If you’re going old school this year and are sending Christmas cards to your family and friends, why not add a modern twist and create a unique card cover using an AI image generator?
If this is something for you, you could go a step further and generate a cover tailored to each person, perhaps one that’s inspired by a fun memory you shared during the last months.
Alternatively, you can create something generic that’s suitable for your whole mailing list and then dedicate the time you saved to flesh out a couple of thoughtful lines for the messages.
Sometimes you’re simply stuck staring at the same standard offering of Christmas cards at your local store with none of them resonating with you. An AI image generator solves the problem by acting as your personal artist to create a Christmas card that ticks all the boxes.
Setting the challenge
There’s now a host of services offering AI image generation. Some require an upfront payment while others are free although they still produce excellent results.
The premise is usually the same, in that you type a prompt describing exactly what you want your image to look like and the AI will take it from there.
We decided to give 5 AI image generators a shot at creating the ultimate Christmas card cover to see which one delivers the best results.
We gave each the same prompt, asking them to generate a scene with a panda dressed as Santa Claus surrounded by baby pandas (we hope you like pandas) dressed as elves hard at work in the North Pole.
Introducing the competitors
Stable Diffusion (SDXL)
First up was Stable Diffusion XL, the AI image generator by Stability AI. It understood the assignment and generated a panda scene that looked Christmassy enough.
I’m mostly concerned about the sharp set of teeth the baby panda at the top left received, but if you’re not too fussy, the image is ready to go.
Once again there seems the be an issue with the top left baby panda…or blob wearing a Santa hat in Meta Imagine’s case. The colours, shadows, and lighting create a nice atmosphere but it stil feels like the end product is not cover material.
OpenAI's DALL-E 3
The Christmas pandas generated by DALL-E 3 came out looking prim and proper. The scene the AI placed them in seems appropriately wintery but if you take a closer look at what I’m assuming were meant to be reindeer, you’ll see that they’re too scattered.
They also look like dachshunds with wings. However, I have to give it credit for being the only image generator that assigned each panda the correct costume.
I’m not sure how I feel about the Christmas card cover by Midjourney. It gives off a nostalgic feeling of a cosy Christmas in the past. But that feeling is whisked away when I focus on the baby pandas which fail to reach my cuteness standards.
Finally, it was time for Adobe’s AI image generator Firefly to show us its Christmas magic. Cute pandas? Check. Christmas spirit? Check. Rogue mini Christmas tree hovering in the air? Also, check.
Now for the results
If I had to refrain from generating new images or tweaking the ones I’ve got I think my personal favourite would be the card cover created by Adobe Firefly. The odd features it created seem to blend in and it's drawn in a cheerful Christmassy style.
Creating a custom Christmas card cover seems like a fun activity to try out this year. With a creative prompt and a sprinkle of luck, your unique creation may find itself prominently displayed on the mantlepiece of the lucky recipient.
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Christoph Schwaiger is a journalist who mainly covers technology, science, and current affairs. His stories have appeared in Tom's Guide, New Scientist, Live Science, and other established publications. Always up for joining a good discussion, Christoph enjoys speaking at events or to other journalists and has appeared on LBC and Times Radio among other outlets. He believes in giving back to the community and has served on different consultative councils. He was also a National President for Junior Chamber International (JCI), a global organization founded in the USA. You can follow him on Twitter @cschwaigermt.