Scott Belsky, chief product officer and executive vice president, Creative Cloud at Adobe, unveils … [+] the latest AI-powered innovation tools for Adobe Express at Adobe MAX on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2022 in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/AP Images for Adobe)
Adobe wants to show the world that AI can do more for designers than generate frightening JPEGs.
AI-powered, generative image search engines, like DALL-E and Stable Diffusion, have stolen the hearts of AI enthusiasts since their release. Some even warned this may be the death of Photoshop, Adobe’s signature imaging software.
But after viewing Adobe’s latest innovations at the MAX Conference in Los Angeles this week, the company is taking a different approach with AI.
In a press briefing at the conference on Wednesday, Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President of Creative Cloud, said Adobe wants to outfit professional users with AI as a capable assistant, while enabling non-designers to create without having to purchase a copy of “Creative Cloud for Dummies.”
For example, during its annual “Sneaks” presentation, Adobe showed off Project Blink, a new AI-powered video editing tool that will allow users to edit video much like they would change a Microsoft Word document.
Using AI, Blink analyzes images and audio in a video file to create an editable script, where users can look for specific objects and sounds, pull out key moments, or remove video mistakes. This can be done from a web browser with no Premiere Pro skills required.
Video will start at 46:58, the Project Blink demo during the “Sneaks” presentation.
“When you come into Photoshop or Premiere Pro [for the first time] and start with a blank page, you don’t feel confident. You feel the opposite, you feel fear. You feel like you are the dumbest person in the world. You have to endure the learning curve to become proficient in these products,” said Belsky.
“We need to help people become more successful, more quickly. That’s something we haven’t been good at historically.”
Adobe’s Approach to Generative AI
While DALL-E and Stable Diffusion have shown the possibilities of AI-generated art, the technology has also sparked a debate over intellectual property ownership.
At the conference, Adobe announced it would be adding Nikon and Leica as partners to its Content Authenticity Initiative. The project will involve attaching a photographer’s credentials to photo metadata, which will be important upon the rise of AI-generated images.
In a statement, a spokesperson for Adobe wrote, “Adobe’s vision for generative AI shows how this technology can enhance creativity rather than replace it, and how generative AI can be combined with Adobe Creative tools to be more powerful together.”
Much like DALL-E, Creative Cloud users will be able to use generative AI, but in different functions.
At MAX, Belsky showed an example of AI being used to generate pre-made templates and unique text elements from text prompts. In an example shown during Sneaks, “Behind the Seen” can generate full 360° panoramas from a single image, without the need for a creator to gain a new skillset.
It’s no secret Adobe is trying to win over non-professional content creators, marketers and small businesses with Creative Cloud Express.
These users have overwhelmingly latched onto Canva, which pioneered drag-and-drop design. The company has over 100 million users, reportedly four times as many users as Creative Cloud. The Australian-based design startup is valued at $40 billion and expects to exceed $1 billion in revenue in 2022. In 2019, Adobe estimated this segment of the design market could reach as high as $41 billion by 2023. Canva is currently expanding its product offerings to include website design on the heels of Adobe’s acquisition of Figma.
David Wadhwani, president, Digital Media at Adobe, discusses the seamless workflows between Creative … [+] Cloud and Adobe Express at Adobe MAX on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2022 in Los Angeles. (Jordan Strauss/AP Images for Adobe)
Belsky said much of this strategy for Adobe centers around a high demand for social media content, offering an insight that Adobe currently spends more than half of its marketing budget on social media. Creative Cloud Express added a built-in social media scheduling tool earlier this year to improve user workflows.
At least one Adobe executive credited Express in exposing users to some concepts explored in Photoshop, including the arrangement of layers.
“We recently conducted a study that showed once a user understood either seven basic tasks or four basic concepts [on Adobe apps], they could pretty much use Photoshop,” said Maria Yap, Vice President of Digital Imaging at Adobe.
Yap, who oversees product and technical leadership for Photoshop and Lightroom, hopes that Creative Cloud Express can serve as a bridge to Adobe’s other professional apps
“That’s what we’re trying to understand now. How can I teach you that in your first few experiences, so you’ll keep wanting to pursue your creativity?”

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