How Machine Learning Boosts Your Digital Creativity

Artificial intelligence makes it easier to ideate, create, and update your creations for maximum impact.

If creativity depends on breaking the rules and forming new patterns, how can machine learning technology designed to understand existing patterns help you be creative?

With artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, computers today learn as they are exposed to more data — without the need for explicit programming. They’re really good at finding and understanding patterns in data and inferring rules about it.

However, it’s been said that in order to be creative, you must learn the rules like a professional and break them like an artist. Because creativity is all about exploration and defying convention, bridging the divide between how we naturally work and generate new ideas as human beings and the capabilities of machine learning still is a challenge.

However, I believe that AI can play an important role in enhancing and supporting the creative process from start to finish — from inspiration and ideation to content creation to syndication and feedback.

I see three main areas where machine learning is best applied to the creative cycle and that will make it easier to take ideas from concept to reality.

First, as you search for inspiration and ideas, you can use machine learning to better understand content and thereby make it easier to find the elements you need for your designs. This is what we call content understanding.

Second, when creating new content, the capabilities of computational creativity are enhanced with machine learning to help you more easily modify the digital assets you choose to work with.

And, third, machine learning can help you gain experience intelligence by evaluating and predicting which creative deliverables are most effective. Together, content understanding, computational creativity, and experience intelligence can accelerate the ideation, creation, and delivery of digital experiences.

Finding the right elements to inspire and shape your creations

Reusing, remixing, and reimagining are at the core of creativity. Adobe Stock, filled with 100 million digital assets, is a rich repository of source material. To find and take advantage of elements you could use in your next project, you need help knowing how to find the concepts, objects, emotions, and aesthetics contained in that repository. Without the power of machine learning, this would require a lot of tedious, manual work to review all the possible assets.

Results of auto-tagging and auto-categorizing an image in Adobe Stock. Image credited to Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Recently, there have been some amazing advances in deep learning — a subset of machine learning that uses algorithms to mimic the function of the brain to interpret large and complex data sets. These advancements are driving a revolution in our ability to understand content and automatically produce the necessary metadata. AI can now automatically identify over 40,000 concepts — such as object properties, abstract ideas, and aesthetic characteristics — in images, auto-generate captions for images, pinpoint the geographic locations of objects in images and videos, and understand actions in videos.

A visual search query of two images — one of the Eiffel Tower and another of a beautiful sunset — takes advantage of machine learning to produce results showing the Eiffel Tower at sunset. Image credited to Adobe Systems Incorporated.

By using these AI innovations, we’re able to make digital media assets searchable and provide intelligent recommendations. It’s assets like these that you use to create new designs, so leveraging machine learning to better understand content is really critical.

Using computations to simplify content creation

Another way machine learning can help with the creative process is with the actual creation of new content. This is where computational creativity comes in. It gives you the tools you need to assemble novel creative works, as well as supplement your own skills to help you work faster and spend more time on your favorite aspects.

For example, you can use machine learning to automatically replace the sky in an image, mask people and other objects in photos, enable smarter content-aware fill, and even effortlessly remove objects from video. All of these could be painstaking tasks that otherwise would take many hours of editing individual frames, but deep learning is able to apply a range of artistic styles and features to photos and videos.

Machine learning also assists with design intelligence by suggesting fonts and colors that work well together, or by reformatting assets for new sizes, shapes, and other physical components. By keeping track of the evolving “creative graph,” Adobe Sensei, the artificial intelligence capabilities that are integrated into many Adobe solutions, promises to let creators revisit decisions from any point in the creative process without requiring hours of tedious work to recreate subsequent steps. In this way, the technology complements human creativity and makes the creative cycle much more efficient.

Gaining intelligence on the experiences you create

AI and machine learning can power better experiences, allowing brands and businesses to drive deeper personalization and accurately measure how consumers respond to the experiences they create.

A real challenge for the creative process is matching the right content to the right audience at the right time, and machine learning is integral to optimizing such digital experiences. For example, machine learning helps make predictions and recommendations about which combinations of images, video, and text will drive the most online traffic or generate the most conversions for particular audience segments. This could help a marketer craft a different creative for users on mobile compared to desktop users, easily switching out images and messaging to align with what the audience expects to engage with on that channel.

With machine learning, brands can save time and gain deeper insight into their customers to better meet their expectations. This enables brands to gather the intelligence they need to create a true experience business.

Accelerating the quality and quantity of your creations with AI

AI helps you better understand content and the effect of your creative output in a way that could transform completely how you take an idea from pure inspiration and create something tangible that can be shared with the world. Applying AI to understand millions of unique data assets and to collect data on how your unique content performs results in amplifying your creative skills to produce things you previously couldn’t dream of — all the while simplifying the process and accelerating the quality and quantity of the content you create.

Read more stories from our artificial intelligence series and learn about Adobe Sensei.