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Last update on January 25, 2023

Shutterstock Launches Legally-Backed AI Image Generator Powered by OpenAI

4 min read
Shutterstock Generate AI Secrets
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Today the stock media licensing giant Shutterstock launched the new Shutterstock Generate, their own text-to-image AI generator built in collaboration with OpenAI. 

This tool leverages the Dall-E model and Shutterstock’s robust stock image library to produce accurate, responsible synthetic images from text prompts in a user-friendly format. 

Shutterstock Generate is available for all on Shutterstock’s website, worldwide, and in all the languages the platform supports.

And read on for more details. 

Shutterstock and Dall-E Join Forces for Responsible AI-Generated Images

The partnership between OpenAI and Shutterstock was announced at the end of 2022, and the promise of an upcoming Shutterstock-native AI generative app based on Dall-E was disclosed back then. 

The two firms teamed up to bring Dall-E’s text-to-image generative model onto Shutterstock’s creative platform but training it solely with Shutterstock images. 

The goal was to provide users with an AI image generator that can produce accurate, inclusive, and legally-backed synthetic media. A very valuable product in current times, with prestigious licensing companies suing AI developers for copyright infringement related to using their licensable images in AI training datasets. 

By using only Shutterstock content for training, Shutterstock Generate offers much more responsible and ethical results than other similar applications, including Dall-E itself. 

You can get more details on this new product here!

shutterstock generate home

A User-Friendly and Legally Safe AI Image Generator For Everyone

Ease of use is at the core of Shutterstock Generate’s offer. Its functionality is similar to other text-to-image tools: you enter a text prompt, hit the “Generate” button, and the system produces four images according to that instruction. 

However, this one delivers results from prompts containing just keywords or even just one word. The principle of “the more detailed the prompt, the better the image results” still stands, of course, and the company even includes a basic guideline to text prompt writing. But it is not necessary to master the new art of text prompt writing to get something done with Generate, and that’s refreshing for non-design savvy users. 

shutterstock generate prompt samples
Examples of images created with Shutterstock Generate

Another highlight is that here you legally license AI-generated pictures: you can choose how many of the synthesized images you want to download, and you get a Shutterstock license issued with each download, just like you would with a regular stock photo from their catalog –but different usage terms and rights apply–. 

This also means that Shutterstock’s AI-generated content is paid: one AI image equals one image download that you can acquire with any of their available subscriptions and image packs (in the case of multimedia Flex plans, one AI image equals one credit).

However, there is a Shutterstock Free Trial available with 10 free image downloads for one month, which you can use to get up to 10 free AI-generated images. 

Shutterstock wishes to operate as a one-stop shop for creatives, and this new app is framed toward this goal. For one, the tool being trained with Shutterstock’s 425-million-images depository means that it can deliver varied, diverse, and authentic-looking imagery. Plus, they add small but useful extras like style filters you can apply to your AI-generated photos before downloading them –like “photo,” “art,” or “3D,” for example– and you can even plug them into Shutterstock Create editing tool or other apps from Creative Flow (included for free with any Shutterstock subscription) to manage your entire creative process in one place. 

The First AI Image Generator that Pays Artists for their Work

What is likely the most innovative twist in Shutterstock’s AI tool is that it integrates a Contributor Fund. This reward system pays royalty rates to Shutterstock contributors when their original work is used by the AI generative model to create new pictures. 

Many companies and developers are actively working on ethical ways to train and operate AI generative models respecting artists’ copyright and livelihood. OpenAI itself has just extended its collaboration with Microsoft in the pursuit of that and other goals.

Still, Shutterstock Generate is the first to tackle it in this way. 

A collab between two prominent and tech-forward companies like these was already interesting, and the new app they just launched is certainly an exciting one to try!


Ivanna Attie

All About Ivanna

I am an experienced author with expertise in digital communication, stock media, design, and creative tools. I have closely followed and reported on AI developments in this field since its early days. I have gained valuable industry insight through my work with leading digital media professionals since 2014.

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AI Insights from Experts

AI Secrets is a platform for tech decision-makers to learn about AI technology. Our team includes experts such as Amos Struck (20+ yrs ICT, Stock Photo, AI), Ivanna Attie (expert in digital comms, design, stock media), and more who share their views on AI.

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