Visual ChatGPT: A Comprehensive Guide to Multimodal AI

Gayathri Nadella 13 Mar, 2024 • 12 min read

Recently, Large Language Models (LLMs) have made great advancements. One of the most notable breakthroughs is ChatGPT, which is designed to interact with users through conversations, maintain the context, handle follow-up questions, and correct itself. However, ChatGPT is limited in processing visual information since it’s trained with a single language modality. From designing products to creating digital art, the potential applications of Visual ChatGPT are endless, and we are just scratching the surface of what is possible. Join us on this journey to explore the power of Visual GPT in conversations with AI, Data Science and images!

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the foundational concepts of “Visual Foundation Models” and their potential in computer vision.
  2. Learn about the Visual ChatGPT system architecture and components.
  3. Understand how its system works, including how it iteratively invokes Visual Foundation Models to provide answers to user queries.
  4. Learn how to set up the Visual ChatGPT environment.
  5. Understand its potential applications.
  6. Understand the limitations of the Visual GPT system.

This article was published as a part of the Data Science Blogathon.

What is Visual ChatGPT?

Visual Foundation Models have shown potential in computer vision with their ability to understand and generate complex images. It is built based on ChatGPT and incorporates Visual Foundation Models to bridge this gap. A Prompt Manager is proposed to support this integration, clearly informing ChatGPT of each VFM’s ability, specifying input-output formats, converting visual information to language format, and handling Visual Foundation Model histories, priorities, and conflicts. Using the Prompt Manager, ChatGPT can leverage Visual Foundation Models iteratively until it meets user requirements or reaches the ending condition.

For example, a user uploads an image of a red flower and requests a blue flower, based on predicted depth, made into a cartoon. Visual GPT applies related Visual Foundation Models, such as depth estimation and depth-to-image models, to generate the requested output.

"Visual Foundation Models
Source: Analytics India Magazine

How to Use Visual ChatGPT

Here are the steps to use Visual ChatGPT:

  • Open the Visual ChatGPT Interface: You can access Visual ChatGPT through a web browser or a dedicated application. The interface will have an input box where you can type or upload images.
  • Input Your Request: Type in your query or instruction related to the image you want to generate. You can ask Visual GPT to create, edit, or analyze images based on your prompt.
  • Upload Reference Images (Optional): If you have reference images that can help Visual ChatGPT understand your request better, you can upload them along with your text prompt.
  • Configure Settings: Depending on the Visual GPT interface, you may have options to configure settings like image resolution, style, or other parameters before generating the image.
  • Generate the Image: After providing your input and setting the desired configurations, click the “Generate” or “Create” button to instruct Visual GPT to process your request and generate the corresponding image.
  • Review and Refine: Visual tGPT will display the generated image based on your prompt. You can review the image and provide feedback or additional instructions to refine the result if needed.
  • Iterate or Download: If you’re satisfied with the generated image, you can download or save it. Otherwise, you can continue iterating by providing additional prompts or guidance to Visua GPT to modify or improve the image further.

The process may vary slightly depending on the specific Visual GPT implementation, but these are the general steps involved in using this AI-powered image generation tool.

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System Architecture of Visual ChatGPT

The text describes how Visual ChatGPT works to generate responses to user queries. The system involves a series of Visual Foundation Models and intermediate outputs from those models to get the final response.

"Visual ChatGPT

1. Components

  • System principle: The System Principle provides the basic rules for Visual ChatGPT.
  • Visual Foundation Model: It is the combination of various Visual Foundation Models, where each foundation model contains a determined function with explicit inputs and outputs.
  • History of Dialogue: Following the conversation from the point of the first interaction with the system or a request for it.
  • User query: what the user wants to do can be queried in the form of a user query.
  • History of Reasoning: Used to solve complex questions with the collaboration of multiple Visual Foundation Models. All previous reasoning histories from multiple Visual Foundation Models are combined for a certain conversation round.
  • Intermediate Answer: It attempts to obtain the final answer to a complex query by gradually invoking various Visual Foundation Models in a logical manner, resulting in several intermediate answers.
  • Prompt Manager: The Prompt Manager converts all visual signals into language so that the ChatGPT model can understand them. The text provides a formal definition of Visual GPT, including its basic rules and the different components involved. Overview of it. The left side shows a three-round dialogue. The figure’s middle parts show how it continuously invokes Visual Foundation Models and provides answers. The right side of the figure shows the process of the second QA.

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2. Overview

"Visual ChatGPT

The text provides a formal definition of Visual ChatGPT, including its basic rules and the different components involved. The center displays the flowchart of how it iteratively invoke Visual Foundation Models and provides replies. The left side displays a three-round interaction. The right side displays the second QA’s thorough process.

3. Overview of the Prompt Manager

"prompt manager

How to Setup Visual ChatGPT?

"visual chatGPT


# create a new environment
conda create -n visgpt python=3.8
# activate the new environment
conda activate visgpt
# prepare the basic environments
pip install -r requirement.txt
# download the visual foundation models
# prepare your private openAI private key
export OPENAI_API_KEY={Your_Private_Openai_Key}
# create a folder to save images
mkdir ./image
#install pytorch with pip or conda command based on your CUDA version. For example
# below command is for the CUDA version 11.7
conda install pytorch torchvision torchaudio pytorch-cuda=11.7 -c pytorch -c nvidia
# Start Visual ChatGPT !

Here is the URL for the Demo.

How Visual ChatGPT Works

Visual ChatGPT is a cutting-edge technology that combines natural language processing (NLP) and computer vision (CV) techniques to enable interactive and intelligent image generation and manipulation. Here’s an overview of how Visual ChatGPT works:

Multimodal Input Processing

  • Text Input: Visual ChatGPT uses advanced language models, such as GPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer), to understand and process the user’s text prompts or instructions.
  • Image Input: It employs computer vision algorithms, including convolutional neural networks (CNNs) and object detection models, to analyze and extract information from the input reference images.

Multimodal Representation Learning

  • Visual ChatGPT combines the text and image inputs into a unified multimodal representation. This representation captures the semantic and visual information from both modalities, enabling the system to understand the context and intent behind the user’s request.

Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs)

  • At the core of Visual ChatGPT’s image generation capabilities are Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), which consist of two neural networks: a generator and a discriminator.
  • The generator network takes the multimodal representation and generates candidate images that align with the user’s request.
  • The discriminator network evaluates the generated images and provides feedback to the generator, ensuring that the generated images are realistic and consistent with the input.

Iterative Refinement

  • Visual ChatGPT incorporates an iterative refinement process, where the user can provide feedback on the generated images, and the system uses this feedback to refine and improve the results.
  • The system may generate multiple candidate images and allow the user to select the most suitable one or provide additional guidance for further refinement.

Image Manipulation and Editing

  • In addition to generating new images, Visual ChatGPT can also manipulate and edit existing images based on the user’s prompts.
  • It uses techniques such as inpainting, style transfer, and semantic segmentation to modify specific regions or aspects of the input images, while preserving the overall coherence and context.

Model Training and Updating

  • Visual ChatGPT relies on large-scale training on diverse multimodal datasets, including text-image pairs, to learn the associations between language and visual representations.
  • As new data and techniques become available, the models can be fine-tuned or retrained to improve performance and adapt to emerging use cases and domains.

The combination of advanced language models, computer vision techniques, and generative adversarial networks enables Visual ChatGPT to understand complex multimodal inputs, generate realistic and contextually relevant images, and engage in an interactive and iterative process with users.

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Applications of Visual GPT

Visual ChatGPT can perform a variety of Computer vision tasks and image pre-processing like the ones below using text.

  • Synthetic Image Generation: The user can ask it to generate any image with its description. Visual ChatGPT will generate the same within seconds, depending on the computing power of the machine it’s running on. Its backend Image Generation is based on Stable Diffusion, which is an open-source framework trained to generate images from text.
  • Changing the image’s background: It can be in-paint or out-paint, just like stable diffusion. The user can ask the chatbot to change or edit the background of the image with any description. A stable diffusion model will inpaint the background at the backend as per the text description.
  • Edge detection on the images: A user can ask it to highlight the edges of any image in grayscale or other formats. Visual ChatGPT will utilize a combination of its pretrained models and OpenCV at the backend to highlight the edges of the image. This is helpful in many scenarios, like using edge images and original images as combined input to train models like conditional GANs.
  • Replacing or removing the objects in an image: The user can edit, remove, or modify any part or object in the image with just a simple text description. For example, a user can ask the chatbot to change a cat’s face to that of a dog, and Visual ChatGPT will be able to create the same. This feature requires more computing power.


Although Visual ChatGPT is a promising method for multi-modal communication, it has a number of drawbacks.

  • Heavily relies on ChatGPT and Visual Foundation Models, so the accuracy and effectiveness of these models influence its performance.
  • Requires a substantial amount of prompt engineering, which can be time-consuming and requires computer vision and natural language processing proficiency.
  • Visual ChatGPT may invoke multiple Visual Foundation Models when handling specific tasks, which can result in limited real-time capabilities compared to expert models specifically trained.
  • The ability to easily plug and unplug foundation models may raise security and privacy concerns, so careful consideration and automatic checks are necessary to ensure that sensitive data is not exposed or compromised.

How is Visual GPT Transforming the World?

Visual ChatGPT, an open system, allows users to interact with ChatGPT beyond the language format by incorporating different Visual Foundation Models. To achieve this, a series of prompts are designed to help ChatGPT understand visual information and solve complex visual questions step-by-step. The system’s potential and competence are demonstrated through experiments and selected cases. However, there are concerns regarding unsatisfactory results due to Visual Foundation Model failures and prompt instability. A self-correction module is necessary to check the consistency between execution results and human intentions and make corresponding edits. This behavior increases the model’s inference time but leads to more complex thinking. Future work will address this issue.

Key Takeaways

  • Visual ChatGPT is a system that incorporates Visual Foundation Models into ChatGPT to enable it to process visual information.
  • The Prompt Manager is a key component of this system, and it informs ChatGPT about each Visual Foundation Model’s capabilities, input-output formats, and histories.
  • Visual ChatGPT allows users to perform various computer vision tasks and image pre-processing using text or voice commands, including synthetic image generation, background modification, edge detection, and object replacement or removal.
  • The system provides a detailed overview of its components and architecture and instructions for setting it up.

What Are the Features & Benefits of Visual ChatGPT?

Here are some of the key features and benefits of Visual ChatGPT:

  • Multimodal Input: Visual ChatGPT can accept both text and image inputs, allowing users to provide context through natural language prompts and reference images.
  • Image Generation and Editing: It can generate entirely new images from scratch based on text descriptions, as well as edit and manipulate existing images according to user prompts.
  • High-Resolution and Detailed Outputs: Visual ChatGPT can produce high-quality, detailed, and realistic images with resolutions up to 4K or higher.
  • Wide Range of Styles and Domains: It can generate images across various styles, genres, and domains, including photorealistic images, artistic renderings, product designs, and more.
  • Iterative Refinement: Users can provide feedback and additional prompts to iteratively refine and improve the generated images, enabling a collaborative and interactive process.
  • Context Understanding: Visual ChatGPT can understand and incorporate contextual information from the input text and images, allowing for more accurate and relevant image generation.
  • Time and Cost Efficiency: It can quickly generate high-quality images, reducing the time and resources required for manual image creation or editing.
  • Accessibility: Visual ChatGPT is accessible through user-friendly interfaces, making it easy for non-experts to leverage its capabilities.
  • Creative Exploration: It can be used as a tool for creative exploration, enabling artists, designers, and creatives to experiment with new ideas and concepts quickly.
  • Versatile Applications: Visual ChatGPT has potential applications in various domains, including advertising, media, entertainment, e-commerce, education, and more.

Overall, Visual ChatGPT aims to revolutionize the way humans interact with and generate visual content, providing a powerful and versatile tool for creative expression, productivity, and innovation.

How Does it Differ From AI Image Generators

Visual ChatGPT differs from traditional AI image generators in several key ways:

  • Multimodal Input: While most AI image generators rely solely on text prompts, Visual ChatGPT can accept both text and image inputs. This allows users to provide visual context and reference images, enabling more accurate and relevant image generation.
  • Interactive and Iterative Process: Visual ChatGPT is designed for an interactive and iterative process. Users can provide feedback and additional prompts to refine and improve the generated images, making it a collaborative experience rather than a one-off generation.
  • Context Understanding: Visual ChatGPT uses advanced language models and computer vision techniques to understand the context and nuances of the input text and images.
  • Image Editing and Manipulation: In addition to generating new images from scratch, Visual ChatGPT can also edit and manipulate existing images based on user prompts.
  • Multimodal Outputs: While most AI image generators produce static images, Visual GPT has the potential to generate multimodal outputs, such as animated images, videos, or even 3D models, depending on the specific implementation.
  • Open-Ended Creativity: Visual ChatGPT is designed to be an open-ended creative tool, allowing users to explore and generate a wide range of visual content across various styles, genres, and domains, rather than being limited to specific categories or use cases.
  • Scalability and Adaptability: Visual ChatGPT can be continuously trained and updated with new data and techniques, making it more scalable and adaptable to emerging trends and user needs compared to traditional AI image generators with fixed models.

While AI image generators have been available for some time, Visual GPT represents a more advanced and comprehensive approach to AI-powered visual content generation, combining the strengths of language models, computer vision, and interactive user interfaces.

What Could Visual ChatGPT Be Used For?

Visual ChatGPT has a wide range of potential applications across various domains due to its versatile image generation and manipulation capabilities. Here are some of the key areas where Visual GPT could be used:

Creative Industries

  • Advertising and marketing: Generating visuals for ad campaigns, product mock-ups, and branding materials.
  • Media and entertainment: Creating concept art, storyboards, and visual effects for movies, TV shows, and video games.
  • Fashion and design: Visualizing clothing designs, interior designs, and architectural renderings.

E-commerce and Retail

  • Product visualization: Generating realistic product images for online catalogs and listings.
  • Virtual try-on: Allowing customers to visualize how clothing or accessories would look on them.
  • Personalized product design: Enabling customers to customize and visualize personalized products.

Education and Training

  • Visual learning materials: Creating educational illustrations, diagrams, and animations for textbooks or online courses.
  • Training simulations: Generating realistic scenarios and environments for virtual training programs.

Scientific and Medical Visualization

  • Data visualization: Translating complex data into intuitive visual representations.
  • Medical imaging: Generating synthetic medical images for research or training purposes.

Art and Design

  • Digital art creation: Enabling artists to explore new artistic styles and techniques.
  • Concept visualization: Bringing creative ideas and concepts to life through visual representations.

Social Media and Content Creation

  • Meme and viral content generation: Creating shareable visual content for social media platforms.
  • Personal avatars and digital identities: Generating personalized avatars and visual representations.

Accessibility and Assistive Technologies

  • Visual aids: Generating visual explanations or instructions for users with cognitive or learning disabilities.
  • Alternative image descriptions: Providing visual representations of textual descriptions for visually impaired users.

These are just a few examples, and as the technology continues to evolve, new and innovative applications of Visual GPT are likely to emerge across various industries and domains.


Visual ChatGPT bridges the gap between natural language processing and computer vision by combining language models like ChatGPT with visual foundation models. This enables interactive, intelligent image generation and manipulation through text prompts and visual inputs. Its potential applications span creative industries, e-commerce, education, scientific visualization, and accessibility tech. While relying on underlying model performance and requiring significant computational resources, Visual ChatGPT opens possibilities for creative expression, product visualization, and data representation. As multimodal AI evolves, Visual ChatGPT represents a step towards more natural human-computer interactions, with the potential to transform how we create, communicate, and experience visual content.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is there a visual version of ChatGPT?

A. Yes, the content discusses a system called “Visual ChatGPT” which is a visual version of the ChatGPT language model that can understand and generate images in addition to text.

Q2. Can ChatGPT do visual analysis?

A. The regular version of ChatGPT that is currently available cannot directly analyze or generate images as it is trained primarily on text data. However, the content describes Visual ChatGPT as being able to understand and process both text and image inputs for tasks like image generation, editing, and analysis.

Q3. How do I give visual input to ChatGPT?

A. The regular ChatGPT does not have the capability to receive visual inputs like images. However, as described in the content, Visual ChatGPT allows users to upload reference images along with text prompts to provide visual context for generating or manipulating images.

Q4. Does ChatGPT do images?

A. No, the current version of ChatGPT released by Anthropic cannot generate, edit, or analyze images directly as it is a language model trained primarily on text data. The content discusses Visual ChatGPT as a separate system that incorporates visual foundation models to enable multimodal image and text capabilities.

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Gayathri Nadella 13 Mar 2024

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