Creative pros see generative AI as part of their future

Humanoid AI robot working in an art studio painting a picture.

Image credit: Adobe Stock/Rick.

After years of research and development in software labs, generative AI appeared in sample public applications last fall, quickly demonstrating incredible creative potential. While the conversation continues on how this new technology will impact creative processes, rising numbers of creative professionals and non-professionals are already experimenting with generative AI — and bringing it into their professional and personal work.

To better understand creative pros’ sentiments around generative AI, Adobe surveyed 1,000 U.S. creatives spanning multiple roles — illustration/graphic design, print design/publishing, photography, video/audio/animation, UI/UX design, front-end/client-side web or app design/development, front-end/client-side IT/software development, and other creative design work. The following are highlights from our findings:

Creative pros are already using generative AI in their professional work. True to their curious natures, creative pros are already starting to use generative AI technologies in their professional work.

Only 19 percent of those surveyed said they have NOT used generative AI tools in their work.

Creative pros see generative AI tools in their future. Most creative pros expect to use generative AI tools in their work — 71 percent will use it in professional work, and 59 percent say they’ll use it in personal work. There were significant differences, however, between roles. For example, UI/UX designers were the most likely to use generative AI in future professional work — and over twice as likely to do so as print designers/publishers. Here’s how the groups responded:

Creative pros see generative AI helping to grow their careers. Creative pros are already imagining ways they can leverage generative AI to expand the way they work. Here are the top ways they think generative AI can help:

  1. Explore new mediums (51 percent)
  2. Create more higher quality work (46 percent)
  3. Help differentiate their work (35 percent)

Creative professionals are interested in the economic opportunities generative AI will create. Creative pros leverage their talents and skills in their livelihoods and can already envision how generative AI might help them earn more — as well as new types of income, including how they might contribute their own assets to evolve the technology. The top ways creative pros would be interested in contributing to GenAI include:

  1. Getting paid to license their artistic style (58 percent)
  2. Getting paid to have models trained on their work (55 percent)
  3. Getting paid for prompts (45 percent)

Only 10 percent of creative pros are not interested in getting paid to do anything related to GenAI.

Creative professionals have strong opinions about how generative AI is developed and deployed. They are very invested in how this technology evolves, and care deeply about a range of issues. Here’s how they rank:

The research illustrates that creative professionals see opportunity in generative AI’s potential, and are increasingly interested in finding ways to benefit from the new technology. Generative AI tools have the potential to improve their workflows — and even expand their careers. As vendors continue to evolve this technology, including the collective wisdom of this important and invested audience will ensure more people benefit, and fewer are left behind.

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