How to Use AI to Edit and Generate Stunning Photos

Photo editors at The New York Times do not enhance or alter photos, or generate images using artificial intelligence. But my first thought after testing generative fill was that photo editors working in other contexts, like marketing, could be soon out of work. When I shared this theory with Adobe’s chief technology officer, Ely Greenfield, he said that it might make photo editing more accessible, but he was optimistic that humans would still be needed.

“I can make really pretty images with it, but frankly, I still make boring images,” he said. “When I look at the content that artists create when you put this in their hands versus what I create, their stuff is so much more interesting because they know how to tell a story.”

I confess that what I’ve done with generative fill is far less exciting than what others have been posting on social media. Lorenzo Green, who tweets about A.I., posted a collage of famous album covers, including Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and Adele’s “21” that were expanded with generative fill. The results were quite entertaining.

(One note: If installing Photoshop feels daunting, a quicker way to test Adobe’s A.I. is to visit the Adobe Firefly website. There, you can open the generative fill tool, upload an image and click the “add” tool to trace around a subject, such as a dog. Then click “background” and type in a prompt like “beach.”)

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