The State of Intelligent Images

Artificial intelligence simplifies how we use images in three important ways.

With a click, swipe, or scroll, we move swiftly from one piece of content to the next. We spend seconds consuming what may have taken days to create.

Society’s expectations for content have changed rapidly over the past decade, and consumers’ appetites for information and entertainment continue to grow. AI-powered tools can help you meet the increasing demands of content velocity, especially when it comes to creating, editing, and transforming images.

By 2020, AI will be a $70 billion industry reaching into every aspect of marketing and design. Here are three ways AI is impacting and powering our day-to-day interactions with images right now:

Extensive categorization and freedom from repetitive tasks

AI can interpret and categorize images, photos, and graphics in real time. This extensive categorization extends your human capabilities, picking up where you left off and catching things you might have missed.

For example, when you look at a photo of the United States Capitol, you might think to yourself, “That’s a picture of the Capitol.” With the help of AI, your tools can recognize the photo not only as the Capitol, but also as a U.S. and world landmark, a location in Washington, D.C., an example of neoclassical architecture, an image of springtime, a photo incorporating colors like whites, blues, and grays.

It’s a huge time-saver. With AI-powered categorization and tagging, the image will appear when you search your files for “springtime” or “buildings,” or for images with a similar color palette, or your latest photos from Rome.

AI can take on further repetitive and time-consuming tasks like color correction and object removal. AI-powered tools like Content-Aware Crop in Adobe Photoshop CC make cropping a breeze by ensuring that the main subject of the photo never gets cropped out by accident. And AI can also detect and select the subject of your photo with one click. No more meticulously tracing around those precious pixels. You can skip the grunt work and jump directly into the creative part of editing.

Enhanced workflows and improved experiences

With AI managing the more mundane aspects of images, designers are free to flex their creative muscles and create even more with their time. AI enhances workflows to more effectively bring the creative’s vision to life. As a result, it improves the experience for both the creator and the customer.

Think about the last time you sketched out an idea for a client. Now, you can tap into an experimental AI-powered sketching tool like Auto Draw to autocomplete sketches and turn them into polished versions of your original idea.

AI can also take an image and transform it into an entirely new medium. Adobe’s Moving Stills project uses AI to animate a still image into a realistic video clip. Airbnb’s new sketching interface uses machine-learning algorithms to transform wireframe images created on paper into code.

Each of these advances is geared toward helping teams work with images in a more intuitive way, making the expression of ideas simpler and faster while simultaneously eliminating roadblocks. AI is giving even the most basic images complex possibilities, which ultimately means more options for designers and more engaging content for customers.

Quality image creation and smarter image use

As AI becomes more fluent in the language of images, it’s also changing the way we capture images and find information.

Today’s most prolific photographers don’t have high-tech cameras and multiple lenses. They’re average Janes and Joes with smartphones. As the next generation of smartphone products is developed, many manufacturers are focused on image capture and real-time processing.

When you open up your camera app, AI-powered features like facial recognition tags your friends, and image scene recognition discerns the image environment and adjusts image factors like lighting, focus, and shutter speed accordingly.

And once you take all those photos, AI will allow you to display them at higher levels of quality than ever before. Developers at Skylum are wrapping up the creation of new tech that will upscale smartphone images to be printed at high resolution and sharpness. That means your favorite picture you took on your old iPhone 5 can now become a poster on your wall, and it will look crystal clear.

As AI integrates further with the images on our devices, it will change the way we discover, research, and shop for products. The next time you pass someone on the street wearing sneakers you like, you won’t need to stop and ask them for the brand name and style. You won’t have to go home and type out frustrating search terms like “blue athletic shoe with green laces,” either.

Instead, you’ll simply take a picture. With AI-powered visual search, you can upload the image and immediately find the sneakers you saw on a stranger. This has the potential to become one of a brand’s best advertising tools.

AI is the future of images

In a recent Pfeiffer study, 89 percent of creative professionals surveyed said they are interested in a creative AI assistant that reduces drudgery. An additional 77 percent of respondents said they would use an AI assistant to help with image search. The first of these creative assistant tools has arrived, and more are on their way.

When it comes to the visuals we see every day, the design industry is on the cusp of fully integrating its most effective technology yet. AI has the potential to revolutionize the way people create and edit images, and consequently how people engage with brands and experiences.

Learn about Adobe Sensei and the power of artificial intelligence in digital experiences, and check out how AI is transforming video here.