Gab Help Guides

AI - Anatomy of an Image Prompt

Last updated: Jan 4, 2024 5:57 PM

Anatomy of a good prompt

Good prompts are specific and somewhat details to produce an image that you like.  Sometimes, Gabby surprises us with new and different concepts.  Don't be afraid to experiment by exchanging words in your prompt to produce a different result. 
Add more detail or remove keywords from an overly detailed prompt.

I always start with a simple prompt with subject, medium, and style only.  Add at most two keywords at a time. Likewise, generate at least 4 images to assess its effect.  Remember AI image generation is a statistical rendition of your keyword text prompt.

The order of your prompt will make a difference, too.  Generally, place your keywords in this order:
Quick reference charts:

  • Subject The subject is what you want to see in the image. A common mistake is not writing enough about the subjects.  
    Okay, you want a landscape, but what season?  is it a hillside or or seashore?   
  • Medium - the material used to make artwork. Some examples are illustration, oil painting, 3D rendering, and photography. Medium has a strong effect because one keyword alone can dramatically change the style.
  • Style  style refers to the artistic style of the image. Examples include impressionist, surrealist, pop art, etc.  Add hyperrealistic, fantasy, dark art to the prompt.
  • Website - Niche graphic websites such as Artstation and Deviant Art aggregate many images of distinct genres
  • Resolution - how sharp and detailed the image is. Let’s add keywords highly detailed and sharp focus.
  • Additional details - modify an image. We will add sci-fi and dystopian to add some vibe to the image.
  • Color - overall color of the image by adding color keywords. The colors you specified may appear as a tone or in objects.  Add some golden color to the image with the keyword iridescent gold.
  • Lighting - lighting is key to creating successful images. Lighting keywords can have a huge effect on how the image looks. Let’s add studio lighting to the make it studio photo like.
Anatomy of a Prompt
Prompting is a lot more like cooking

Crafting a prompt for AI is akin to the artistry a chef displays in the kitchen. Just as every dish is a symphony of carefully chosen ingredients, meticulously followed recipes, and the nuanced calibration of temperature and timing, crafting an AI prompt follows a similar rhythm. In the AI world, our ingredients are the Prompt Elements—those foundational words and phrases that set the tone. The recipe becomes the Prompt Structure, a roadmap that steers the AI's thought process, ensuring it captures the essence of our vision. And the subtle art of temperature and timing? That translates to Prompt Parameters in AI, allowing us to fine-tune the image output, making sure it's just right.


[1] Subject, [2] Detailed Imagery, [3] Environment Description, [4] Mood/Atmosphere Description, [5] Style, [6] Style Execution

Subject: The Core of Your Vision

At the heart of every image lies its subject, serving as the focal point that captures attention and conveys the primary message. It's the essence you want the AI to center its creativity any of the below elements:

  • Character: Think of living entities, be it a person with a specific persona, an animal in its natural habitat, or any other animate being that can be the star of your image.
  • Object: This encompasses all inanimate items, ranging from everyday objects like a pen or a book to grander concepts like a spaceship or a historic artifact.
  • Scene: It's the broader setting or environment, whether it's a serene beach at sunset, a bustling city square, or a quiet village lane.
  • Action: Dynamic movements or events that bring energy to the image, such as a couple dancing in the rain or a dramatic explosion in a movie scene.
  • Emotion: The underlying feelings that the image evokes, from the euphoria of happiness to the depths of sorrow.
  • Position: The spatial arrangement, indicating where the subject is placed in relation to other elements, like 'hovering above' or 'nestled beside'.
Detailed Imagery: Adding Depth and Nuance

Once you've defined the subject, it's time to delve into the specifics that add layers of depth and richness, a few examples:

  • Clothing: Beyond just garments, it's about patterns, styles, cultural significance, and accessories that define a character.
  • Expression: The subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) facial cues that convey a myriad of emotions and reactions.
  • Color: The palette choices that set the mood. Are they vibrant and lively, soft pastel tones, or stark monochrome contrasts?
  • Texture: The tactile quality, whether it's the smoothness of silk, the roughness of bark, or the scaliness of a reptile.
  • Proportions: The relative sizes of elements, ensuring harmony and balance in the image.
  • Perspective: The vantage point, be it a bird's eye view from above or a worm's eye view from below, that dictates how the scene unfolds.
  • Reflection and Shadows: These elements play with light, adding realism, depth, and dimension to the image.
  • Interaction: How different elements relate to and engage with each other, creating a dynamic interplay.
Environment Description: Setting the Stage

The backdrop against which your subject shines, some examples:

  • Indoor/Outdoor: Defines the primary setting, be it a cozy room, a sprawling garden, or the vastness of outer space.
  • Landscape: The broader geographical context, from towering mountains and deep valleys to the urban jungle of skyscrapers.
  • Weather: Elements like sunshine, rain, or snow that can dramatically alter the mood of the image.
  • Time of Day: The difference between a golden sunrise, the starkness of midday, or the soft hues of twilight can be profound.
  • Background and Foreground: These layers add depth, helping to focus on the subject while also providing context.
  • Terrain: The type of ground or surface, be it rocky terrains, sandy beaches, or watery expanses.
  • Architecture: Man-made structures that can add historical, cultural, or futuristic contexts.
  • Natural Elements: The touch of nature, from towering trees and flowing rivers to fluffy clouds in the sky.
Mood/ Atmosphere: The Soul of the Image

The intangible elements that evoke feelings, a few examples:

  • Emotion: The dominant feeling, whether it's the joy of a festival or the melancholy of a rainy day.
  • Energy: The intensity, ranging from the calm stillness of a pond to the chaotic energy of a marketplace.
  • Tension and Serenity: Elements that either add suspense and anticipation or bring a sense of peace and tranquility.
  • Warmth/Coldness, Brightness/Darkness: These elements play with temperature and light to set the overall tone.
Artistic Style: The Aesthetic Choice

Your preferred visual genre, a few examples:

  • Anime to Photographic: Whether you're looking for the exaggerated features of Japanese animation, the stark realism of a photograph, or anything in between, the style sets the visual language of the image. Some more styles: Comic Book, Fantasy Art, Low Poly, Pixel Art, Watercolor, Line Art etc.
Style Execution: Bringing the Vision to Life

The tools and techniques to realize the chosen style, a few examples:

  • Illustration Technique: The method, be it hand-drawn sketches, digital designs, or mixed-media blends.
  • Rendering Engine: The software powerhouse that turns prompts into visuals. e.g. Blender etc.
  • Camera Model/Settings: For those aiming for a photographic touch, these settings can make all the difference.
  • Materials: From the brushes and paints of a traditional artist to the digital tablets of modern creators.
  • Resolution, Lighting, and Color Types: The final touches that determine the clarity, illumination, and color palette of the image.
Note: You can combine two or more examples in each of the above elements to generate an image that closely matches your vision.

Can't find what you're looking for?

We'll help you find the answer or connect with support.

Contact Us