Artists are concerned about Adobe Illustrator's new AI features

Adobe Illustrator text-to-vector
(Image credit: Adobe)

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.)

tiger in vector

(Image credit: Future)

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."

Adobe Illustrator text-to-vector

Text-to-Vector in action (Image credit: Adobe)

"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: 

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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.

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Daniel John
Senior News Editor

Daniel John is Senior News Editor at Creative Bloq. He reports on the worlds of art, design, branding and lifestyle tech (which often translates to tech made by Apple). He joined in 2020 after working in copywriting and digital marketing with brands including ITV, NBC, Channel 4 and more.