Adobe has already leapt into generative AI in a big way this year with the release of Adobe Firefly and the incorporation of Generative Fill and Generative Expand into Photoshop. But's not stopping there.
Adobe Max 2023 starts in Los Angeles on Tuesday, and Adobe has already given us a sneak peak of a new AI photo editing tool that it's planning to announce. And it looks like it will make it much easier for those with no experience using photo editing software.
Dubbed Project Stardust (it's not clear if the Star Wars Death Star reference is intentional) the upcoming new AI tool is described as an “object-aware editing engine”. It automatically identifies objects and 'distractions' in photographs, allowing them to be changed and moved around – not unlike Google's Pixel 8 Magic Editor tool.
In the brief demonstration from project manager Aya Philémon shared on YouTube, Adobe shows how the AI editor can be used to remove objects such as a suitcase and its shadow or people in the background of a shot. AI automatically fills the space behind them to blend in with the background. The tool can also be used to swap objects for AI-generated ones, for example to change clothing, using text prompts.
The features themselves are not hugely revolutionary since Adobe Firefly can already do many of these things, but they are the logical next step, and Project Stardust seems to make them more easily accessible for non-expert users. Objects are automatically detected and selected, allowing the user can then erase, move or manipulate them like they would in a layer in Photoshop but without the complex UI.
The tool also features a similar device to Photoshop's Contextual Task Bar, recommending potential workflows. This looks like it will make the tool easy to use for those with little experience editing photos. It's not clear from the brief video where the engine will be incorporated in Adobe's products. I presume that rather than a standalone app it will be added to products like Adobe Express and Firefly, but we can expect to learn more at Adobe Max on Monday.
It looks like it's something that might be aimed at individuals and perhaps smaller businesses looking to edit images for social media rather than for high-resolution production – perhaps in a bid to compete with Canva's growing range of AI tools in the Canva Magic Studio. But with Google already releasing some of these capabilities on the Pixel 8, it casual users may soon need nothing more than their native camera app to do these kinds of edits for much longer. We presume that Adobe's tool will be more powerful – although we notice that the space where the suitcase was removed in the demonstration remains noticeable.