Do you remember the joy of receiving a new set of coloured pencils as a child? There was a thrill of pleasure in testing out the colours, and a sense of the possibilities offered by the box. It was almost magic. 

Marius Hauken’s review of AI tools offers the same kind of magic. This twitter thread explores new ways to do familiar tasks, such as searches, cropping photos and editing music and videos—and without having to hunt them down yourself! Here’s our summary of his suggestions.

Lex @lexdotpage

Lex is an auto-complete tool for writers—but with capacities far beyond predictive text. You type a few words then add +++, and Lex will offer you text to auto-complete your work. New writers may find it a helpful way to brainstorm ideas. More experienced writers may find it useful for getting past a temporary case of writers’ block. You can also click a spinner to generate some title suggestions. Even if you are sceptical about whether AI can ever replace human writers, it might give you a different slant to your thinking.

Runway @runwayml

Runway is a content creation tool for images and videos. It has around 30 different possibilities, so there’s plenty of room to play. Type a text prompt and you are offered images that you can then modify, removing and adding backgrounds and objects, changing the style, extending the picture frame to imagined landscapes beyond, adding 3D texture and more. You can also edit your video, including through slow motion, subtitling, removing silence and background noise and easy splitting. It would be worth exploring how much fine control Runway offers over images and videos. The portrait generator also looks powerful, though you have to pay $10 before you can see the result. Runway rivals several pricier photography and videography tools in terms of technical skills, and offers plenty of scope to budding creators. 

DiffusionBee @diffusionbee 

DiffusionBee is another image-based system. Type in a description and it will generate a picture for you. It’s creative, and fun, though may yet be absorbed into another app like Runway. At the moment, it’s free of charge for Mac IOS, so test away and help the developers push its boundaries. 

4 LexicaArt @LexicaArt

LexicaArt lets you peek into other people’s projects to generate more ideas for your own via a search engine. You can also request variations using the prompt. It’s great if your ideas feel a bit stale, because you can search images manually until you get a better idea of what you want. Click on your chosen image, and you are then invited to explore this style in other images. 

5 Metaphor @metaphorsystems

Metaphor is another search engine, refreshingly free of ad pushing. It is based on generative AI, so creative search prompts let your ideas take wing across the web to find interesting information. It’s a new way of searching using idea association. Metaphor helps you shape a prompt and generate the next search. You can’t register at the moment but you can play with the templates on the website. 


Sounddraw is a bit like Mac music software with a search built in. It is a music generator, so you can find unique pieces of music for your video projects. All content is IP-free and highly editable, allowing you to change the tempo, mood, length and flavour of the soundtrack. You might not find your exact music style here and there could be subtler control on beat, but it provides an impressive array of genres. 

ClipDrop Relight @clipdropapp

ClipDrop Relight allows you to move the light source around in a photo using a cute little spotlight tool. It’s fun and much more intuitive than sliding scales and mouse pointers. Select any image and ClipDrop will remove the background, so it’s great for montages and photo editing. There is also a custom tool that maps depth in your pictures.  

Talk to books 

This Google app allows you to get relevant quotes from more than 100,000 books. It responds to natural text so you don’t have to think in search engine mode. You just write a statement or question, and up will pop the answer. At the moment, the number of books is limited—and that affects the search for more rarefied topics. However, it seems likely that Google will be adding to it in future. 

 We’ll cover ChatGPT in more detail later after a few experiments. In the meantime, what tools have you been found useful?