Adobe brings Generative AI to Photoshop

Adobe has thrown a grenade at the heart of the creative industries with the introduction of generative AI-driven features in the latest beta of its classic creative application, Photoshop.

What is Generative Fill AI in Photoshop?

Generative Fill lets users make major edits to images using text-based queries. Basically, you can tell Photoshop what you want, grabbing items from an image and placing them in AI-created environments such as alleys, caves, or under the Northern Lights.

Generative Fill can add, extend, or remove content from images non-destructively in seconds using text prompts. It is smart enough to automatically match perspective, lighting, and style of images so it can provide good results.

The tool uses Firefly, Adobe's generative AI technology being deployed across the veteran developer's industry standard fleet of creative apps. These technologies will be put in place across its entire Creative Cloud workflow, the company said.

The beta release of Photoshop is Adobe's first Creative Cloud application to integrate Firefly, though it's worth pointing out the company has been integrating AI in its products ever since it introduced Adobe Sensei. Generative Fill is also available as a new module in the Firefly beta for users interested in testing the new capabilities on the web - and seems likely to work even faster on Apple Silicon than on other platforms.

Copyright wars may intensify

In a sense, the rollout was inevitable. Adobe has been working on Firefly for some time and introduced its initial deployments across its products earlier this year. The company says these AI-augmented creative application betas have turned out to be some of the most successful beta launches in company history.

It does look like Adobe has attempted to stay ahead of some of the complaints being raised against other generative AI models by ensuring the assets used to train FireFly are within its own copyright control, which means it used Adobe Stock images, openly licensed, and public domain content to do so.

All the same time, creatives are very likely to feel threatened by these tools, the power and effect of which must be seen in action to be believed. That makes it probable that while Adobe has worked to ensure content created does not infringe copyright, there will be challenges.

The company is trying to pre-empt any such complaints. Generative Fill supports Content Credentials, which it calls "nutrition labels" for digital content. These remain connected to the content and let people know the origin (AI, human, otherwise) of that media. The idea is that the system should help creatives maintain control.

Marketing materials are a text instruction away

Enterprise users will want to consider another aspect to the launch. Adobe says enterprises will be able to extend Firefly with their own creative collateral in order to generate content that includes a company's images, vectors, and brand language.

This essentially suggests that creating new brand marketing materials will be a few text-based instructions away to any Creative Cloud user, though as usual, when everyone is creating such assets victory will go to those with the best human soft skill of good taste.

What Adobe says

"By integrating Firefly directly into workflows as a creative co-pilot, Adobe is accelerating ideation, exploration and production for all of our customers," said Ashley Still, senior vice president, Digital Media at Adobe.

Given the current focus on Generative AI there is little doubt that the addition of Generative editing tools in Photoshop will dominate reporting of this important release, but additional improvements available in the current beta include new Adjustment Presets, Contextual Task Bar, Remove Tool, and Enhanced Gradients.

Photoshop's Generative Fill feature is available in the desktop beta app today and will be generally available in the second half of 2023. Generative Fill is also available today as a module within the Firefly beta.

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