Adjust and colour match DALL-E images using Photoshop

Sarah Packowski
4 min readJan 23, 2023

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If you want to use multiple DALL-E images together, but their colours and brightness are all a bit different, this post shows how to use Photoshop to make them look like a matched set — while preserving the DALL-E signature.

Procedure

The following video demonstrates how to use adjustment layers in Photoshop to quickly and easily give a set of images generated by DALL-E uniform colour and brightness:

Step 1: Place your DALL-E images onto your artboard in Photoshop

After you download your images from DALL-E, place each of your images into your Photoshop project:

  1. From the File menu, select Place Embedded to cause a copy of an image to be embedded in your project.
  2. Right-click on the image layer and select Convert to Smart Object. Smart objects allow you to do nondestructive editing. See: Nondestructive editing
  3. Resize and position your image as appropriate for your project.
Images placed in the Photoshop project

Step 2: Adjust the colours and brightness of the images

For each image, use one or more adjustment layers to alter the appearance of the image without altering the image layer itself:

  1. Click on the image layer in the layers list
  2. From the Layer Adjustment Layer menu, select a type of adjustment layer. For example, to change the colours, select Hue/Saturation. To change the brightness, select Brightness/Contrast.
  3. In the modal that opens, check the box labelled Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask. This will cause the adjustment layer to be applied to only that image.
  4. Experiment with the adjustment layer sliders to find just the right effect.

Notes

  • Sometimes, you’ll want to apply more than one adjustment layer — if the colours and the brightness need to change, for example.
  • Turning the adjustment layer visibility off and on again helps you see the effect of the layer clearly.
  • This work can be iterative: after adding adjustment layers for a few images, you might want to go back and readjust an image again. You can click on an adjustment layer and readjust it or even delete it and start adjusting the look of a particular image over again.
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer properties
Hue/Saturation adjustment layer properties

Step 3: Mask the DALL-E signature on each image

On each adjustment layer, paint over where the DALL-E signature is, to cause the adjustment layer to not affect the signature:

  1. Select the adjustment layer in the layers list, and click the mask icon so it has a white outline around it.
  2. Set the foreground colour to black. See: Choosing colours
  3. Select the Brush tool, with a hard-edged brush, and a brush size that is about the same as the height of the DALL-E signature. See: Painting tools
  4. On the adjustment layer, paint over top of where the DALL-E signature is in the underlying image layer.
  5. [Optional] Refine the mask associated with the adjustment layer by clicking Select and Mask and then tweaking the edge of the mask. See: Select and Mask workspace
Using a mask to leave the DALL-E signature unaffected by the adjustment layer
Using a mask to leave the DALL-E signature unaffected by the adjustment layer

Conclusion

One benefit of using DALL-E is that you can create custom images that look quite nice without having advanced skills with tools like Adobe Photoshop. However, a little bit of Photoshop can go a long way to making your DALL-E images look better in your project.

Images generated by DALL-E, before and after adjustments
Images generated by DALL-E, before and after adjustments

P.S. There are usually multiple ways to solve a given problem in Photoshop, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. There is a feature in Photoshop called Match Color (in the Image menu, under AdjustmentsMatch Color.) For this particular use case, the fact that the Match Color feature is destructive is unappealing (see: Nondestructive editing) Also, preserving the DALL-E signature would more difficult.

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Sarah Packowski

Design, build AI solutions by day. Experiment with input devices, drones, IoT, smart farming by night.