Adobe just demoed a bunch of new features for its Creative Cloud software at its annual MAX conference in Los Angeles, and most of them involve, yep, AI. In particular, the new tools for Adobe Illustrator are designed to speed up workflows – but over on Twitter (still not calling it X, sorry), artists and designers are airing concerns about the new tech.
One of the major new Illustrator features is Text to Vector, a vector-based take on text-to-image generation. Using a simple text prompt, users can generate a wide array of "professional" vectors. But some artists are seeing this as yet another assault on their creative profession – and indeed their reason for using Illustrator in the first place. (Check out our roundup of the new Illustrator features announced at Adobe MAX 2023.)
In a blog post, Adobe describes how users can "Use everyday language to describe a theme or visual and see it quickly come alive on [their] artboard." Key highlights of Text-to-Vector include the ability to create gradients, precise geometry and an organised and user-friendly output."
"Vectors are fully editable and scalable, compact, and organised into groups, which enables easy reuse," Adobe says. "The vector model was trained on licensed content, such as Adobe Stock, and public domain content where the copyright has expired, and can generate high-quality vector output that’s specialised in scenes, subjects, icons, and patterns that offer unparalleled versatility."
But the feature has touched a nerve with some artists – and it's the same nerve that's rumoured to have been touched among some Adobe staff. By removing the need for labour in certain aspects of design, Adobe employees are allegedly concerned that the company risks cannibalising its own source of income by threatening the jobs of its users – fewer designers means fewer customers. And it seems artists feel the same:
They've created a way to stop Adobe Illustrator users creating things in Adobe Illustrator... Why is all this AI stuff so insistent on eliminating the joyous parts of creativity? Trying stuff, noodling stuff, making mistakes is just as valid as the end result. https://t.co/sSCK6v2Jq1October 10, 2023
I'm not an expert but killing your customers way of making a living doesn't seem like the best move to me https://t.co/2vrr7trNjGOctober 11, 2023
Why do we consistently just want to take away peoples jobs & career paths. We’re gonna get to a point where the only human jobs available are those who program these things. https://t.co/T9MUwJ7z99October 11, 2023
Of course, publically, Adobe has a different take. The company has repeatedly referred to AI as an artist's "co-pilot", and recently told users it wants to "do the right thing" with AI. Indeed, the training of Adobe Firefly solely on Adobe Stock images seems ethically-minded (although some illustrators still feel the system is open to abuse). And with even AI photography competitions becoming a reality in 2023, it's clear the tech isn't going anywhere.