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Adobe Firefly 2 Reviewed & Prompt Examples (Great for Life-like Photos)

There are more AI image generators in the market right now than there has ever been. Can Adobe Firefly 2 stand out in an already stacked niche?
Updated December 28, 2023

It’s no secret that AI images have been the source of many controversies over the past year, but you can’t deny their creativity.

In the past, I used to depend heavily on Google and Photoshop to create images for web content but, thanks to AI image generators, that’s not the case anymore. Now, I can create beautiful artwork with just my words. Seriously, how awesome is that?

But there’s a reason why we’re so desensitized with Midjourney and DALL-E, and that’s because of the abundance of tools that do the same thing. They also experience the same issues, primarily in nuance and text generation. It’s revolutionary technology, sure, but when you’re having the same experience regardless of the platform, it just becomes tedious and you just settle with using your preferred model.

That said, it’s still important to give other AI image generators a try. Who knows? Maybe, somewhere out there, there’s a model hidden in plain sight that performs way better than Midjourney, DALL-E, and Stable Diffusion.

In other words, can Adobe Firefly 2 finally break the pattern and triumph over more established generators?

What is Adobe Firefly 2?

Firefly 2 is the recently released version of Adobe’s AI image generator. It’s designed to turn simple prompts into stunning images with the help of some customization features. Using neural networks, it can understand human language and create images that match your description.

Adobe Firefly 2

It’s created to simplify your workflow by integrating directly with other Adobe products such as Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign.

Who Is It For?

Adobe Firefly is primarily for designers who use other Adobe products in their workflow. However, since it’s a standalone web application, students, hobbyists, and businesses can also use this generator to create content for their needs.

How Adobe Firefly 2 Works

I have to say: after using Midjourney, DALL-E, and forks of Stable Diffusion, I find Adobe Firefly to be the most user-friendly of them all. It starts similarly with other generators, you just need a prompt to begin the process.

Adobe Firefly 2: Prompts

What makes Firefly so easy is its customization options (which we’ll get to in more detail in a bit). Unlike Midjourney where you have to consult their documentation from time to time, Firefly organizes all style options in one convenient section. From there, you can tweak the output however you like.

Adobe Firefly 2: Customization

Adobe Firefly 2 Output Samples

Realistic Photographs

Prompt: a woman with striking blue eyes

Adobe Firefly 2: Realistic Output

This is Adobe Firefly’s bread and butter. Whenever I need a realistic image of a person, I’m always going to pick Firefly 2 over other AI image generators. Take the image above as an example. It’s genuine, straightforward, and doesn’t have the glossy look that’s common in Midjourney. It’s just a simple photograph — and sometimes, that’s all I need.

Personal Score: 5 out of 5

Surrealist Artwork

Prompt: a surreal art of the universe inside a bubble being carried by a cosmic octopus

Adobe Firefly 2: Surrealism

I don’t particularly like this one. In the past, I’ve always had issues with Adobe Firefly’s creativity. They’re somehow always too grainy and inconsistent. Not only that but it appears that the generator also misunderstood the prompt’s context. If I’m looking to make something that requires a lot of creativity, I’d choose other generators like Midjourney over Firefly 2.

Personal Score: 2 out of 5

Architecture & Interior Design

Prompt: a cozy bohemian cafe

Adobe Firefly 2: Interior Design

While Firefly 2 does a good job at creating portraits of people, it doesn’t perform well at realistic interior design. The general layout is okay, but there are lots of clear rendering issues, particularly in the chairs. The blurring of the foreground and background is also inconsistent.

Personal Score: 3 out of 5

3D Product Renders

Prompt: a 3D product render of a stylish, eco-friendly water bottle

Adobe Firefly 2: 3D Product Design

Nothing special. It’s pretty good but stereotypical. I would’ve preferred more creativity in designing products but, as is, you could ship these out tomorrow and I wouldn’t be able to tell it was AI-generated.

Personal Score: 4 out of 5

Story Characters

Prompt: a grizzled dragonborn cleric wielding a mighty warhammer

Adobe Firefly 2: Story Characters

I really like this one. You could tell me this was a page from a DND guidebook and I wouldn’t have doubted you. If I were to nitpick something, it’s that the eyes weren’t properly blended together. Otherwise, I’d give this a perfect score.

Personal Score: 4.5 out of 5

Logos

Prompt: a logo for a vintage vinyl shop

Adobe Firefly 2: Logos

To nobody’s surprise, Adobe Firefly 2 still can’t generate realistic text. That said — as far as the design of the logo itself goes — it’s colorful, creative, and implements nostalgic aesthetics.

Personal Score: 2 out of 5

High Context Prompts

Prompt: a lone grizzled sea captain navigating his ship when a mythical sea serpent emerges from the depths, surrounded by crashing waves and a stormy sky

Adobe Firefly 2: High Context

You know how sometimes one little thing can ruin an image? I would’ve said this was amazing, but I couldn’t get past the seaman’s face. The way it’s rendered makes him seem nonchalant and unaware of the whole situation. 

Personal Score: 3.5 out of 5

Output Customization: How To Get The Best Out Of Your Prompts

One thing I’d like to point out about Adobe Firefly is how good they streamline customization. To show you what I mean, we first need to generate an initial image. For this one, I used a simple prompt.

Prompt: a siberian husky

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 1

There’s a bunch of things you can customize using Firefly, some of it explanatory like Aspect Ratio, Model (Firefly or Firefly 2), and Content Type (Artwork or Photography).

What I’d like to demonstrate are those that need some explanation. For example, you can change the visual intensity of the images. Here’s what happens when I maximize this slider:

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 2

As you can see, the images are now more stylized and look more like an artwork than a straight photograph. 

Apart from that, you can also choose or upload a reference photo so Firefly has a better idea of the look you’re going for. For instance, I’ll use a Direwolf from Game of Thrones as a reference image and turn up the style strength to 75%.

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 3

You can also use a specific art style as your reference. Here’s what the outputs look like in dramatic lighting:

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 4

You can also apply effects to your images. However, I find that this feature is a bit of a hit and miss. Sometimes, I get wonderful images but there are also times that the output is subpar and hyperstylized.

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 5

And, to finish it all off, there’s also an empty field for negative prompts. This should contain the elements that you don’t want your outputs to have. For example, what if I don’t want the husky to have blue eyes?

Adobe Firefly 2: Output Customization 6

It’s not perfect though. You can see Firefly trying to overcompensate with the lack of blue eyes by removing the eyes completely from the images. You could also clearly see that the hue of the bottom right image is still blue, but it tried hard (and unsuccessfully) to remove the color.

What I Love About Adobe Firefly 2

AI models, as a whole, are becoming smarter by the minute. As outputs from different image generators become more consistent, it’s the little things that start to matter: the features you can find in one that’s unavailable in others. These are the features in Adobe Firefly 2 that’s not in Midjourney or DALL-E 3:

  • Negative Prompts. Gives you better control on what you want to avoid in the final image.
  • Reference Image. Lets you use a third-party image as a reference for Firefly to imitate.
  • Expert Photo Settings. Allows you to adjust the aperture, shutter speed, and field of view of the generated photograph.
  • Download as Vector Graphics. As part of the direct integration to Adobe apps, you can download Adobe Firefly 2 as vector graphics.

Adobe Firefly 2 Alternatives

Midjourney

Midjourney is the most popular AI image generator today with more than 16 million registered users. It excels at creating artwork from scratch. It doesn’t have its own separate platform, but you can use this generator as a bot in Discord. 

You can check out our full review of Midjourney here.

Pros: What Makes It Better Than Firefly 2

  • Amazing at creating artwork.
  • Comes with an image upscaler.
  • Better customization, including region variations and zooming/panning.
  • Flexible pricing options which grants you free fast hours (think of this as credits) if you rank images in their website.
  • Large community with continuous developer support and updates.

Cons: What Makes It Worse Than Firefly 2

  • It’s still in open beta.
  • Inaccessible without Discord.
  • It can’t create realistic images without being too glossy.
  • Significantly higher learning curve compared to Adobe Firefly 2.
  • Seasonal free trial.

A Brief Comparison of Adobe Firefly 2 and Midjourney Outputs

Adobe Firefly 2 vs Midjourney 1

Brief Thoughts: Adobe Firefly is more realistic while Midjourney tends to lean toward a more waxy look.

Adobe Firefly 2 vs Midjourney 2

Brief Thoughts: Adobe Firefly has more background details while Midjourney focused on creating a better subject.

Adobe Firefly 2 vs Midjourney 3

Brief Thoughts: Adobe Firefly’s subject has the “uncanny valley” effect while Midjourney’s artwork aligns more with the purpose of the prompt.

DALL-E 3

DALL-E 3 is the third iteration of OpenAI’s popular image generator. Implemented using GPT-4, this new model excels at understanding user intent. It’s also significantly better at creativity and nuance compared to the previous model.

There’s two ways of using DALL-E 3. You can either use it with ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month or using Bing Create, which grants you free credits daily.

You can read more about DALL-E 3 in our full review here.

Pros: What Makes It Better Than Firefly 2

  • Conversational prompting with ChatGPT Plus.
  • Uses the power of GPT-4 to understand context better.
  • Currently the best AI image generator for photos with text.
  • You can use it for free with 25 credits daily using Bing Create.

Cons: What Makes It Worse Than Firefly 2

  • More stylized outputs.
  • Lacks the customizability that Firefly offers.
  • DALL-E 3 is more strict about copyright and can turn down prompts that may violate IP rights.

A Brief Comparison of Adobe Firefly 2 and DALL-E 3 Outputs

Adobe Firefly 2 vs DALL-E 3 1

Brief Thoughts: Adobe Firefly is waaay better while DALL-E 3 looks fake and could easily be spotted as AI.

Adobe Firefly 2 vs DALL-E 3 2

Brief Thoughts: Adobe Firefly has more background details but DALL-E 3 made a detailed, more prompt accurate subject.

Adobe Firefly 2 vs DALL-E 3 3

Brief Thoughts: DALL-E 3 was able to create an artwork that best depicts both awe and doom.

How Much Does Adobe Firefly 2 Cost

You can use Adobe Firefly 2 for free with 25 credits, which equal to one generation each. Every image created using the free plan will also come with an unremovable watermark.

If you want to upgrade, you can purchase their Premium Plan for $4.99 per month. This gives you 100 credits monthly that will refresh on the day of purchase. There’s also the Adobe Express plan for $9.99 per month, which comes with 250 credits and access to other Adobe features such as templates, animation controls, fonts, and stock elements.

The Bottom Line

Would I use Firefly 2 over Midjourney, DALL-E 3, and even Midjourney?

Well, it depends.

I’m a writer but I also do some graphic design work on the side, mostly for students. One of the biggest problems I have is how hard it is to source royalty-free images nowadays. Firefly 2 allows me to create these images for free and customize them however I see fit.

But as a standalone app? Not at its current state.

You could give them some credit because they’re still in beta, but honestly, so is Midjourney, and they’re already creating some of the best AI art I’ve seen.

Truth be told, the only advantage Adobe Firefly has over these generators is its customizability and ability to create lifelike photos. Take those away and there’s nothing else left. 

Overall, I’d say Firefly is a good effort — but it’s not there yet. However, knowing Adobe, I know we can expect better things with Firefly in the future.

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Written by John Angelo Yap
Hi, I'm Angelo. I'm currently an undergraduate student studying Software Engineering. Now, you might be wondering, what is a computer science student doing writing for Gold Penguin? I took up studying computer science because it was practical and because I was good at it. But, if I had the chance, I'd be writing for a career. Building worlds and adjectivizing nouns for no other reason other than they sound good. And that's why I'm here.
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