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Adobe Firefly 3 Review, What's New & Better

Adobe just released the latest version of their AI image generator: Adobe Firefly 3. Let’s take a look and find out what’s new, and more importantly, what’s better.
Updated June 10, 2024
Fireflies in a forest, generated with Midjourney
Fireflies in a forest, generated with Midjourney

People are scared and critical of AI art, and rightfully so. It goes beyond deepfakes — it’s the possibility of an AI using your artwork as reference to create their own that disturbs artists. One could argue that it’s a necessary step towards evolving AI image generators, but there are some who believe the opposite.

Adobe Firefly has always been vocal about ethical AI use in image generation. So, with the release of Adobe Firefly 3, we can get an idea on how far AI art can go when there’s stricter ethics involved.

In this article, I’ll be reviewing Adobe Firefly 3, along with new features, output examples, and a short comparison with Midjourney.

What is Adobe Firefly 3

Much like Midjourney and DALL-E, Adobe Firefly is an AI model made by Adobe to create images and artwork. It works together with other Adobe programs like Photoshop, Premiere, and Illustrator. April 2024 saw the release of their latest model called Adobe Firefly 3, with promises of better creativity and nuance, as well as more features.

If you need more background, we’ve reviewed Adobe Firefly 2 in the past and compared it against the best AI image generators today, so check those out.

What’s New with Adobe Firefly 3’s Features

Apart from being more creative and intelligent, Adobe Firefly 3 also comes with three new features that can make designers’ work easier and more efficient. 

  • Generative Expand: Gives you the power to grow your images beyond their original boundaries. By inputting an image, Adobe Firefly will study the picture's elements and setting. Then, using AI, Firefly will fill in the surrounding canvas area with new visuals that make sense and match the initial image's look and feel. 
  • Style Reference: Upload a reference photo whose vibe you want to capture, and Firefly will match the look, mood, and artistic tone of that guiding image.
  • Structure Reference: Allows you to input an image as a structural reference. This will work as a blueprint of the final output.

Adobe Firefly 3 also has all the features of its previous version including content type control, visual styles, effects, color and tone adjustments, and control over lighting and camera angle of images.

Adobe Firefly 3: Output Examples

Realistic Photograph

Prompt: a woman drinking alone in a coffee shop, candid, street photography

Product Photography

Prompt: commercial photography, a perfume bottle, pastel blue background, dreamy, soft lighting, centered

Sketch Drawing

Prompt: a sketch drawing of ruins of an old church in the woods, intricate

Digital Art

Prompt: cascading waves on an ocean, digital art, low poly, geometric, colorful gradients, in soft color fields, 8k

Logo Design

Prompt: a logo for a tailor shop

With Text

Prompt: A robot holding an “AM I REAL?” sign

Long Prompts

Prompt: A colossal library, its architecture mimicking the constellations etched into the inky expanse above. Bioluminescent nebulae cast an ethereal glow on towering shelves crafted from celestial obsidian. A cloaked figure, adorned with cosmic glyphs, stands lost in a massive tome depicting celestial charts and swirling galaxies. Their face, obscured by a hood, reveals only a glint of starlight.

Overall Thoughts

There’s definitely an improvement across the board. These images are more creative and intricate than most of what I’ve seen from Adobe Firefly 2. Their biggest improvement, in my opinion, is the artwork. It’s something that they’ve always struggled with compared to generating realistic images, and I’m glad to see that they’ve stepped up in that regard.

It may seem small, but it’s also great to know that Adobe Firefly 3 can now generate text within their outputs. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s close to the level of Midjourney and DALL-E 3, in my opinion.

Now, for my issues with the new model:

Adobe Firefly 3’s realistic images still have that “stock photo” look to them. That’s great for designers who are using this tool for inpainting and outpainting, but I definitely wouldn’t recommend this for enthusiasts. They also still can’t get the fingers right, and the face of the woman in the first photo has some rendering mistakes.

Overall, it’s a step in the right direction, but it’s not there yet.

Pros and Cons



  • Feature-rich.

  • Strong and coherent writing voice.

  • Flexible pricing plans.

  • Content is automatically SEO-optimized, but still gives you manual controls over everything if needed.

  • Smooth blog transitions and headers that make sense.

  • Allows you to use GPT-4.

  • Supports almost all languages.

  • Slow turnaround time (more than 10 minutes if you need video screenshots)

  • Relatively new product with a lot of potential but limited reviews online.

  • Limited generators (Only GPT-3.5 and GPT-4)

A Short Comparison of Adobe Firefly 3 vs. Midjourney V6

No AI image generator can escape from Midjourney comparisons, not even Adobe Firefly 3. Here are my short thoughts about these two AI image generators and which one you should actually use:

What is Midjourney?

Midjourney is the most popular generative text-to-image AI model to date. This model combines techniques from computer vision and natural language processing to create stunning artwork and realistic images. They currently have more than 15 million users and a daily intake of 100,000 more.

Midjourney shares a lot of features with Adobe Firefly 3, such as style reference, aspect ratio adjustment, control over output type, and generative expand. However, the former has a bunch more features built on top of it such as character reference, region variations, image variations, and more.

Output Comparison

Adobe Firefly 3
Adobe Firefly 3
Adobe Firefly 3
Adobe Firefly 3
Adobe Firefly 3

My Verdict

It’s not even close. Midjourney’s creativity is just unparalleled. It’s a clean sweep across all categories. Not only is it more creative, it can also make more realistic images.

That said, this is just Adobe Firefly 3’s beta version. It’s only reasonable to think that it will improve from here. Another thing that Adobe Firefly has over Midjourney is that it’s free. So for anyone on a budget, I still highly suggest giving Adobe Firefly 3 a chance.

How Much Does It Cost?

Adobe Firefly 3 is completely free, but it comes with a watermark. You can also upgrade to their Premium Plan for $4.99 monthly or the Adobe Express plan for $9.99 per month, which comes with access to other Adobe features such as templates, animation controls, and fonts.

All Said And Done

Adobe Firefly 3 is a great option for two people: those with a limited budget and those who are using it along with other Adobe products.

It’s always been my belief that it’s a little unfair to compare Adobe Firefly 3 with other AI image generators because they’re not exactly competing with them. This tool aims to promote responsible AI usage by having strict copyright policies and to promote ethical use of AI images for commercial use.

All in all, this is definitely an improvement over Adobe Firefly 2. I can’t wait to see where Adobe takes this model from here.

If you want to know more about Adobe Firefly, you can check out our articles like this one. Happy reading!

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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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