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Maximizing Stock Imagery at Adobe Max

October 29, 2021
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Ben Rossell

In our fast-paced economy that thrives on specialization and division of labor, stock assets are clearly the future. Thanks to some creative engineering from Adobe, small agencies and associations whose limited creative budgets require the use of stock imagery will be the greatest beneficiaries of these software developments.

The Opportunity

While most designers would love to have the time to create illustrations and high-quality imagery themselves, the speed at which design is typically demanded requires leveraging stock photo assets. But, with stock imagery, designers significantly accelerate design production at the cost of uniqueness, customization, and sometimes at the cost of attaining the original vision.

It was clear in the Sneak Peeks portion of Adobe Max 2021 that Adobe understands the pain points of using stock assets and wants to do something about it. Three of the Sneaks, in particular, were geared toward providing stock imagery that speeds up the workflow without sacrificing a designer’s artistic vision.

Better Search: Project on Point

Project on Point screenshot from Adobe Max
Problem:

The number of online stock photography libraries is increasing, which means designers have more options to choose from. However, this can mean it takes longer to find an image that suits your vision.

Adobe’s solution:

In Project on Point, Adobe is exploring a search feature in Adobe stock that enables users to find specific model poses based on an uploaded reference image or sketch.

Implication:

Right now, the query “person sitting” returns 4,360,195 results on Adobe Stock. Sure, we could refine that search to “woman sitting on the floor,” but even that search provides me with far more images than I can sift through (263,348 images). As stock sites become increasingly more robust, improving search and filter functionality will be a key way to help creatives make their best work.

Watch the sneak peek for Project Point:

Better Design Synthesis: Artful Frames

Artful Frames screenshot from Adobe Max Sneak Peeks
The problem:

Because illustrations are more stylized than photos, they are more brandable visual elements. But how does this work for video? How can we avoid expensive custom animation project by applying an illustrative style to stock video that matches our brand?

Adobe’s Solution:

Artful frames is essentially artistic filters for video, but with higher levels of customization. Upload a stock video and an artistic rendering (in this case a painting), and the program will apply the artistic style to each frame of the video.

Implication:

Stock animation has typically been limited to footage of abstract shapes and creative transitions. Could Artful Frames be a way to quickly develop on-brand animated content using stock video?

Watch the sneak peek for Artful Frames:

Better Customization: Strike a Pose

Strike a Pose screenshot from Adobe Max Sneak Peeks
The problem:

Some stock photography poses are…not great. And sometimes there is a perfect model, but they are never standing in just the right way. How can we have more control over the positioning of our models when we aren’t in the room for a shoot?

Adobe’s solution:

Strike a Pose uses the elements of a source image (facial features, clothing, setting, ect.), scans the pose of a secondary image, and uses artificial intelligence to transform the first pose into the second.

Implication:

No longer do I have to spend extra time looking for just the right model in just the right pose. With Strike a Pose, I am able to mix and match models and poses to fit my needs. Or, maybe I have an image of a model I like, but I need them to be doing a variety of activities. Previously, without an extensive collection with that model, I’d be stuck. With Strike a Pose, I could create a whole series of images that seemingly use the same model.

Watch the sneak for Strike a Pose here:

Conclusion

It's encouraging that Adobe continues to make investments that will help designers save time and money, while also enabling them to create more effective work.