Adobe Adds AI Image Generator Firefly to Photoshop

Photoshop users will soon be able to use generative AI to create content with precision like never before.

For every concerning news story about AI, another seems to pop up to counteract it. Adobe’s latest update maintains that cycle.

Despite continuing to fill creatives with a mix of awe and terror, the software giant’s latest update will do nothing to slow the divisive conversation around AI-generated content.

Adobe has just announced it will roll out the generative-AI art software Firefly within Photoshop, through a new tool called Generative Fill. It will allow users to extend images beyond borders, as well as add and remove objects with far more precision than previously available.

How Does Photoshop’s New AI Tool Work?

When first revealed back in March, Firefly stood out from other AI tools with the assurance it wouldn’t infringe upon the existing work of artists and photographers. This should be a comfort to creatives and agencies who are using AI tools tentatively in fear of the potential legal issues.

Instead, Firefly has been trained on commercially safe images, public domain content, openly licensed work, and photos available in Adobe Stock from Photoshop. As with most generative image generators it does particularly well with landscapes, but seems to struggle with text.

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Using natural-language text prompts, users can describe the kind of image or object they want Firefly to create and the tool will get to work. Adobe will automatically add its Content Credentials to any images using the AI features. 

Owing to the unpredictability of AI, safety was understandably a key consideration when creating the tool. Safe results were a priority for Adobe and began right back when the training set was being devised:

“We exclude certain terms and words that we feel aren’t safe. And then we’re even looking into another hierarchy of ‘if Maria selects an area that has a lot of skin in it, maybe right now – and you’ll actually see warning messages at times – we won’t expand a prompt on that one. We just don’t want to go into a place that doesn’t feel comfortable for us.” – Maria Yap, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Adobe

Is Firefly Any Good Though?

There’s no doubt that generative AI tools can be hard to predict and often yield interesting images. But for those who have used or seen the new features in action, the response is generally positive.

Those that were privy to a pre-launch demo seemed impressed, stating that lighting was well handled, even creating natural reflections, and that the tool could seamlessly add objects beyond the original frame.

The legitimate concerns around the tools unpredictability has been somewhat mitigated by Adobe introducing three variations for every prompt.

Firefly’s usefulness doesn’t end with Photoshop, as Adobe has shared its intent to bring its capabilities to photo management tool Lightroom. While timelines on this feature update are yet to be confirmed, considering the AI’s initial positive reception, this rollout is likely to be a priority.

What Does Generative AI Mean For Creatives?

Photoshop is arguably the most revered and powerful image editing tool out there. However, with such capability comes great complexity. This can mean it’s hard and frustrating for new users to learn how to use it.

The ease of simply asking an AI-powered tool to complete complex edits, makes Photoshop more accessible than ever before. And its success is already showing, with over 100 million images already having been created using it.

More than this, integrating Firefly into workflows comes with the hope that’ll act as a “creative co-pilot”, according to Ashley Still, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at Adobe. The speed and ease of this particular generative-AI tool looks set to enhance the user experience more than any before it.

Currently only available to beta users in the web version of Photoshop, wider availability is set to be expected in the “second half of 2023”

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Written by:
Ellis Di Cataldo (MA) has over 9 years experience writing about, and for, some of the world’s biggest tech companies. She's been the lead writer across digital campaigns, always-on content and worldwide product launches, for global brands including Sony, Electrolux, Byrd, The Open University and Barclaycard. Her particular areas of interest are business trends, startup stories and product news.
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