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DALL·E Flow: A Human-in-the-loop workflow for creating HD images from text
A Human-in-the-loop? workflow for creating HD images from text

Open in Google Colab Docker Image Size (latest by date)

DALL·E Flow is an interactive workflow for generating high-definition images from text prompt. First, it leverages DALL·E-Mega, GLID-3 XL, and Stable Diffusion to generate image candidates, and then calls CLIP-as-service to rank the candidates w.r.t. the prompt. The preferred candidate is fed to GLID-3 XL for diffusion, which often enriches the texture and background. Finally, the candidate is upscaled to 1024x1024 via SwinIR.

DALL·E Flow is built with Jina in a client-server architecture, which gives it high scalability, non-blocking streaming, and a modern Pythonic interface. Client can interact with the server via gRPC/Websocket/HTTP with TLS.

Why Human-in-the-loop? Generative art is a creative process. While recent advances of DALL·E unleash people's creativity, having a single-prompt-single-output UX/UI locks the imagination to a single possibility, which is bad no matter how fine this single result is. DALL·E Flow is an alternative to the one-liner, by formalizing the generative art as an iterative procedure.


DALL·E Flow is in client-server architecture.


  • 🌟 2022/10/27 RealESRGAN upscalers have been added.
  • ⚠️ 2022/10/26 To use CLIP-as-service available at grpcs:// (requires jina >= v3.11.0), you need first get an access token from here. See Use the CLIP-as-service for more details.
  • 🌟 2022/9/25 Automated CLIP-based segmentation from a prompt has been added.
  • 🌟 2022/8/17 Text to image for Stable Diffusion has been added. In order to use it you will need to agree to their ToS, download the weights, then enable the flag in docker or
  • ⚠️ 2022/8/8 Started using CLIP-as-service as an external executor. Now you can easily deploy your own CLIP executor if you want. There is a small breaking change as a result of this improvement, so please reopen the notebook in Google Colab.
  • ⚠️ 2022/7/6 Demo server migration to AWS EKS for better availability and robustness, server URL is now changing to grpcs:// All connections are now with TLS encryption, please reopen the notebook in Google Colab.
  • ⚠️ 2022/6/25 Unexpected downtime between 6/25 0:00 - 12:00 CET due to out of GPU quotas. The new server now has 2 GPUs, add healthcheck in client notebook.
  • 2022/6/3 Reduce default number of images to 2 per pathway, 4 for diffusion.
  • 🐳 2022/6/21 A prebuilt image is now available on Docker Hub! This image can be run out-of-the-box on CUDA 11.6. Fix an upstream bug in CLIP-as-service.
  • ⚠️ 2022/5/23 Fix an upstream bug in CLIP-as-service. This bug makes the 2nd diffusion step irrelevant to the given texts. New Dockerfile proved to be reproducible on a AWS EC2 p2.x8large instance.
  • 2022/5/13b Removing TLS as Cloudflare gives 100s timeout, making DALLE Flow in usable Please reopen the notebook in Google Colab!.
  • 🔐 2022/5/13 New Mega checkpoint! All connections are now with TLS, Please reopen the notebook in Google Colab!.
  • 🐳 2022/5/10 A Dockerfile is added! Now you can easily deploy your own DALL·E Flow. New Mega checkpoint! Smaller memory-footprint, the whole Flow can now fit into one GPU with 21GB memory.
  • 🌟 2022/5/7 New Mega checkpoint & multiple optimization on GLID3: less memory-footprint, use ViT-L/14@336px from CLIP-as-service, steps 100->200.
  • 🌟 2022/5/6 DALL·E Flow just got updated! Please reopen the notebook in Google Colab!
    • Revised the first step: 16 candidates are generated, 8 from DALL·E Mega, 8 from GLID3-XL; then ranked by CLIP-as-service.
    • Improved the flow efficiency: the overall speed, including diffusion and upscaling are much faster now!


a realistic photo of a muddy dogA scientist comparing apples and oranges, by Norman Rockwellan oil painting portrait of the regal Burger King posing with a WhopperEternal clock powered by a human cranium, artstationanother planet amazing landscapeThe Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire board game kickstarterA raccoon astronaut with the cosmos reflecting on the glass of his helmet dreaming of the stars, digital artA photograph of an apple that is a disco ball, 85 mm lens, studio lightinga cubism painting Donald trump happy cyberpunkoil painting of a hamster drinking tea outsideColossus of Rhodes by Max Ernstlandscape with great castle in middle of forestan medieval oil painting of Kanye west feels satisfied while playing chess in the style of ExpressionismAn oil pastel painting of an annoyed cat in a spaceshipdinosaurs at the brink of a nuclear disasterfantasy landscape with medieval cityGPU chip in the form of an avocado, digital arta giant rubber duck in the oceanPaddington bear as austrian emperor in antique black & white photographya rainy night with a superhero perched above a city, in the style of a comic bookA synthwave style sunset above the reflecting water of the sea, digital artan oil painting of ocean beach front in the style of Titianan oil painting of Klingon general in the style of Rubenscity, top view, cyberpunk, digital realistic artan oil painting of a medieval cyborg automaton made of magic parts and old steampunk mechanicsa watercolour painting of a top view of a pirate ship sailing on the cloudsa knight made of beautiful flowers and fruits by Rachel ruysch in the style of Syd braka 3D render of a rainbow colored hot air balloon flying above a reflective lakea teddy bear on a skateboard in Times Square cozy bedroom at nightan oil painting of monkey using computerthe diagram of a search machine invented by Leonardo da VinciA stained glass window of toucans in outer spacea campfire in the woods at night with the milky-way galaxy in the skyBionic killer robot made of AI scarab beetlesThe Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the middle of a city, in the style of Dalípainting oil of Izhevska hyper realistic photo of a marshmallow office chairfantasy landscape with cityocean beach front view in Van Gogh styleAn oil painting of a family reunited inside of an airport, digital artantique photo of a knight riding a T-Rexa top view of a pirate ship sailing on the cloudsan oil painting of a humanoid robot playing chess in the style of Matissea cubism painting of a cat dressed as French emperor Napoleona husky dog wearing a hat with sunglassesA mystical castle appears between the clouds in the style of Vincent di Fategolden gucci airpods realistic photo


Open in Google Colab

Using client is super easy. The following steps are best run in Jupyter notebook or Google Colab.

You will need to install DocArray and Jina first:

pip install "docarray[common]>=0.13.5" jina

We have provided a demo server for you to play:

⚠️ Due to the massive requests, our server may be delay in response. Yet we are very confident on keeping the uptime high. You can also deploy your own server by following the instruction here.

server_url = 'grpcs://'

Step 1: Generate via DALL·E Mega

Now let's define the prompt:

prompt = 'an oil painting of a humanoid robot playing chess in the style of Matisse'

Let's submit it to the server and visualize the results:

from docarray import Document

doc = Document(text=prompt).post(server_url, parameters={'num_images': 8})
da = doc.matches

da.plot_image_sprites(fig_size=(10,10), show_index=True)

Here we generate 24 candidates, 8 from DALLE-mega, 8 from GLID3 XL, and 8 from Stable Diffusion, this is as defined in num_images, which takes about ~2 minutes. You can use a smaller value if it is too long for you.

Step 2: Select and refinement via GLID3 XL

The 24 candidates are sorted by CLIP-as-service, with index-0 as the best candidate judged by CLIP. Of course, you may think differently. Notice the number in the top-left corner? Select the one you like the most and get a better view:

fav_id = 3
fav = da[fav_id]
fav.embedding = doc.embedding

Now let's submit the selected candidates to the server for diffusion.

diffused ='{server_url}', parameters={'skip_rate': 0.5, 'num_images': 36}, target_executor='diffusion').matches

diffused.plot_image_sprites(fig_size=(10,10), show_index=True)

This will give 36 images based on the selected image. You may allow the model to improvise more by giving skip_rate a near-zero value, or a near-one value to force its closeness to the given image. The whole procedure takes about ~2 minutes.

Step 3: Select and upscale via SwinIR

Select the image you like the most, and give it a closer look:

dfav_id = 34
fav = diffused[dfav_id]

Finally, submit to the server for the last step: upscaling to 1024 x 1024px.

fav ='{server_url}/upscale')

That's it! It is the one. If not satisfied, please repeat the procedure.

Btw, DocArray is a powerful and easy-to-use data structure for unstructured data. It is super productive for data scientists who work in cross-/multi-modal domain. To learn more about DocArray, please check out the docs.


You can host your own server by following the instruction below.

Hardware requirements

DALL·E Flow needs one GPU with 21GB VRAM at its peak. All services are squeezed into this one GPU, this includes (roughly)

  • DALLE ~9GB
  • GLID Diffusion ~6GB
  • Stable Diffusion ~8GB (batch_size=4 in config.yml, 512x512)
  • SwinIR ~3GB
  • CLIP ViT-L/14-336px ~3GB

The following reasonable tricks can be used for further reducing VRAM:

It requires at least 50GB free space on the hard drive, mostly for downloading pretrained models.

High-speed internet is required. Slow/unstable internet may throw frustrating timeout when downloading models.

CPU-only environment is not tested and likely won't work. Google Colab is likely throwing OOM hence also won't work.

Server architecture

If you have installed Jina, the above flowchart can be generated via:

# pip install jina
jina export flowchart flow.yml flow.svg

Stable Diffusion weights

If you want to use Stable Diffusion, you will first need to register an account on the website Huggingface and agree to the terms and conditions for the model. After logging in, you can find the version of the model required by going here:

CompVis / sd-v1-5-inpainting.ckpt

Under the Download the Weights section, click the link for sd-v1-x.ckpt. The latest weights at the time of writing are sd-v1-5.ckpt.

DOCKER USERS: Put this file into a folder named ldm/stable-diffusion-v1 and rename it model.ckpt. Follow the instructions below carefully because SD is not enabled by default.

NATIVE USERS: Put this file into dalle/stable-diffusion/models/ldm/stable-diffusion-v1/model.ckpt after finishing the rest of the steps under "Run natively". Follow the instructions below carefully because SD is not enabled by default.

Run in Docker

Prebuilt image

We have provided a prebuilt Docker image that can be pull directly.

docker pull jinaai/dalle-flow:latest

Build it yourself

We have provided a Dockerfile which allows you to run a server out of the box.

Our Dockerfile is using CUDA 11.6 as the base image, you may want to adjust it according to your system.

git clone
cd dalle-flow

docker build --build-arg GROUP_ID=$(id -g ${USER}) --build-arg USER_ID=$(id -u ${USER}) -t jinaai/dalle-flow .

The building will take 10 minutes with average internet speed, which results in a 18GB Docker image.

Run container

To run it, simply do:

docker run -p 51005:51005 \
  -it \
  -v $HOME/.cache:/home/dalle/.cache \
  --gpus all \

Alternatively, you may also run with some workflows enabled or disabled to prevent out-of-memory crashes. To do that, pass one of these environment variables:


For example, if you would like to disable GLID3XL workflows, run:

docker run -e DISABLE_GLID3XL='1' \
  -p 51005:51005 \
  -it \
  -v $HOME/.cache:/home/dalle/.cache \
  --gpus all \
  • The first run will take ~10 minutes with average internet speed.
  • -v $HOME/.cache:/root/.cache avoids repeated model downloading on every docker run.
  • The first part of -p 51005:51005 is your host public port. Make sure people can access this port if you are serving publicly. The second par of it is the port defined in flow.yml.
  • If you want to use Stable Diffusion, it must be enabled manually with the ENABLE_STABLE_DIFFUSION.
  • If you want to use clipseg, it must be enabled manually with the ENABLE_CLIPSEG.
  • If you want to use RealESRGAN, it must be enabled manually with the ENABLE_REALESRGAN.

Special instructions for Stable Diffusion and Docker

Stable Diffusion may only be enabled if you have downloaded the weights and make them available as a virtual volume while enabling the environmental flag (ENABLE_STABLE_DIFFUSION) for SD.

You should have previously put the weights into a folder named ldm/stable-diffusion-v1 and labeled them model.ckpt. Replace YOUR_MODEL_PATH/ldm below with the path on your own system to pipe the weights into the docker image.

docker run -e ENABLE_STABLE_DIFFUSION="1" \
  -e DISABLE_GLID3XL="1" \
  -p 51005:51005 \
  -it \
  -v YOUR_MODEL_PATH/ldm:/dalle/stable-diffusion/models/ldm/ \
  -v $HOME/.cache:/home/dalle/.cache \
  --gpus all \

You should see the screen like following once running:

Note that unlike running natively, running inside Docker may give less vivid progressbar, color logs, and prints. This is due to the limitations of the terminal in a Docker container. It does not affect the actual usage.

Run natively

Running natively requires some manual steps, but it is often easier to debug.

Clone repos

mkdir dalle && cd dalle
git clone
git clone
git clone --branch v0.0.15
git clone
git clone
git clone

You should have the following folder structure:

 |-- Real-ESRGAN/
 |-- SwinIR/
 |-- clipseg/
 |-- dalle-flow/
 |-- glid-3-xl/
 |-- latent-diffusion/
 |-- stable-diffusion/

Install auxiliary repos

cd dalle-flow
python3 -m virtualenv env
source env/bin/activate && cd -
pip install torch torchvision torchaudio --extra-index-url
pip install numpy tqdm pytorch_lightning einops numpy omegaconf
pip install
pip install git+
pip install basicsr facexlib gfpgan
pip install realesrgan
pip install && \
cd latent-diffusion && pip install -e . && cd -
cd stable-diffusion && pip install -e . && cd -
cd SwinIR && pip install -e . && cd -
cd glid-3-xl && pip install -e . && cd -
cd clipseg && pip install -e . && cd -

There are couple models we need to download for GLID-3-XL if you are using that:

cd glid-3-xl
cd -

Both clipseg and RealESRGAN require you to set a correct cache folder path, typically something like $HOME/.

Install flow

cd dalle-flow
pip install -r requirements.txt
pip install jax~=0.3.24

Start the server

Now you are under dalle-flow/, run the following command:

# Optionally disable some generative models with the following flags when
# using
# --disable-dalle-mega
# --disable-glid3xl
# --disable-swinir
# --enable-stable-diffusion
jina flow --uses flow.tmp.yml

You should see this screen immediately:

On the first start it will take ~8 minutes for downloading the DALL·E mega model and other necessary models. The proceeding runs should only take ~1 minute to reach the success message.

When everything is ready, you will see:

Congrats! Now you should be able to run the client.

You can modify and extend the server flow as you like, e.g. changing the model, adding persistence, or even auto-posting to Instagram/OpenSea. With Jina and DocArray, you can easily make DALL·E Flow cloud-native and ready for production.

Use the CLIP-as-service

To reduce the usage of vRAM, you can use the CLIP-as-service as an external executor freely available at grpcs://
First, make sure you have created an access token from console website, or CLI as following

jina auth token create <name of PAT> -e <expiration days>

Then, you need to change the executor related configs (host, port, external, tls and grpc_metadata) from flow.yml.

  - name: clip_encoder
    uses: jinahub+docker://CLIPTorchEncoder/latest-gpu
    host: ''
    port: 2096
    tls: true
    external: true
      authorization: "<your access token>"
    needs: [gateway]
  - name: rerank
    uses: jinahub+docker://CLIPTorchEncoder/latest-gpu
    host: ''
    port: 2096
      '/': rank
    tls: true
    external: true
      authorization: "<your access token>"
    needs: [dalle, diffusion]

You can also use the to automatically generate and run the flow with using the CLIP-as-service as external executor:

python --cas-token "<your access token>'
jina flow --uses flow.tmp.yml

⚠️ grpc_metadata is only available after Jina v3.11.0. If you are using an older version, please upgrade to the latest version.

Now, you can use the free CLIP-as-service in your flow.


Join Us

DALL·E Flow is backed by Jina AI and licensed under Apache-2.0. We are actively hiring AI engineers, solution engineers to build the next neural search ecosystem in open-source.