Wednesday, July 5, 2023

AI Images in Google Slides

A while back, Google announced a new set of AI tools coming for Google Workspace which they are calling Duet AI. These features help you create with AI right inside of Docs, Slides, Sheets, Meet, Gmail, and more.

I recently got access to the new Duet AI integration for Google Slides called "Help me visualize". This is a text to image tool that lets you type in a description of the picture you want, and then the AI creates several images to match your request.

Text to image generation is a popular and powerful AI tool as seen in DALL-E, Midjourney, Canva, Bing Image Creator, Adobe Firefly, Scribble Diffusion, and other services. It is exciting to see this feature now available right inside of Google Slides.

See below for my demonstration video and detailed directions and examples on using Duet AI in Google Slides to generate images from text.

▶️ Tutorial Video (11 minutes)

Or watch on YouTube at:

๐Ÿงช Accessing Workspace Labs

At the moment Duet AI is only available as part of Google Workspace Labs, where Google selects users to experiment with new generative AI features in Workspace and provide feedback to Google so they can improve the features before they’re broadly available.

If you are interested in applying to join Workspace Labs, you can do that at:

Eventually these new AI tools will be available to all users, but for now I will show you how they work below.

๐Ÿ–ฑ️ Accessing "Help Me Visualize"

If you do have access to Duet AI you will now have a new "Help me visualize" option.
  • You can access this by clicking "Insert" then "Image" then "Help me visualize".
  • Or you can click the "Help me visualize" button in the top toolbar.
  • Either way, this will open the "Help me visualize" side panel.

๐Ÿ–ผ️ Generating an Image

With the side panel open, you can now type in the text prompt to describe the image you want generated. Some sample suggestions from Google include:
  • beautiful photograph of a Hawaiian beach at sunset, palm trees in the distance
  • lots of Chinese lanterns floating over an ancient city at night time, retrowave, soft focus
  • beautiful orchid floral arrangement evoking a feeling of luxury
  • an abstract image of the Grand Canyon, with the horizon line at the bottom of the image
  • a beaker containing mysterious blue liquid
  • a watercolor painting of hydrangeas in a water pitcher
  • oil canvas with dripping paint
  • a futuristic cityscape with skyscrapers and flying cars set at night, hd details and shadows
  • a serene lake with a reflection of the sky and trees
  • a medieval castle floating amongst white and fluffy clouds, bright blue sky
  • a loaf banana bread, with a golden brown crust and a moist, fluffy interior
  • camper van at a national park with mountains and pine trees in the background
  • colorful pastel macarons displayed in a box on top of a marble table
  • a plate of freshly baked blueberry muffins on a wooden kitchen table next to a large window
  • a clownfish swimming in an aquarium
  • a grove of ancient trees with moss-covered roots
  • a picnic on a colorful patchwork blanket at the park
  • a cozy rustic lake house nestled in the woods
  • a playful golden retriever running through a field of flowers on a bright and sunny day
  • a tiger running through a field of tall grass, its stripes blending in with the background
  • a futuristic cityscape with skyscrapers and flying cars set at night, hd details and shadows
  • a dark and stormy night with thunder and lightning

You will also find "Inspiration examples" at the bottom of the panel.

As a tip, Google recommends to avoid figurative language in your prompt, and to consider including the subject, setting, distance to subject, materials, or background. For example: "A close up of a boat made out of wood on a lake surrounded by trees at sunrise."

For our example we will use "A castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky".

  • After you type in your prompt, simply click the "Create" button.
  • It will take about 20 seconds for Duet AI to generate a set of images.
  • Normally you will get 8 generated pictures, but sometimes may get fewer if the service is especially busy.
  • To use any image, simply click on the picture thumbnail and the image will be inserted into your slideshow.
  • You can now move, resize, crop, and rotate the image as any normal picture.
  • You can give feedback to Google by clicking the "thumbs up" or "thumbs down" icons for any image.
  • If you need more pictures, just click the "View more" button to generate an additional set.

๐ŸŽจ Styling the Images

You can further customize the generated images by adding a style. This can be done in two ways.
  • First you can use the "Add a style" dropdown.
  • Or second, you can edit your prompt to include more style details.
If you use the "Add a style" dropdown, you can choose form the following options: Photography, Background, Vector Art, Sketch, Watercolor, Cyberpunk, I'm Feeling Lucky

Here are examples for how each style customizes the images from our original prompt:


Vector Art




I'm Feeling Lucky


Note: The "Background" option sets the generated image as the background of the slide. Unfortunately the AI-generated image will be square, so if your slide is rectangular the picture will get stretched to fit the background, which will distort the image. Hopefully Google will add an option to set the aspect ratio of the generated images, so they can fit a variety of slide sizes.

Instead of using the "Add a style" menu, you can also affect the look of the generated images by adding more details to your original prompt. Here are some examples where I included more descriptions in the prompt:

Van Gogh

"A castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky in the style of Vincent Van Gogh"

Paper Mache

"Paper mache of a castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky"

Pixel Art

"Isometric pixel art of a castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky"

Lego Bricks

"A castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky made out of Lego bricks"

Stained Glass

"Stained glass art of a castle on a hill at night above a river and a forest with a moon in the sky"

The possibilities for different styles are as endless as your imagination.

๐Ÿ’ก Classroom Uses

As with all AI tools the first step is learning how to use it. The next step though is learning what to use it for. As educators we are always trying to think of creative ways to use technology for teaching and learning. Here are just a few quick ideas I considered for this new AI feature.

Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are a great way to get students started on a story. However instead of just text, an image can be a powerful inspiration. You can use the "Help me visualize" tool to create an image from a writing prompt. Then you can provide the students with the image and have them use it as inspiration for their writing.

For an example I used the writing prompt "a penguin on a skateboard in the desert" which could then be used to write a story based on the picture.

Illustrating Stories

Illustrations can help to bring a story to life. Using the "Help me visualize" tool, students can generate pictures to go along with their stories, poems, or other writings.

As an example I took one of the poems I wrote for my grandkids - "The Third Cow" - and used the Google Slides AI to generate images to go with each stanza:

Customizing Slideshows

And of course you can always use Duet AI to simply generate images to customize whatever slideshow you are creating. Sometimes it can be challenging to find just the right picture for your presentation. Using Google's AI provides a convenient way to get a specific image that is free to use however you need.

I used the Slides AI to help make the title image for my blog post by creating a robot painting a picture.

๐Ÿ Conclusion

I am excited to see how the Duet AI tools continue to develop. As we often say regarding AI - "This is the worst it is ever going to be." It just gets more powerful from here!

I am also very excited to hear more ideas for how this new feature can be used. I would love to hear your thoughts and learn from you!

Post by Eric Curts
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1 comment:

  1. Can't wait to play with this. Thanks for sharing Eric. Loving the paper mache, Lego bricks and stained glass versions.