4 Game-Changing Use Cases of ControlNet for Artists, Designers, Marketers, and Beyond

ControlNet is a Stable Diffusion model that lets you copy compositions or human poses from a reference image. Many have said it’s one of the best models in the AI image generation so far. You can use it along with the text-to-image and image-to-image. ControlNet adds an additional layer of control on image generation, making it easier to get what you want.
In this beginner-friendly post, you will learn more about ControlNet, its great use cases in different industries, and all the practical tips to best leverage it to 10x your productivity and creativity. Of course, you can easily use all the things we will demo on OpenArt. We will walk you through how to use it – no local installs or technical expertise are required.

How it works

ControlNet works in 2 steps:

  • Step 1: detect outlines of the given image and save it as an annotated image, aka control map. This step is called annotation or preprocessing.
  • Step 2: feed the control map to the ControlNet model and generate a new image based on the ControlNet and the given prompt.
Image source

There have been some revolutionary use cases with ControlNet and we will go through a few outstanding examples.

Use case 1: Sketch Rendering for Artists

For all the artists and designers out there, you cannot miss this use case! If you have a black-and-white sketch without colors, ControlNet can effortlessly transform it into a vibrant and fully-colored render. 

In this example, we use ControlNet to turn a sketch of a girl into fully-rendered images with a very simple prompt.

As you can see, you can get various styles of images and most importantly these are generated within seconds! It not only helps you instantly visualize what your sketch could look like with colors but also shows you possibilities you might never have thought of. Get ready to be amazed!
You can easily turn a sketch into a fully-rendered image on OpenArt by using ControlNet. You can use Lineart or Canny as the annotation method and upload an image.

You can easily turn a sketch into a fully-rendered image on OpenArt by using ControlNet. You can use Lineart or Canny as the annotation method and upload an image.

Use case 2: Product Design for Product Designers

Another more specific use case of sketches to rendering is product design. Consider the scenario where you are tasked with designing a captivating package for an upcoming perfume release. To expedite the inspiration process, you can effortlessly sketch a basic outline of a perfume bottle and rely on the AI to ideate on your behalf, facilitating swift and innovative design exploration.

As you can see, ControlNet can generate designs of different textures, vibes, and contexts. It allows designers to swiftly explore and express their creative concepts. to quickly visualize their ideas.

Use case 3: Renovation Ideas for Interior Designers

The interior design rendering could easily take days and requires a lot of creativity. However, ControlNet is a game-changer!

Following is an example of how ControlNet completely transformed a mediocre living room into astonishing renovated rooms.

For interior design, we recommend using Depth mode for the annotation mode.

Use case 4: Stock image variations for Marketers

Marketers could easily spend hours searching for the perfect stock images to use. However, with ControlNet, you can make your own perfect image within seconds.

Suppose you come across a stock image that appeals to you. However, instead of a woman, you require a man in the image, and you also wish to incorporate a purple color tone to align with your brand’s color scheme. In such a scenario, you can utilize ControlNet to customize the image according to your preferences.

You can go further by leveraging the composition to create completely different styles of images. For example, if you use the Anything V3 model, you can generate anime images like below.

To do this on OpenArt, simply choose Openpose mode when using ControlNet.

Pro tip – Editing with Inpainting

Oftentimes AI cannot generate perfect images, even with ControlNet. What if you get an image that is almost perfect, but you wish the fingers are not messed up or the eyes look better?

The left image was originally generated by AI and the right one was generated by inpainting the women’s hand from the left image. As you can see, the hand looks way more natural after the fix.

To use inpainting, simply choose “Edit” on OpenArt.

How to Choose the Annotation Mode

On OpenArt, we provide 6 different annotation modes. How do you choose among them? Here’s a table that helps you decide based on your use cases.

Annotation modeWhat it doesWhen to use it
CannyExtracts the outlines of an image.A good general-purpose annotation method to retrain the composition.
DepthEstimates the depth information from the reference image.Great for interior design, buildings, and street scenes.
Lineart/Lineart animeRenders the outline of an imageGreat for anime and art.
ScribbleTurns a picture into a scribble, like those drawn by handGenerally produces cleaner lines with fewer details so use this if you intend to keep fewer details in the image.
OpenposeDetects the human’s position.Great for portraits or any images involving people.


If you read here so far, you should definitely give ControlNet a try on OpenArt. We’d love to hear how you have leveraged ControlNet to improve your workflow and become 10x more productive and creative. Join our Discord to share more! You can reach out to the team on Discord and we would love to hear your use cases and feedback. You may even get an opporunity to get featured on our blog.

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