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Using The New Photoshop AI Features (With Examples)

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In April 2024, a fleet of exciting new features were just announced in Photoshop Beta. Most of the major changes revolve around AI improvements that will drastically improve the workflows of many.

So let’s break down what’s new in Photoshop Beta, and how these features will have a massive impact on how you use Photoshop.

Adobe Firefly Image Model 3

This new AI model is live in Photoshop Beta, while the old model is still in Photoshop CC (25.7).

The two key differences with this new model are:

  • Quality Improvements
  • Faster Generating Speeds

Comparing The New VS Old Image Models

In the example below I used the same image with the same prompt in Photoshop CC (25.7) and Photoshop Beta to compare the two models.

Using the Lasso Tool to select an area to place the new element, I typed “Swan” as my only prompt.

In Photoshop CC, the image generation took 14 seconds. In Photoshop Beta, it took 17 seconds. The faster speeds claimed by Adobe seem to be hit and miss. I believe this could be due to Photoshop Beta being a generally more laggy program overall. So I won’t hold that against the new model.

However, comparing the two results, the difference is incredible. The biggest improvements in Photoshop Beta were:

  • More realistic variation options to choose from
  • Far better detail in the generated element
  • Better color and lighting matching to the original photo.
Photoshop CC (25.7) – Prompt: Swan
Photoshop Beta With New Image Model – Enhance Detail Enabled Prompt: Swan

In the first example, there is hardly any details in the birds feathers. The reflection is also missing the swans head. This result is far from being usable.

The second example is far more convincing with the new image model. I did use the new Enhance Detail setting to further improve this example. More on that setting later.

Generating A New Image With AI In Photoshop (Beta)

Rather than only rendering individual elements or extensions from a photo with Generative Expand, you can now create entire images directly in Photoshop.

On a new blank canvas, click Generate Image from the Contextual Taskbar. A window appears to type your prompt and choose a variety of other parameters for the output.

The prompt I used was: Blue ocean waves splashing on white glittering marble, big crashing wave, realistic photo, high resolution, sunset backlighting

There are certainly ways to improve this image, but for a first round of generations, I was impressed by this result.

Using Reference Images For Improved AI Results

Continuing from the previous example, you can now use reference images to improve AI generations without the perfect prompt.

For this example, I used the same prompt as the last example: Blue ocean waves splashing on white glittering marble, big crashing wave, realistic photo, high resolution, sunset backlighting.

However, I now gave Photoshop a reference image to base my idea on.

The result move heavily favored the tones and style of the reference photo, but still added sunset coloring as requested in the prompt.

Reference Image
AI Generation With Prompt + Reference Image

The addition of reference images makes generating AI photos much easier than before. As someone who struggled to describe exactly what I wanted to see, I’ve enjoyed this combination of images and text prompts.

Using Generate Background In Photoshop Beta

After using the Remove Background button in Photoshop Beta, the contextual taskbar will now prompt you to generate a new background.

This works similar to generate image, except it bases the prompt to blend naturally with the object you just cut out.

Using Remove Background to automatically cutout a photo of a dog, I chose Generate Background from the contextual taskbar.

I used the prompt: beach with white sand at sunset.

Although the selection could use some work, the final result is still impressive. The AI created a scene that matches the light angle of the subject, and even attempted to create a shadow.

Around the paws the shadow breaks up, but overall it is an extremely good attempt. Especially since this took under a minute to create.

Improved Generative Fill Variation Options

After generating an AI image or element, there are now settings to generate similar, and upscale your preferred variation.

Generate Similar

Clicking on the three dots above a variation thumbnail and clicking Generate Similar, you can better guide Photoshop’s generations. Before, you would click on Generate again if you weren’t happy with the result.

It wasn’t uncommon to get wildly different results from the previous set of variations. This was frustrating when there were one or two variations that were close, but not quite what you wanted.

With Generate Similar, it’s much easier to improve with new iterations of your favorite variation results.

Enhance Detail

As used in the first example with the swan, you can upscale AI variations using the Enhance Detail setting. This feature is found when hovering over any variation thumbnail.

This uses Preserve Details 2.0 to upscale the photo. A very similar process to what has been used for years when converting a low-res photo into high-res.

Before Enhance Detail
After Enhance Detail

It doesn’t regenerate the variation with improved results. Instead, it increases the sharpness and reduces noise in the original generation.

How Will These New AI Features Affect You?

With each new update in recent memory, Adobe is working towards making complex tasks simple. All to lower the barrier to entry for beginners, and speed up the creative process for more advanced users.

The answer to this has become obvious, with AI slowly being implemented as a key pillar of the program.

This doesn’t mean that the workflow and tools you’ve been using for years are becoming obsolete. Instead, these features give you new ways to create and speed up tedious tasks.

For example, AI is becoming one of the best ways to remove large distractions in a photo. No more time-intensive clone stamping.

When these new Beta features roll out into Photoshop CC, you’ll be able to blend images into photos without advanced compositing skills.

However, it’s still up to you to actually create something. How you use AI is based on your tastes and preferences as a creative. Robots can’t take that away from you.

The ethical argument for AI and creative work is a topic I’m not going to get into. Looking strictly at the functionality of these new features, there’s no denying how AI tools are making Photoshop a lot more fun to create with.

What do you think of these new features? Let me know in the comments below!



Photo of author
I'm a Canadian photographer and photo retoucher turned founder of bwillcreative.com. Around here I help you to decode the mystery of photo editing with no-fluff videos and written guides to help you achieve your creative goals. Outside of shooting photos and my passion for educating, you'll find me mountain biking or on the trails with my dog, Sunny!

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