New industry-changing tech from Adobe

You may have heard about the Adobe Max conference — an annual event where Adobe showcases some of its newest technologies, as well as provides educational sessions to its viewers. This year’s conference was held online for free and hosted by Saturday Night Live actor Kenan Thompson.

The Sneaks section of the conference is devoted to showing the latest tech that Adobe has in development (which may or may not make its way into Adobe products in the future). Let’s break down the nine proposed projects, which you can learn more about on Adobe’s site.

Project Morpheus

Starting the event off right, Han Guo showed us Project Morpheus. This technology is capable of generating facial expressions for the subjects of pictures and videos. For example, if you have a photo of yourself frowning, you can easily generate a smile on your face. It doesn’t stop at expressions either; you can even add facial features, such as a mustache. These types of edits would normally be much more time consuming using other Photoshopping methods.

Project In-Between

Simon Niklaus explained how Project In-Between can intelligently generate frames between two images. One potential usage of this is if you took several images of someone and the facial expression wasn’t right or they blinked. This technology breathes life into your photos by animating the moments between two images, giving you not only a sequence of images to choose from, but a short video that can be exported as a GIF to experience photos in a new way. It can be used with three images to make an even longer moment. Those sub-par photos don’t have to go to waste!

Project On Point

Using On Point, Duygu Ceylan showed us how to search collections of photos by pose rather than keywords. Using a reference photo, the software generates a simple stick figure in the pose of the subject, then searches the database for photos using a similar pose. Users can manually adjust the pose to refine results even further. This is a huge time saver!

Project Shadow Drop

Jianming Zhang explained how to create realistic shadows with just a few clicks using Shadow Drop. Photoshop’s current shadow tool doesn’t always yield realistic results, but with this new technology, shadows realistically land on surfaces surrounding an object, and can even be automatically animated. Other effects include a reflection generator, automatic shadows applied to the rest of the scene, and computing realistic shadows for floating objects based on the set distance between them and the ground.

Project Sunshine

Next, Matthew Fisher exhibited Project Sunshine, a tool that instantly creates vectors based on a sketch. Not only that, but it also creates color variations of that object, intelligently grouping similar shapes so they aren’t just random colors. The example Matthew showed was a monster that had teeth and horns. All the teeth were the same color, as were the horns, because the system understood they were the same type of object. If that wasn’t enough, it can also make custom vector shadows and highlights on your artwork in the blink of an eye.

Project Stylish Strokes

Paul Asente showed viewers how the Stylish Strokes panel allows users to stylize text in custom ways. Applying a pattern to the fill gives more accurate results when dealing with text made of strokes. Adobe Color, which we highlight in this post, is integrated to quickly generate beautiful palettes for your design. Stylish Strokes takes it even further by giving us the ability to insert custom art and animations directly into text.

Project Make It Pop

Next, Nikhil Tailang amazed the audience with an intelligent tool to vectorize pictures. Using a photo reference, Make It Pop creates vector shapes and simple character rigs with ease. Nikhil was able to create a stylized vector illustration based on a photo, reposing the subject as he wanted, and even generating an animation based on video reference. Amazing! (Animators like me are shaking in our boots!)

Project Artful Frames

Nick Kolkin presented a beautiful tool where you can easily apply artistic effects to video using a reference photo or art piece. He applied Vincent van Gogh’s iconic style to a video clip of modern life, and although it takes a bit to render (like all video and animation), the results were mind blowing.

Project Strike a Pose


Finishing up the presentation, Krishna Kumar Singh showcased what I consider to be one of the most applicable tools. Have you ever found a stock image with the perfect subject, but they’re in the wrong pose? Using the original photo along with a target pose photo, Strike a Pose quickly creates a new image with the original person in the preferred stance. Krishna shows that he took pictures of himself in the desired pose and it worked flawlessly, even creating a view of someone from the back based solely on the original stock photo (front facing) and Krishna’s photo (back facing). Fantastic! This has so many possible uses, not only for stock imagery but for personal photography as well. For those of us that have the unfortunate habit of standing awkwardly in pictures, we could now potentially change ourselves to a more suitable pose in the blink of an eye.

If you’re like most creative professionals, new amazing technology like this may spark a bit of fear — will artificial intelligence eventually put you out of work? Not to worry; projects like these serve to improve workflow for creative professionals, not take over completely. Artists will always have a place in the creative industry, and bold new technologies create even more artistic possibilities rather than limit them.

What are the long-term implications of these technologies? How will people use them? What Sneaks do you think will make it into future Adobe software? Let us know in the comments! If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out our Facebook, where we regularly post helpful tips and resources.

Thanks for reading!


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