Ultimate Leonardo AI Review: Every Tool Tried and Compared

Most experienced users agree that Midjourney is the best AI image generator in the game.

But what if it had a rival?

Leonardo AI has positioned itself as a solid competitor to the gold standard set by Midjourney – with high quality generations, alongside some neat features you won’t find anywhere else.

In this Leonardo AI review, I’ve put Leonardo’s features to the test, and made side-by-side comparisons with the other top AI art tools on the market so you can see for yourself.

If you’re on the fence about Leonardo, this article will help guide your decision. πŸ‘‡

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What is Leonardo AI?

Leonardo AI is an artificial intelligence powered art and graphics tool that allows you to generate and upscale images, create animations, and even train their own AI models.

It comes with a set of tools to help create unique production-quality visual assets that have never been seen before.

Leonardo AI is involved in all aspects of AI generated art, from character design and game assets to marketing materials and architectural drawings.

Even though Leonardo features such advanced AI capability, it remains accessible for all users with it’s aesthetic and simple user interface (with some minor exceptions).

Like all tools, I loved some things about Leonardo, and there were some features I didn’t like so much. πŸ‘‡

What I Love About Leonardo AI

  • Image Generation: Leonardo generates high quality AI images that are competitive with the best out there. Some Leonardo images are arguably better than the gold standard set by Midjourney.

  • Ease of Use: The Leonardo web app is intuitive and easy on the eye. Everything is where it should be so you don’t have to waste much time getting started.

  • Customization: The app have a massive range of settings that you can tweak if you want to fine tune your images I love how seamless it is to use advanced features, or ignore them completely if you want to move fast – it’s up to you.

  • Versatility: Honestly there isn’t much Leonardo can’t do. Products, landscapes, anime, cityscapes, abstract, horror, sci-fi, you name it. Not to mention you can make short animations with all your creations too. I’m very impressed by Leonardo’s versatility.

What I Don’t Like About Leonardo AI

  • Permutation Prompts: I’m a Midjourney fanboy at heart and I love permutation prompts. Something I couldn’t figure out how to do with Leonardo. Not a massive negative but a similar feature would be nice.

  • Unintuitive Realtime Canvas: I understand this is a relatively new tool and as cool as it is, I found it pretty unintuitive when it came to actually refining images to what I wanted.

  • Misses the Mark: Sometimes Leonardo misses the mark regarding key phrases and terms used in your text prompt. Not a huge issue but it is something I noticed Leonardo doesn’t do as well as other tools at times.

Getting Started with Leonardo AI

Once you’ve signed up with Leonardo (they have a free plan) you’ll land on the Leonardo app homepage.

Leonardo Main Page User Interface

Here’s where you can choose from the range of tools Leonardo has to offer or browse through the community creations section for inspiration.

Leonardo Community Images

Let’s take a closer look at each of Leonardo’s features.

Image Generation

Clicking over to the image generation tab in Leonardo you might be initially overwhelmed by the number of options to choose from – but not to worry, it’s simpler than it first appears.

Leonardo Image Generation user interface

To get started right away, simply type a description of your image in the “Type a prompt” bar at the top of the screen and click generate.

Moving to the toolbar on the left you can change a number of key features that might be useful depending on your needs:

Leonardo Image Generation controls menu
  • Number of Images: Control the number of images the AI will generate every time you click “Generate”. Take note the more images you generate the more credits it will cost.
  • PhotoReal: Click the slider if you’re trying to generate photorealistic stock style images of people or landscapes.
  • Alchemy: Checked by default, Alchemy is Leonardo’s latest image creation process model.
  • Transparency: Transparency is a beta feature that allows you to generate AI images with a transparent background. I really like this feature by Leonardo and I haven’t seen it anywhere else.
  • Public Images: Click the slider to turn this off if you don’t want your generations appearing in the community section. Note that you can only turn public images off on a paid plan.
  • Input Dimensions: This changes the dimensions of the base image generation the AI uses. Just leave this unless you need a very high-quality image. Also note, changing the input dimensions can either increase or decrease the credits required per generation.
  • Advanced Controls: Not sure why this is considered an advanced control, but here’s where you can change the aspect ratio of your images.
  • Guidance Scale: This scale controls how heavily your prompt weighting is on the image generation. The default setting of 7 should be fine for most users. Increase the value if the AI isn’t recognizing specifics in your prompt.
  • Tiling: Check this slider if you’re making repeating patterns and tile designs.
  • Reset to Defaults: Click this if you changed a bunch of setting and want to reset to the Leonardo default.

Getting started, most of these settings won’t matter too much to you, but it’s great that they’re available for advanced users

Consistent Characters

Leonardo have just released a character reference feature allowing you to generate consistent characters from a base image.

Character Reference from Leonardo AI

From your reference image, characters can be output in different poses, compositions and styles, and the face is consistently represented.

This is exciting news as consistent characters is a frequently discussed issue among users of AI image generators.

Realtime Canvas

Realtime canvas is an incredibly cool feature in Leonardo.

Realtime Canvas allows you to paint basic shapes as the AI turns them into images in real time, guided from a text prompt.

To be honest, the layout of the real-time canvas section isn’t very intuitive, so I’ll try to break it down for you here.

Leonardo real-time Canvas user interface

The Realtime Canvas workflow looks like this:

  • Launch it: Access Realtime Canvas from the main page by clicking on the Realtime Canvas option in the left sidebar.

  • Draw it: Use the brush tool to draw, select a color, and if you have a specific idea, enter a prompt. Your drawing will update in real-time. Use the vertical slider on the left to adjust the drawing tip’s size. When you’re happy with the output, click “Output to Input” – this brings your real-time generation into the left hand editing panel. If you want to make further adjustments, click “Inpaint”.

  • Tweak it: Adjust settings like Guidance, Style preset, and Creativity Strength to influence the output. If you’re a paid user, you can enable High Quality for better results.

  • Save it: Click on Upscale Image to save and upscale your artwork to your Personal Feed, or use Instant Refine for immediate refinement and download the result directly.

Let’s try an example.

Drawing a Beach Scene with Realtime Canvas

  • Add Your Prompt: In the prompt field I just wrote “beach sunset”. Notice how dark the image is? That’s because our guide image on the left is still all black.

Drawing a Beach Scene with Realtime Canvas - Step 1
  • Add Your Layout: I added some Yellow for the sand and Sun, and some Blue for the water.

Drawing a Beach Scene with Realtime Canvas - Step 2
  • Adjust Your Layout: Let’s say I wanted the Sun on the right hand side? Easy, just click undo, then draw your sun in again.

  • Creativity Strength: Adjust this slider to adjust creativity strength. The lower it is, the closer your output image will be to your sketch.

  • Inpaint: Click the “Output to Input” button if you want to move your output image into the left hand side edit panel. Swap over to “Inpaint” to make real-time adjustments to your new base image.

Overall, an extremely cool tool that needs more work to make it a bit more user friendly.

Canvas Editor

The Canvas Editor offers very similar functionality to Realtime Canvas – with the obvious difference being that it’s not in real time, alongside the addition of a few more detailed settings.

I used the canvas editor mainly for the Inpaint functionality and to be honest I wasn’t overly impressed.

Again, it wasn’t the most intuitive experience (had to take a quick look at a YouTube video to confirm what I was doing) but once I knew what I was doing it wasn’t so bad.

Once I was up and running, the results were good, but not breathtaking.

To give an example, check out the images below. I used Inpaint with an identical prompt in Leonardo, Midjourney, and Adobe Firefly. πŸ‘‡

Leonardo Canvas Editor Inpaint comparison with Midjourney, and Adobe Firefly

Noting it took me a good 15 minutes to get this far with Leonardo, whereas Midjourney and Firefly images were within the first few generations.


The Motion tool is really where Leonardo has excelled it’s competitors.

I really enjoyed using the Motion tool in Leonardo.

It’s super simple (maybe even too simple) and generates some really cool animations from your base images.

Here’s an example of what Leonardo can do against RunwayML’s Gen-2 text-to-image tool. πŸ‘‡

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I did notice Leonardo have removed the ability to generate video from a text prompt – only image to video is available at the moment.

Hopefully they bring it back soon!

Realtime Generation

I love this tool!

Realtime Generation is a real-time generation tool that creates images as you type them.

It’s incredibly useful for seeing the impact different words and phrases have in your prompt.

Check out this video showing the Realtime Generation tool at work as I typed the prompt “Draw me a cityscape of Paris in the Winter of 1910”. πŸ‘‡

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Super impressed with this one.

If you’re looking to level up your prompt engineering skills, spend some time in Leonardo’s Realtime Generation tool.

Universal Upscaler

The Universal Upscaler allows you to improve the quality and size of images.

It’s a great tool if you’re looking to improve the quality of old 2000’s era images taken on old digital cameras.

Play with the Creativity Strength slider as I found that the generated images looked a bit fake using the default setting.

Finetuned Models

Finetuned Models from Leonardo AI

Finetuned models are an awesome way to get specific with your AI generated images.

It’s also a great place to check out if your looking for some inspiration when generating images.

You can choose from Platform Model, Leonardo AI Community Models, your own personal models, and your favorited models.

If you’re ever stuck for inspiration head over to the Finetuned Models section in Leonardo. πŸ‘

Training & Datasets

Ever wanted to make an AI generated headshot or LinkedIn profile picture? Well Leonardo’s Training & Datasets tool allows this.

It can also be used for training custom models with specific styles, consistent character designs, or other personalized branding and marketing content.

To get started creating your own Leonardo AI model, click over to Training & Datasets, click New Dataset, and begin uploading your training images.

The more images you can provide, the better.

Submit your model for training and once it’s complete you’ll receive an email. Once that’s done, click over to the image generation tab.

Click the dropdown arrow and scroll to the bottom where you’ll see “”Select Other Model”, click the “Your Models” tab, choose your model, and start prompting!

I love that Leonardo have made this so easy.

Leonardo AI Pricing

Leonardo Monthly Pricing blocks

Leonardo offers 4 pricing tiers:

  • Free: Experience basic features in Leonardo with 150 free fast tokens – enough for about 10 to 15 image generations depending on your settings.

  • Apprentice: This plan gives 8,500 fast tokens, allows private generations, train 10 models per month with 2 concurrent generations.

  • Artisan Unlimited: Artisan Unlimited gives 25,000 fast tokens and everything in the Apprentice plan plus unlimited relaxed generations when your fast credits run out.

  • Maestro Unlimited: 60,000 fast tokens, unlimited relaxed image and video generation, 50 models per month, and 6 concurrent generations.

For casual users the Apprentice plan should be enough as 8,500 credits goes a long way. If you’re a serious user that plans on generating content daily, opt for either the Artisan or Maestro pricing plans.

How Does Leonardo AI Compare? (Prompt Examples)

So we’ve seen a few comparisons throughout the article so far but I want to include a few more Leonardo AI examples here.

Let’s generate some images using default settings for all models with an identical prompt.

I’ll let you be the judge!

Leonardo AI Vs. Midjourney

Leonardo Vs Midjourney 01
STYLE: Close-up shot | GENRE: Gourmet | EMOTION: Tempting | SCENE: A plate of freshly grilled fish and chips with seasoning and garnish | TAGS: High-end food photography, clean composition, dramatic lighting, luxurious, elegant, mouth-watering, indulgent, gourmet | CAMERA: Nikon Z7 | FOCAL LENGTH: 105mm | SHOT TYPE: Close-up | COMPOSITION: Centered | LIGHTING: Soft, directional | PRODUCTION: Food Stylist| TIME: Evening
Leonardo Vs Midjourney 02
tattoo flash design of a skull with flowers coming out of its head, in black and white ink tattoo style, clean white background
Leonardo Vs Midjourney 03
a puppy happy with excitement, in the style of cartoon realism, disney animation, hyper-realistic portraits, 32k uhd, cute cartoonish designs, wallpaper, luminous brushwork

Leonardo AI vs Dall-E 3

Leonardo Vs DallE3 01
professional photograph of organic pea protein powder packaged in high end packaging - recyclable material, eye level, warm cinematic, Sony A7 105mm, close-up, centered shot, octane render
Leonardo Vs DallE3 02
A candid shot of young best friends dirty, at the skatepark, natural afternoon light, Canon EOS R5, 100mm, F 1.2 aperture setting capturing a moment, cinematic
Leonardo Vs DallE3 03
a worker mascot for a futuristic manufacturing company, simple, line art, iconic, vector art, flat design, sky blue theme, creamy beige background

Leonardo AI vs Ideogram

Leonardo Vs Ideogram 01
a polaroid capture of high school lovers happy on the car bonnet, late 1960s America, flash photography
Leonardo Vs Ideogram 02
A cute chibi magical girl with pink hair, wearing a frilly dress, holding a star wand, surrounded by sparkles, intricate manga illustration
Leonardo Vs Ideogram 03
A chalkboard silhouette outline drawing of a Leopard face front on, white chalk art, chalk sketch, blackboard

What are People Saying About Leonardo AI?

Overall, Leonardo AI has received mixed reviews, with a low overall rating in general.

Users appreciate the platform’s AI features for generating quality images and creative assets.

David Monrad Positive Leonardo AI Trustpilot Review

However, numerous complaints focus on poor customer service, describing it as unresponsive and unreliable.

Despite its technical capabilities, the inconsistent customer support experience has led many users to label the service as a scam.

Lana Lana Negative Leonardo AI Trustpilot Review

By looking at the review, Leonardo seriously need to allocate some budget to their Customer Service team right away!

Further Leonardo AI Learning Resources

If you’re looking to learn more about the technical sides of Leonardo and level up your prompt engineering and AI art generation game there’s heaps of free and paid online resources to get you started.

Leonardo Wiki

The Leonardo Wiki features workflows and guides from community mentors.

It’s lacking in volume right now but the guide that are there are well written.


Like most things, YouTube is an excellent resource for Leonardo AI tutorials and other resources.

If you ever get stuck on Leonardo tool or feature head over to YouTube!

There are heaps of paid courses for Leonardo available on websites like Udemy and TutorialsPoint.

If you want to really take a deep dive into what Leonardo can do, a paid course might be right for you.

Leonardo AI Review: Final Thoughts

I’ve taken a deep dive in this Leonardo AI review, trying out the tools and comparing them to other AI art tools on the market.

Overall, Leonardo is one of the best tools on the market for AI image generation, modification, and video generation.

Leonardo has some impressive features that are unique to the platform like Realtime Canvas, and Realtime Generations.

In my opinion, the quality of Leonardo’s images lacks in some cases when compared to other tools BUT, with the right tweaking of the settings you can usually create images that are on par tools like Midjourney.

Leonardo AI Review FAQs

How do I cancel my Leonardo AI Subscription?

Click premium plans > Manage Subscription > Cancel Your Subscription.

You’ll be directed to Stripe where you can cancel your plan.

You’ll still be able to use Leonardo until your credits expire, or your paid billing period finishes.

Who owns the images and AI art generated with Leonardo?

AI grants you full ownership of all exclusive rights, terms of use, and proprietary interests in the results acquired through the services upon your action.

As a user of an AI platform, you own all content created through your account. 

How do I signup for a trial account?

Simply sign up and you’ll be automatically started out on a trial account.

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