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Adobe Firefly: What Should We Do When Adobe Jumped on the AI Band Wagon?

Mar 24, 2023

Let me take you on a journey back in time, more than 20 years ago. It was the beginning of my digital art journey.

I still remember the excitement I felt when I opened the software for the very first time. Back then, I used to draw my illustrations with a tiny pencil on a piece of paper. And when it was time to color my work, I relied on a tool called a scanner. (Do you remember those?) I would scan my illustration and then use Photoshop to bring it to life with color.

Looking back, I realize that those early days were just the beginning of an incredible digital art adventure, one that continues to inspire me to this day.

Now, the artificial intelligence (AI) has arrived. The advent of AI has brought about a monumental shift in the creative community.

The world as we knew it has changed, and the impact of AI is undeniable. It's hard to wrap our heads around the fact that we no longer have to rely solely on our own skills to create stunning illustrations. The very notion of it may seem crazy and difficult to accept, but the truth is, AI has changed the game forever.

The impact of AI goes beyond just the creative community, as it also raises ethical and moral questions about its use. Some argue that AI will result in many artists losing their jobs and that it's essentially art theft. Others view AI as harmful and evil, and they believe that anyone who uses it should be shunned. I've personally experienced the heat of this debate, and it's been a topic of much discussion in the industry.


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However, despite these controversies, Adobe, the very first company that I used their software to kickstarted my art career, has fully embraced AI.

Recently, Adobe has announced their new AI platform named Adobe Firefly. It's a bold move, but one that demonstrates the power and potential of this technology to revolutionize the creative world.

So, the question is: Should we fully embrace this change and move forward with Adobe, despite the many controversial issues surrounding AI? Is it really okay to do so?

To find out the answer, let's take a closer look to what Adobe did with Adobe Firefly.

Adobe Firefly: The take on the Generative AI trend of Adobe

So, what exactly is Firefly?  It's a new range of creative generative AI models that Adobe is introducing to their products. Firefly is a web-based generative AI  platform with a particular focus on generating image, text effects, photo, and video editing. It is expected to improve creative workflows and provide new ways to ideate and create, enabling people to bring their ideas into the world with greater precision.

This technology builds on Adobe's decades-long experience in software development, reflecting its ongoing commitment to empowering individuals to fully boost their creative potential. Firefly is in the beta phase and you need to subscribe to their waitlist to use this tool.

An AI image generator from Adobe Building for creators

From what I've gathered, Adobe Firefly uses Stable Diffusion technology under the hood. This means that Firefly offers functions that are similar to Stable Diffusion, such as inpainting, outpainting, image to image, controlnet, depth map, and more.

In general, if you're using Stable Diffusion, there isn't anything completely new about Adobe Firefly. However, what Adobe has done is transform the Stable Diffusion technology into an easy-to-use format and created their own trained models. We'll dive into this more in a bit, but first let's take a look at the standout features of Firefly.

Adobe Firefly Highlight

Here are the highlight tools we can see from the Adobe Firefly official website.

Text-to-Image Generator

This feature is a straightforward text-to-image generator, but what makes it interesting is its ability to generate images in layers. This makes it incredibly simple to create and modify illustrations or any other type of image from the initial concept.

Text-to-Vector Generator

Not only generating images but Firefly has an ability to generate vector file using AI as well.

AI Photo Editor

With the power of Stable Diffusion under the hood, Firefly has an ability to quick edit images using in painting and out painting like this.

Vector, Brushes, and Texture Generator

Based on the video I watched, this tool can generate vectors from your rough sketches. It seems to be very useful for logo design work, as you can quickly generate a vector from a rough sketch and then edit it as needed.

AI Video Editor

This tool can help you alter the ambiance, scenery, emotion, and style of your video. I was amazed by the video demo showcasing how advanced this AI video editor has become in such a short time.

Posters, Banners, and Social Posts Generator

This tool allows you to create posters, banners, social media posts and other similar content by giving it a text prompt. You can even upload a mood board to generate completely original and customizable content.

 Create Photorealistic Images from Simple 3D Compositions

With this feature, you can transform your basic 3D designs into lifelike images and easily create different styles and versions of 3D objects. The results are impressive and stunning.

Image Upscaling

Firefly has the upscaling function that allows us to enlarge the image and use AI to retain a great image quality.

Ethical AI art generator? Can Adobe Firefly be the answer?

According to Adobe's product page, their current Firefly generative AI model has been trained on a dataset that includes Adobe Stock content, as well as openly licensed and public domain material where the copyright has expired.

They have stated that they are also exploring ways for creators to train the machine learning model using their own assets and they think of AI as a powerful tool for artists.

Adobe has emphasized that they do not use their customers' or Creative Cloud subscribers' personal content for training the model. They have also highlighted their approach to ethical development and their efforts to ensure that they respect the choice to opt out from the dataset using the “Do Not Train” credentials.

Adobe has introduced a feature known as Content Credentials. This feature contains a set of details associated with the content that can be exported or downloaded from the image generator like Firefly. It includes information like editing history, attribution, and other relevant details about the content.

This extra context helps content producers to receive proper credit for their work, and viewers can make more informed decisions about the content they are viewing. Anyone can view these credentials using this tool. The main aim of this feature is to promote transparency and accuracy in content creation and ensure that proper credit is given to the creators.

Despite their claims to transparency and ethical considerations, the use of the training data remains a topic of debate within the art community. Many artists remain skeptical of the company's methods, even though Adobe has stated that they have made every effort to be ethical in their approach.

Adobe said that they use images in their photo stock to train the AI and they promise the compensation for the Adobe Stock contributors after the  Firefly exits beta phase. For now, there's no way for the contributor to opt out from the data training but Adobe claimed they're finding the way to implement the opt out function.

My Thought on Adobe Firefly: Ethical AI? Is it too Good to be True?

As far as I understand, Adobe Firefly is built on Stable Diffusion, which relies on the LAION-5B data set for development and many artists are still uncertain about the ethical of it. The opt out function and database compensation that Adobe promised are still questionable for me. That's why there'll be on going debate on this topic.

However, in my personal perspective, I see this as a warning sign that we completely entered the new era. The company that provided me with my first art software has shifted its focus towards AI. This makes me wonder what my next step should be.

When Photoshop was first introduced, traditional artists and photographers dismissed it as a simple tool that made their hard work seem effortless.

AI will always have ethical issues, and this debate is ongoing. But as an artist, competing with others who are using these powerful tools can be challenging. Can I win in the art career game with a stick and stone against opponents who use AI?

For hobbyists, it may be easier to ignore AI, but for those pursuing art as a career, it's a high competition path where adaptation and learning new things are necessary to thrive. While the concept of “ethical AI” from Adobe may not convince everyone to endorse AI, it's a red flag that we need to adapt and learn new things now to remain competitive.

Lastly, the choice to ignore or fight against AI is up to the individual. However, according to my conversations with experienced art company CEOs, we think that AI development will never stop and our world has already changed forever.

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