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The Difference Between Colons & Commas in Midjourney

Are you wondering what commas and colons do in Midjourney?

For some reason, no one has gone through the trouble of actually testing whether there’s any difference when you use colons or commas in Midjourney.

In this guide, we’ll show you exactly whether punctuation or grammar matters in Midjourney and how to best structure your prompts.

Let’s dive right in.

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The Truth About Commas in Midjourney

Infographic showing the truth about commas in Midjourney as well as other forms of punctuation.
Infographic showing the truth about commas in Midjourney as well as other forms of punctuation.

Many people who are new to Midjourney tend to assume that they should use commas to structure their prompts.

But why is that?

Well, to be fair, it’s not completely unreasonable to assume that if an AI is able to create images based on your text, it would also be able to interpret commas.

Most people use commas in Midjourney simply because it feels more natural to them.

It helps us structure our ideas and it’s also considerably more legible than if you left out all punctuation.

This behavior is amplified by the fact that anyone can see everyone’s prompts.

When you’re still learning how to use Midjourney, it’s commonplace to look at what other people are doing and what seems to be working for them.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of people are beginners, so most examples you see are not necessarily good ones.

But who would you know?

We’ve actually gone through the trouble of testing various different ways of structuring a prompt, including the use of commas, periods, brackets, slashes, and quotation marks.

We used the following base prompt for our experiment:

/imagine beautiful woman, pink cleopatra hair, warrior princess, bavaria culture, barbarian warlord --seed 1

And these are the different variations of the prompt that we tested.

/imagine beautiful woman pink cleopatra hair warrior princess bavaria culture barbarian warlord --seed 1

/imagine beautiful woman, pink cleopatra hair, warrior princess, bavaria culture, barbarian warlord --seed 1

/imagine beautiful woman. pink cleopatra hair. warrior princess. bavaria culture. barbarian warlord. --seed 1

/imagine /beautiful woman/ /pink cleopatra hair/ /warrior princess/ /bavaria culture/ /barbarian warlord/ --seed 1

/imagine (beautiful woman) (pink cleopatra hair) (warrior princess) (bavaria culture) (barbarian warlord) --seed 1

/imagine "beautiful woman" "pink cleopatra hair" "warrior princess" "bavaria culture" "barbarian warlord" --seed 1

What we found was that it effectively makes no difference whether you add punctuation or not.

Yes, there are very slight differences in the results, however, we do not believe that these are due to the use of commas in Midjourney per se.

Instead, whenever you change a prompt even in the slightest bit, you will undoubtedly get slightly different results and the same seems to the be case here.

We even went as far as switching the positions of various words and separating them from those they are related to.

/imagine bavaria woman cleopatra hair warrior culture beautiful barbarian pink princess warlord --seed 1

And we even removed all symbols and all spaces to see if that made any difference.

/imagine beautifulwomanpinkcleopatrahairwarriorprincessbavariaculturebarbarianwarlord --seed 1

Guess what. It doesn’t!

What this tells us is that Midjourney handles all the words very differently from how many of us originally thought.

So does that mean you shouldn’t use commas in Midjourney?

No, of course not.

You absolutely can and you probably should be using any means convenient to you in order to help you structure your prompts.

It just doesn’t matter whether you’re using commas in Midjourney or some other type of punctuation.

Make sure you check out this video on YouTube for in-depth analysis with examples that provide proof for our claims.

Key Points (tl;dr)
  • Midjourney does not treat prompts with commas any differently than those that do not have commas.
  • Punctuation and grammar are largely irrelevant in determining what your final image will look like.
  • The only symbols that are officially recognized by the AI are double colons. They split your prompt into segments and allow you to apply weights to them as well.

The Power of Double-Colons

Infographic showing the power of double colons in Midjourney and how text weight dramatic change your images.
Infographic showing the power of double colons in Midjourney and how text weight dramatic change your images.

One thing, however, that does make a huge difference is when you use colons in Midjourney.

Colons, usually used in the form of a double colon, are used to structure so-called multi-prompts.

You’re probably wondering what a multi-prompt is.

Well, think of it this way.

If you were using commas in Midjourney to structure your prompt into different concepts, hoping that Midjourney would also recognize them as different concepts, then you should have used double colons instead.

Our original prompt from earlier would look like this:

/imagine beautiful woman:: pink cleopatra hair:: warrior princess:: bavaria culture:: barbarian warlord:: --seed 1

The double colon marks the end of a “segment” of your prompt and Midjourney will treat that segment in isolation when it interprets the prompt.

Once it has interpreted each segment separately, it will then attempt to blend all of them together.

How these segments are blended together, is determined by so-called text weights.

But here’s the gist of it.

You can apply a weighting to each of the segments in your prompt.

So for example, if the terms “warrior princess” and “bavaria culture” are of particular importance, then I could give them a weighting of 3.

/imagine beautiful woman:: pink cleopatra hair:: warrior princess::3 bavaria culture::1 barbarian warlord:: --seed 1

Notice how the weighting applies to the entire phrase that is left (!) of the adjacent double colon.

All other segments currently have a weighting of 1.

You can set a value of 1 manually, however, whenever no explicit value is given, it defaults to 1.

So phrase:: is the same as phrase::1.

Whenever people discover multiprompts and weights in Midjourney, it tends to be a game-changing revelation for them.

So I hope this article has a similar impact on your experience with Midjourney.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Before we close off this guide, let’s quickly address some of the most common questions related to the use of colons and commas in Midjourney.

  • Should I use commas in Midjourney?

    It is considered good practice to use commas in Midjourney in order to structure your prompt. It makes it considerably easier to read. However, it has proven time and time again that punctuation and grammar play and negligible role in Midjourney prompt craft.

  • What do colons do in Midjourney?

    Colons, or double-colons to be specific, are used to create so-called multiprompts in Midjourney. Multiprompts allow you to break up your prompt into multiple isolated segments. They also allow you to apply weights to each segment. Multiprompts very often produce considerably more accurate results than a single standalone prompt.

Conclusion

It’s funny how myths often develop a life of their own and if left unchecked, are eventually treated as fact by a wide range of people.

Yes, it makes sense to use commas in Midjourney, however, not because Midjourney treats them any differently from prompts that don’t have them.

Instead, you should rather learn how to use multiprompts and weight in order to craft the exact type of image that you want.

Here at Tokenized, we want to help you learn as much as possible about the AI software industry. We help you navigate the world of tech and the digitalization of our society at large, including the tokenization of assets and services.

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