Adobe launches new AI image generation tools to compete with AI startups challenging its core business

Text-based AI image generation is about a year old with tools from Midjourney and Stable Diffusion dominating the space. These AI-powered tools have since posed a significant challenge to Adobe, a company whose core customer base consists mainly of creative professionals who heavily rely on its software suite, including the iconic Photoshop. Now, the creative software powerhouse is fighting back.

Today, Adobe unveiled a suite of AI-driven image generation tools as it confronts growing competition from agile startups challenging its core business. In addition to the rollout, Adobe also introduced tools for generating vector graphics, perfect for resizing and widely used in logos and product labels. The company also presented tools for creating templates for brochures and various other items.

Powered by Adobe’s Sensei AI platform, Adobe said the tools empower users to craft images from textual descriptions, upscale images without sacrificing quality, and effortlessly remove unwanted elements from visuals. The San Jose, California-based company said the new image-generation technology can “draw inspiration from an uploaded image and match its style.”

The launch coincides with Adobe facing heightened competition from startups like DALL-E 2 and Imagen, which offer comparable AI image generation capabilities. These startups have garnered favor among both creative professionals and enthusiasts due to their ability to conjure high-quality images with minimal input. Over the past few months, Adobe has responded vigorously by actively developing its proprietary iteration of this technology and seamlessly integrating it into its suite of software programs.

In a strategic move, Adobe, renowned for its Creative Cloud suite of design software, has also designed its new AI image generation tools to be more accessible and user-friendly than rival offerings. Integrated seamlessly into Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, users can access these tools from within the familiar Photoshop and Illustrator interfaces. Furthermore, Adobe has simplified the AI image generation initiation process by providing an array of templates and presets.

Adobe’s introduction of these AI image-generation tools underscores the company’s commitment to thriving in this swiftly evolving market. These tools provide Adobe customers with a potent arsenal for crafting and enhancing images, positioning the company ahead of the competition in an increasingly competitive landscape.

Adobe also assures its customers of the legal compliance of generated images. The company reported that a staggering three billion images were produced using its tools, with a billion of them in just the past month.

The latest tools unveiled on Tuesday introduce a feature called “Generative Match.” Similar to Adobe’s earlier offering, it enables users to create images from brief text descriptions. However, it takes a step further, allowing users to upload a minimal set of 10 to 20 images as a reference for generating new ones.

Ely Greenfield, Adobe’s Chief Technology Officer for digital media, outlined their ambition to facilitate major brands in uploading a handful of product or character photos. Subsequently, generative technology can automatically generate hundreds or even thousands of images tailored for diverse purposes, including websites, social media campaigns, and print ads.

Greenfield emphasized the evolution from a formerly manual and labor-intensive process of photo acquisition and processing to a future where virtual photography and generative technology play pivotal roles. The hybrid approach will involve both traditional creative work and adaptation through generative technology.

“Up until a few months ago, it was still a very manual process to get all those photos – not only to take the photos but then to process them,” Greenfield told Reuters.

“Some amount of photography is going to move to virtual photography, where you’re generating from whole cloth. But a lot of it also is going to be, you do some amount of traditional photography or traditional creative work, and then you do a bunch of adaptation using this generative technology.”

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