Is Adobe Firefly Killing Midjourney, DALL.E?

Firefly adds metadata to its images and is trained on their own stock images, protecting creators' rights.
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Adobe has been a popular choice for designers for ages. However, two years ago, when OpenAI brought generative AI into the design world with DALL.E,  it took the world by storm. 

On the other hand, when Adobe introduced its Firefly generative AI service in March, it received a pretty lukewarm response as designers felt that it was not worth the hype. But just last week, Adobe surprised everyone by revealing the new Generative Fill’ feature in Photoshop, posing a threat to the generative AI design startups like DALL.E, Midjourney, and Stable Diffusion.

Read more: Design Wars: Microsoft Designer vs Canva

Generative Fill: Boon for Adobe

Built on NVIDIA Picasso, Firefly’s generative fill is a game-changer. It enhances the design process by transforming interactive elements into photorealistic images and enabling the creation of fresh styles. 

The Generative Fill tool removes unwanted objects from photos while preserving their aesthetic appeal. It also generates detailed artwork from text prompts and allows customisation of vectors, brushes, and textures. Apart from this, Adobe Firefly also revamps content creation for social media and marketing, generating distinctive posters, banners, and social media posts from text prompts.

Adobe is excelling in generative AI for several reasons. Additionally, Adobe stands out with its great user interface (UI), exemplified by Adobe Firefly, which offers an intuitive design and helpful prompts for users unfamiliar with AI. A twitter user pointed out that her Adobe’s UI is so smooth and easy that even her 73 year old artist friend could figure it out in one go. 

Furthermore, Adobe’s popular software, Photoshop, integrates advanced generative AI features like inpainting and outpainting, similar to DALL.E and Stable Diffusion.

Leading in a Packed Market?

Firefly isn’t alone in the gen AI design application market. Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and DALL.E have been leading players in the market. But looks like, it is changing.

Canva introduced an AI image generator using Stable Diffusion, while Microsoft Designer uses OpenAI’s DALL.E 2 with a method called unCLIP. 

While Microsoft Designer has targeted consumers initially, it may soon expand to the enterprise sector. It uses DALL.E 2, which is trained on stock images, making it suitable for corporate use. 

Stable Diffusion, on the other hand, is fully open source, while DALL.E 2 and Midjourney are not. Due to this, Canva’s usage of Stable Diffusion excels in detailed artistic illustrations but struggles with complex prompts and generic images like logos. To make things worse, it has also generated inappropriate content. Additionally, amid the GPT-4 craze, OpenAI has forgotten about DALL.E as there have been no recent updates on it. However, the choice between DALL.E 2 and Stable Diffusion depends on user needs. 

Nevertheless, Adobe brings the best of both worlds with Firefly. Adobe’s decision to develop Adobe Firefly as a separate free product has also proven strategic, allowing users to try generative AI without a subscription and enticing them to become subscribers after experiencing the product. 

Lastly, Adobe’s collaborations with Google and NVIDIA further strengthen their position. Partnering with Google ensures safe AI development while leveraging NVIDIA’s expertise in training models enhances the quality of generated images. Through its focus on commercial safety, transparency, user-friendly interfaces, integrated AI features, free offerings, and strategic collaborations, Adobe has emerged as a frontrunner in the field of generative AI.

Read more: Lessons from YouTube for Gen AI Copyright Mess

Adobe is Winning the Copyright Game

AI copyright is the current buzzword. The need to regulate AI has sparked a global debate. Italy banned ChatGPT for privacy concerns, while the EU is introducing the AI Act. The US released a blueprint for an AI Bill of Rights, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman called for a new government agency to regulate large AI models.

However, artists have been protesting against the same for a while now. AI-generated content has faced opposition from Shutterstock, Getty Images, as well as artists who see it as a threat to their intellectual property. Adobe has also been very vocal about the same as echoed by Adobe’s chief product officer, Scott Belsky, “We have never, ever used anything in our storage to train a generative AI model.”

Adobe is clearly winning the copyright game by training its generative AI model on a dataset based on Adobe Stock, along with openly licensed work and public domain content where the copyright has expired. Additionally, Adobe emphasises transparency by actively participating in the Content Authenticity Initiative, which aims to make content more transparent and trustworthy.

Firefly has also incorporated metadata into the images that it generates. This metadata includes information about the source of the image, the AI model that was used to generate the image, and can be used to identify AI-generated artwork and to protect the rights of the creators.

The incorporation of generative AI in Adobe builds on its existing capabilities in addition to upholding copyright integrity, positioning it as a huge threat to alternative image generators.  

Read more: Stuck in Traffic? Blame it on BMTC

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Shritama Saha
Shritama is a technology journalist who is keen to learn about AI and analytics play. A graduate in mass communication, she is passionate to explore the influence of data science on fashion, drug development, films, and art.

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