Midjourney Expands with Niji Journey Mobile App

Midjourney, a bootstrapped startup, has gained significant popularity with its text-to-image AI generator. Since its beta launch in the summer of 2022, Midjourney has built a thriving community of users on its official server within the messaging app Discord, with over 16 million users at the time of this article’s publication.

Midjourney’s primary platform for user interaction has been Discord, where users simply type in text prompts to the Midjourney Bot to generate images. However, the company has now expanded to offer its own mobile app called Niji Journey, developed in partnership with Japanese game company Sizigi Studios. The app is focused on providing images using Midjourney’s anime art style setting, known as “Niji,” and is designed for the Japanese market. Niji Journey is available for free download on the Google Play and Apple App Stores, but still requires a paid subscription through Midjourney to use.

David Holz, the founder of Midjourney and a former co-founder of Leap Motion and NASA researcher, explained that the decision to create a mobile app was driven by the Japanese market’s preference for mobile apps over desktop software. Holz also acknowledged that the Midjourney Discord Bot was not deemed as user-friendly by Japanese users. The Niji Journey app allows users to access all art styles available through the AI generator, including non-Niji images, by selecting “v5” in the app’s settings.

The Niji Journey app is intentionally more information-dense and “busy” in its user interface compared to conventional Western app design, as the Japanese market values granular controls. Holz invited existing Midjourney users to try out Niji Journey and provide feedback. While a standalone app is planned for the future, there is currently no timeline for its release. Holz acknowledged that the economics of mobile apps do not typically support services as expensive as Midjourney, but the team is considering how to create a user-friendly onboarding experience if they decide to launch a standalone app.

During a recent talk, Holz revealed that Midjourney has two major new features in the works. The first is a native upscaler that will increase the resolution of generated images to 4000 by 4000 pixels. The second feature is a personalized style setting that will allow users to create their own style to apply to all image generations, similar to the custom instructions in OpenAI’s ChatGPT. These features are still experimental but will be released soon.

Additionally, Midjourney plans to upgrade its website in two phases to provide more features for viewing and sharing generated images on social platforms. While Midjourney has gained a substantial following due to its high-quality image generation, it now faces competition from alternatives like OpenAI’s DALL-E and Adobe’s Firefly Image 2. It remains to be seen if Midjourney’s iterative approach to product releases will allow it to maintain its user base, amidst well-funded and more user-friendly competition.

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