5 tips for getting the most out of MidJourney

Midjourney logo on phone
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Midjourney is one of the most impressive artificial intelligence image generators on the market, but it can be difficult to tap into its full potential.

Unlike other tools that rely primarily on natural language or menu bar settings to steer the AI generated creation, Midjourney uses parameters.

When the tool moves fully out of Discord it is likely these parameters will be hidden behind menu options, but for now knowing which letters to put after — can make all the difference.

Making the most of Midjourney parameters

You can use the parameter options to control everything from the aspect ratio to the version of the Midjourney model you use to create your artwork. I’ve pulled together a few of the more useful with a brief guide to using them.

One thing to note if you are on a Mac — Apple’s operating system will often convert a double dash (--) into an em-dash (—) but it isn’t an issue as Midjourney supports both.

1. Setting the aspect ratio


(Image credit: Midjourney/Future AI image)

There are two ways to change the aspect ratio using parameters --aspect or --ar and you can more or less use any ratio as long as they are whole numbers. It defaults to a square image, or 1:1 and if you want it widescreen you'd use 16:9 or 9:16 for a smartphone-style portrait view.

You can change the aspect ratio of an image using the custom zoom option. You can add a different aspect ratio using the --ar parameter in the pop-up box.

2. Character reference

MidJourney image

(Image credit: MidJourney image)

One of the most difficult, but important things to get right in AI image creation is consistent characters. Particularly if you want to use the images in video production. Midjourney does this using the --cref parameter. 

It works best when you use an image generated by Midjourney as the source material, especially if that image only has one single character. Just copy the upscaled image URL and paste it into a new prompt after the --cref parameter. So --cref <url>.

3. Let chaos reign

Midjourney images of cats on the moon with a high chaos value

Midjourney images of cats on the moon with a high chaos value (Image credit: Midjourney/Future AI image)

While Chaos might sound like something extreme, the reality is it just adjusts how much variety is put into the generated image. You use it with --chaos or --c and it influences the variations across the four images generated. It runs from 0-100.

A high chaos value will give four varied and unexpected results, a lower value will create more reliable and repeatable results. If you don't specify a chaos value it will create four images that are very similar such as four near identical shells on four near identical backgrounds. A high chaos value will create four very different images.

4. Being negative

Midjourney generated images of a road with --no cars

Midjourney generated images of a road with --no cars  (Image credit: Midjourney/Future AI image)

Negative prompting can be hit and miss but Midjourney allows you to specify terms you don’t want to appear in the final generated image. This is accessed using the --no parameter.

For example, if you want to create a picture of a garden that is just a lawn then you might use --no plants, or if you want an empty street adding --no cars could help.

5. Setting some style

Midjourney image of child's drawing (default style left, 800 style right)

Midjourney image of child's drawing (default style left, 800 style right) (Image credit: Midjourney/Future AI image)

Stylize allows you to create images not tied to the default styles for Midjourney which tends to favor artistic color, composition and forms — for example it could be used to create a child's drawing without any flare. It is accessed with --stylize <number> or --s <number>.

If you keep the stylize value low it will more closely match the prompt but be less artistic. Having a very high stylize figure will create a more artistic image but less closely linked to the prompt. The default is 100 but runs from 0 to 1000.

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?