Since the release of ChatGPT in November 2022, generative artificial intelligence has had a significant impact on the strategic direction and adoption of AI in many organisations.

The creative industry is no exception. The availability of DALL:E and Midjourney has expanded the use of AI beyond text to include image generation. Leading companies in the industry are also embracing similar technology to push creativity to the new frontier. Adobe is one such company.

Adobe Firefly

Adobe has always been a leader in developing creative tools for artists. Earlier this year, the company introduced its own AI image generative model called Adobe Firefly. It enables anyone to use AI to easily create and modify photos and designs using text prompts.

“Since the release of our first Firefly image model in March, we’ve been taken aback by the amazing response from the community, who has demonstrated how useful Firefly is to enhancing experimentation and design and speeding up workflows, without compromising creative control,” said David Wadhwani, President, Digital Media Business at Adobe. “With over 3 billion image generations to date, including more than a billion in the last month alone, the early adoption of Firefly demonstrates the unique power of bringing foundation models into the workflows customers know and love.”

More recently, the company made further advancements to Firefly. At Adobe MAX 2023, they announced three new models: Firefly Image 2 Model, Firefly Vector Model, and Firefly Design Model. These models have the potential to change the creative process and provide non-creatives with a taste of creativity.

  • Firefly Image 2 Model: This is a powerful tool for creating images. It’s designed to give users more control and produce higher-quality images. It’s especially good at rendering human figures accurately and making sure text is aligned correctly.
  • Firefly Vector Model: This is the first model focused on creating vector graphics. These are images defined by mathematical formulas, which means they can be resized without losing quality. It’s integrated into Adobe Illustrator, a popular design software, and can be used to make things like logos, website graphics, product packaging, and icons.
  • Firefly Design Model: This model is all about quickly generating top-notch design templates. It’s great for making things like flyers, posters, invitations, and more. It’s seamlessly integrated with Adobe Express and comes with a Text to Template feature, making the design process even more efficient.

These three newly launched Firefly Models are already available for use in Adobe’s Creative Cloud applications along with over 100 AI features. They include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, and Adobe Stock.


Diminished value of creatives

While AI is often viewed as beneficial for accelerating processes and automating tasks, enabling humans to focus on more valuable work, it can still have a negative impact on creative individuals, especially those who depend on income from small to medium enterprises (SMEs).

Image by Adobe

This is because, unlike larger companies, SMEs typically prioritise speed over design quality as competition is high and margin is low. With the ability to utilise Adobe’s tools for creating logo designs, advertisements, social media posts, copywriting, and more, the need for external agencies and freelancers diminishes.

Fortunately, this is not the end of the relationship between creatives and SMEs. Creatives still have a lot to offer, including their creative expertise in creating cohesive visuals that align with the brand identity of the SMEs. They also possess intermediate skills in using Adobe software to make necessary edits, as AI does not always produce perfect designs. Moreover, creatives bring fresh ideas to the table, which is an important catalyst for inputting the right description to guide the creative direction of the AI.

“Adobe product innovations are designed to further enable and empower creatives to deliver their services more quickly. They do not replace the creative thinking, ideas, and originality behind a creative work. That is something valuable and irreplaceable in the design process,” stated Nelson John, Principal Solutions Consultant, Adobe.

Proliferation of deep fakes

Another potential issue of integrating AI into creative tools is the exponential increase of deepfakes. In the past, it was already possible to superimpose faces and clothing onto individuals, but now it has become even more convenient. Simply highlight the area you want to alter, provide the necessary text, and voila!

For instance, in 2022, it was reported that a Singaporean man’s face ended up in deepfake porn videos after he refused to pay a hacker $8,000. More recently, a TikToker was “harassed by anonymous social media users with fake, AI-generated nude images of herself.

Image by Adobe

To counter the enablement of deepfake creators, Adobe created Content Credentials. According to Adobe, Content Credentials allows consumers and media to differentiate between genuine brand-owned or created content and duplicated, replicated, or counterfeit content in a trusted and transparent manner.

In a nutshell, AI-generated images will feature a Content Credential icon, represented by a CR icon. This icon will provide information such as the creator’s name, date, edits made, and tools used. As a result, individuals with malicious intentions can now be traced.

Microsoft, Leica, Canon, Nikon, and Publicis Groupe have already embraced this new credential. Adobe is inviting more partners in the creative community to join them in their efforts to create a better and safer online future.

Double-edged sword dance

The increasing presence of AI in today’s society, both personally and professionally, brings a positive and refreshing change. Adobe Firefly Image 2 Model is well positioned to alter the way creatives work and expand their capabilities to create even more impressive pieces.

However, like any technological advancement, there is always a downside: misuse. Fortunately, Adobe and many other organisations are constantly working to develop solutions to prevent and combat the use of their technology for illicit activities by individuals with malicious intentions. Content Credentials is a great start.

This ongoing battle between ethical and non-ethical users is likely to have no end due to us, humans. It is a complex issue with no clear resolution, akin to a double-edged sword dance.

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