets you riff off other artists by “evolving” their work, or beginning with stock or other images of your own and evolving those.

You’ll see the Evolve icon on works around the site, and in your dashboard. It’s the hourglass-like icon.

Evolve from the NightCafe Creator Studio.

When you choose to Evolve an image, it opens in your creator’s dashboard with a notice in the sidebar that explains: “You’re evolving a creation. The previous creation will be used as the start image, and you can tweak whatever settings you like.”

The system will apply the same algorithm, model, style preset, and text prompt as the original image. You can begin editing from there and Create your new version.

A screenshot from the NightCafe Studio generative AI image dashboard.

Now, you can’t use Evolved images in daily challenges, which we’ll discuss next.

Joining NightCafe Challenges

One way to get social and be part of the NightCafe community is to participate in a challenge by entering or voting.

Challenges are held daily, each with a unique theme and 24-hour voting period. Winners share in the pool of prize credits for that day’s competition.

The winner of a recent daily challenge in NightCafe.

Entries are kept anonymous during the voting period, so users cannot see creators’ existing ratings or usernames.

NightCafe displays the entries to voters so that each gets about the same volume of votes, and average ratings determine the winners.

Challenges are a popular feature on the site, with several recent daily competitions (at the time of writing) receiving over 4,000 entries. Learn more about Challenges and see the complete rules here.

NightCafe Tips & Tricks

The dashboard shares tips to help you make better use of its features, but they’re difficult to locate, so I’ve compiled them here:

  • In advanced mode, you can “pin” your most commonly used settings to the create panel for easy access. Open “More Settings” then click the pin next to the settings you play with the most.
  • Using the same seed is a way to (usually) get the same result if the rest of your settings are the same. A different seed will give an entirely different result.
  • In advanced mode, you have access to a lot more control over the generation settings. Turn it on at the top of the “Create” panel.
  • You can save your favorite modifiers and entire prompts in the advanced prompt editor (in advanced mode) by clicking “Save” at the top of the prompt field to save it to the “My Favorites” tab of the prompt editor.
  • Some algorithms are better at producing high-resolution images than others. DALL-E can natively generate at 1024x1024px for fewer credits than Stable.

Selling Your AI Art as NFTs

NightCafe doesn’t offer integrated payment processing or NFT minting, so you cannot sell directly from the platform. However, they make it easy to display a link to another platform, such as OpenSea, Etsy, or RedBubble, where viewers can purchase your art.

Recommended reading: NFTs For Dummies

If you intend to sell any images created in this or any other generative AI platform, make sure you understand the licensing of any inputs provided by you or the platform. Don’t assume it’s royalty-free if you found it in the tool’s library.

NightCafe states, “We do our best to ensure that only public domain and royalty-free images appear in the preset styles and free images tabs of the image picker, but we don’t guarantee that these images are free of copyright limitations, and it’s up to you to double-check.”

Conclusion

NightCafe Studio is a powerful AI image generator with many great features, better-than-average 3D modeling abilities for drawing humans, and a vibrant built-in community.

It offers the flexibility of several text-to-image generative algorithms including Stable and DALL-E 2.

And it has features to help users get discovered, promote their works, and even link to places viewers can buy their artworks or NFTs online.

As far as AI image generators go, NightCafe is definitely worth checking out.

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