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How to automate AI image generation with Zapier

By Will Harris · July 14, 2023
Screenshot of Zapier logo and AI on a blue background

"ChatGPT is dead. Here are 10 new AI tools you NEED to know about RIGHT NOW."

Have you read a Twitter thread or a LinkedIn post like that in the past few weeks? I've seen plenty, and while they're incredibly hyperbolic, I do agree that there are a lot of valuable AI tools out there beyond the (very much alive) ChatGPT.

Text-based AI tools like ChatGPT introduced a lot of people to AI, but AI image tools are having their own explosion. With Zapier, you can automate them to become part of any of your regular workflows.

Zapier is the leader in no-code automation—integrating with 5,000+ apps from partners like Google, Salesforce, and Microsoft. Build secure, automated systems for your business-critical workflows across your organization's technology stack. Learn more.

Table of contents

Create images from a chat tool

If you're the only person with an account for an AI image-generating tool and want to give your team access, why not bring the tool right into your team chat tool? That way, your team can create images without context switching. 

With Zapier, you can build a Zap that lets your entire team create AI-generated images simply by typing the prompt into Slack or Discord.

Now, you and your team can create images right when you think of an idea without any need to context switch.

Create images with DALL.E based on Slack messages and send as a channel message

Create images with DALL.E based on Slack messages and send as a channel message
  • Slack logo
  • OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL-E, Whisper) logo
  • Slack logo
Slack + OpenAI (GPT-3, DALL-E, Whisper)

Generate images with Leap AI from new Discord channel messages

Generate images with Leap AI from new Discord channel messages
  • Discord logo
  • Discord logo
Discord + Delay by Zapier + Leap AI

Learn more: Read our tutorial on how to create an AI image playground in Discord.

Generate images from a form

Forms are a user-friendly way to give people access to AI image tools. With the Zaps below, you can send people a link to a form where they enter their email address and a prompt, and Zapier will send their prompt to OpenAI to generate the image, then email the image to that user right after their form is submitted.

Use Zapier's Chrome extension to create images

If you have an idea for an AI image and need to start writing out the prompt instantly, Zapier's Google Chrome extension is the perfect solution. After you set up the Zap below, all you have to do is click the extension icon in your toolbar, type your prompt, and your image will pop up right in your Chrome sidebar, allowing you to create as soon as inspiration strikes.

Gather prompts and add images in a spreadsheet or project management tool

Whether you're tracking your projects in a project management tool like Trello, or a database app like Google Sheets or Airtable, you can easily integrate AI into the mix to start creating images for your projects.

With Zapier, you can add a prompt to a spreadsheet row, send it to an AI image generation tool to create a custom image, then send it right back to your spreadsheet. This allows you to create images for blog articles, social media posts, webinars, or anything else, without spending hours looking for a stock photo online.

Get a daily dose of inspiration

As someone who writes for a living, I try to read before I start my work day because other people's words often inspire me.

If you're an artist, a designer, or, well, anyone (who am I to say who can and can't be inspired by art), you can set up a Zap that will send you a scheduled email with a new AI-generated image as frequently as you'd like. It could be once a day or once an hour—whatever works best to get your creative juices flowing.

Learn more: Read our full tutorial on how to automate art inspiration with OpenAI's DALL·E and Zapier.

Create your own AI art gallery

Whether you want to keep an AI art gallery for your own reference or share your prompt engineering skills with others, Zapier can help. With the Zaps below, you can automatically post your AI-generated images anywhere. Share them with the web, or save them in an archive for later.

How to automate AI image generation with Zapier

Now that we've covered multiple different ways to automate AI image creation let's walk through an example. 

AI-powered workflows typically involve three steps:

  1. Your trigger step, where the idea for an image is captured in an app

  2. Your AI action step, where that idea is passed on to your AI tool to create the image

  3. Another action step to send your newly-created image somewhere

For this tutorial, we'll use one of the workflow examples from above—creating an AI image from a Google Form and sending it to an email address.

Before you begin

Before you start building your Zap, you'll need to make sure your AI image generator account is set up. In our example, we'll set up a free OpenAI account. 

To use some AI tools with Zapier, you may need an API key. Typically, you can either find one or create one in your tool's settings. In OpenAI, for example, you go to the settings tab in the top-right corner and select View API keys.

A screenshot highlighting where to find the View API keys button in OpenAI.

From there, click the + Create new secret key button to produce your API key. While you're there, copy the key and paste it somewhere safe, as you'll need it later when linking your OpenAI account to Zapier.

A screenshot of an API key in OpenAI.

Set up a trigger step to gather your prompt

Time to start building your Zap. Each Zap begins with a trigger—the event that starts your automation. For your image generation Zap, you'll need to start with an idea for your image. That may come from a chat thread, from ideas dropped in a spreadsheet or to-do list, etc.

In our example, I'm going to collect image requests from a form. Choose Google Forms as your trigger app and New Form Response for your trigger event. Click Continue.

A screenshot of the setup for a Google Forms trigger step in the Zapier editor.

Next, connect your Google account. You'll need to permit Zapier to access your account if this is the first time you've connected it.

Now, set up your trigger step by filling in the trigger step fields. Depending on your trigger app and event, you'll have different fields to customize. In this example, the only field you need to specify is which form to link with the Zap.

A screenshot of the setup for a Google Forms trigger step in the Zapier editor.

When you finish customizing your trigger step, click Continue.

Next, click Test trigger. Zapier will then find an existing form response from your Google Forms account to ensure the trigger works properly.

A screenshot of a successful trigger step test in the Zapier editor.

After you run a successful test, click Continue with selected record.

Set up an AI action step to create your image

It's time to set up your first two action steps. This is where you'll connect your AI tool to create your image based on the prompt from the trigger step. In this case, we'll connect to OpenAI.

Choose OpenAI as your action app and Generate Image as your action step. Click Continue.

A screenshot of the setup for an OpenAI action step in the Zapier editor.

Now, connect your OpenAI account to Zapier. A pop-up window asking for the OpenAI API key you copied earlier will appear. Paste it into the API Key field, and click Yes, Continue to OpenAI.

Next, you'll customize your prompt to DALL-E. To grab your prompt from your trigger step, click into the Prompt field, and select the prompt gathered from your form in the Insert Data… dropdown.

A screenshot of customization options for an OpenAI action step in the Zapier editor.

When you finish with the prompt, you can tell OpenAI the number of image variations you'd like it to generate and the sizes of the images.

Then, test your action. Click Test Action, Zapier will send test data to your action app.

A screenshot of a successful OpenAI action step test in the Zapier editor.

Once you run a successful test, add one more action step by clicking the small + button at the bottom of your screen.

A screenshot of the "+" button to add another action step in the Zapier editor.

Set up an action step to send your image somewhere

Now for the last step—sending your image somewhere so that you can actually do something with it. In this example, we're sending the image to an email, but you could send it to a spreadsheet, database, or Slack channel as well.

Select Email by Zapier as your action app, and Send Outbound Email as your action event.

A screenshot of the setup for an outbound email action step in the Zapier editor.

Click Continue.

Next, customize your action step. First, use the data from your Google Form step to determine who to send the email to.

A screenshot of the customization options for an Email by Zapier action step in the Zapier editor.

Next, give your email a subject line and a body. Then, attach your images from the OpenAI step by grabbing them from the dropdown.

A screenshot selecting the "Image URL" from OpenAI to add to the Email by Zapier action step in the Zapier editor.

You can customize your email further by giving it a From Name, Reply To address, or Cc-ing/Bcc-ing anyone else on the outgoing email.

A screenshot of a finished Email by Zapier action step in the Zapier editor.

Next, click Test Action to text your action step. Zapier will then send an email to the email address provided.

A screenshot of a successful Email by Zapier action step test in the Zapier editor.

If everything looks good with your email, you're ready to publish your Zap. Just remember, we can't make any promises on how your AI-generated images will turn out 😅

An image generated by DALL-E for the prompt: "Remy from the Pixar movie Ratatouille sprinkling basil on a Neapolitan-style pizza just before he slides it into a flaming brick pizza oven to be cooked to perfection. Make sure Remy is wearing a white chef's hat and smiling widely."

Create AI images easily with automation

AI image generation is a powerful tool, and the technology behind it is only getting better. Now's the time to start honing these skills and finding ways to build AI image generation into your workflows automatically with Zapier.

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A Zap with the trigger 'When I get a new lead from Facebook,' and the action 'Notify my team in Slack'