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How to edit images with ChatGPT

ChatGPT is constantly improving and its latest multi-modality update gives it a number of exciting features when it comes to images. It can draw, and it can edit pictures you give it — or you can have it make something and then edit that — and you can do it through words alone, or with extra materials and specifications to help it make the changes you want.

Here's how to use ChatGPT to edit images.




30 minutes

What You Need

  • ChatGPT account

  • ChatGPT Plus subscription (optional)

How to edit images in ChatGPT

To edit images in ChatGPT, you need to be able to use a GPT model that can do it. Although OpenAI's new GPT-4o model is rolling out to free users the world over, it doesn't have the full image-editing capabilities at the time of writing. With that in mind, you'll probably need a ChatGPT Plus subscription to edit images with ChatGPT for now. That will change in the future, though, as ChatGPT becomes a multi-modal AI chatbot that everyone can use.

For more information on what ChatGPT Plus is, and how to sign up, check out our guide to ChatGPT subscriptions.

Step 1: Navigate to the ChatGPT website and sign in.

Step 2: Ask ChatGPT to draw something for you, upload an image using the paper clip attachment tool, or give ChatGPT a link to an image.

Step 3: If you've uploaded or linked an image, give ChatGPT a prompt for what changes you want it to make. Be specific, give it art style suggestions, or tell it to focus on a certain part of the image.

If you've asked ChatGPT to create something for you, you can be a little more specific. Select the image, and then you can use the selection tool in the top right to select certain portions of the image to edit. Select the tool and then click and drag around like a paint brush to fill in the areas you want to select for editing.

Once done, add your prompt in the text field and tell ChatGPT what you want it to change or add.

Editing an image with ChatGPT.
Jon Martindale / Digital Trends

Step 4: Be aware that prompt editing is still far from an exact science, and arguably feels like it's more akin to the "art" that it's aping. Your results will vary dramatically on the text you prompt the AI with and your selection, as well as the AI model you're using — GPT-4 is quite distinct from GPT-4o, for example.

Play around with the editing by selecting different parts of the image, changing your prompt text, or add more supplemental materials that can better inform the AI what you're looking for.

Editing images with ChatGPT.
Digital Trends

How good is image editing in ChatGPT?

The true answer here is "not bad." When it works, it works brilliantly well, and you can use its selection tool to fine-tune text in an image, or to remove something from the background that shouldn't have been there. It's about as effective and accurate as Photoshop's generative AI functions.

However, when it doesn't work, it can sometimes do the opposite of what you want, or nothing at all. Quite a few times during testing this feature for this guide, ChatGPT confidently told me it had added what I'd asked, and it had just recreated the image wholesale without any alterations. If I pointed that out, it would sometimes just generate a new version of the image from the original prompt.

That is to say, ChatGPT is not an effective replacement for Photoshop (or its alternatives) if you know what you're doing. If you want to edit an image in more fundamental ways, though, like changing its art style, it's much more effective.

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Jon Martindale
Jon Martindale is the Evergreen Coordinator for Computing, overseeing a team of writers addressing all the latest how to…
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