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Meta vs Adobe Firefly 2 (Features, Pricing, and Outputs Compared)

With AI-generated images becoming prevalent today, many companies have entered the AI space to keep up with this trend, including the tech giants Meta and Adobe. But which one will prevail and stand in the competition in terms of features, pricing, and output quality?
Updated March 5, 2024
A female character with blue lightning powers (representing Meta) vs a female humanoid insect (representing Adobe Firefly), made with Midjourney
A female character with blue lightning powers (representing Meta) vs a female humanoid insect (representing Adobe Firefly), made with Midjourney

Midjourney and Dall-E have been taking center stage ever since AI-generated images became a trend. However, other AI image generators are also contesting to be in the limelight; take Meta’s and Adobe’s AI image generation tools for instance, which we’ll look into in this article.

We’re aware that Meta and Adobe are already big companies and well-known for what they do. But with the technology advancing, would they be left behind in the race toward avant-garde AI systems? Obviously, no. That’s why they introduced their own AI image generators.

Now, let’s get to it and see which one is better for your specific need

Features

In terms of features, Meta’s standalone website, Imagine with Meta AI, doesn’t have much to offer except—of course—its image generator. You just simply type in your prompt, click Generate, wait, and then there you have a few image variations based on your input. After that, you can download the output that you like. Go create another if you want more.

Adobe Firefly 2 offers a rich set of customization tools that lets you tweak the output and tailor it better to your preference. Unlike Meta, it gives you control over the following:

  • aspect ratio
  • visual intensity
  • content type (photo or art)
  • photo settings (for photos)
  • effects
  • lighting
  • composition
  • color and tone

Not only these things, but Adobe Firefly also lets you add negative prompts and use a reference image from its gallery or directly from your device. Less hassle compared to other AI image generators, right?

When you click on an image, you’ll find another set of editing tools that you can use to modify the output further. You can also use your selected image as a style reference for the new output variations you’ll generate. Once you’re okay with the result, you have the option to download or save the output to your favorites.

So far, these are the current features of Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 we can compare, though there’s definitely a lot more to expect when they release a new version. For now, let’s answer one of the questions you might be having on your mind: How accessible are they to users?

Pricing

When it comes to the price, the good news is that Meta’s AI image generator is free—no billing, no subscription, no money involved at all. I know that it sounds good, but do you know that all AI images that Meta creates for you are mere scraps of data from real photos uploaded by real people on social media?

In fact, Meta was trained on 1.1 billion photos from Facebook and Instagram. And where did all those photos come from? Users—us. I know this might be a shocking revelation, but it’s true. Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t charge a single penny in exchange for using real photos as a training dataset.

Even though Meta is free, another thing you need to know is that it’s currently accessible only in the US. So, if you’re not from the US, you may need to use a VPN and connect to a US server, which may not be free. On the other hand, Adobe Firefly 2 offers different premium plans. Check out the pricing and package inclusions below.

Luckily, there’s a free plan. So, that’s good news if you want to use Firefly without any charges, unlike other Adobe software that usually requires payment. Be mindful of your credits, though, as you only get 25 per month if you’re using it for free. Same with Meta, your image generations are not unlimited at all, so use them wisely.

Output Quality

Now, this is where the real battle begins. All the images on the left side are made with Meta, while those on the right side are made with Adobe Firefly 2. Also, take note that I did not edit any of the Adobe Firefly outputs so that the comparison remains unbiased as much as possible. The following are the outputs of the two AI image generators using the same prompts.

Realistic Portrait

Prompt: a high school girl in school uniform, natural light, candid shot

Meta followed the prompt completely. Adobe Firefly did too, however, the girl looks too young as if she’s in fifth grade rather than high school. I also had to generate the same prompt several times with Adobe Firefly 2 since it stubbornly gave me pictures of young girls in uniform smiling and looking at the camera before it gave me this one.


This output of Adobe Firefly still features a smiling girl, but at least it finally understood what candid really is. I still prefer Meta’s output though, since one side of the girl’s hair by Adobe Firefly is too hazy when there isn’t even a little amount of haze on her face, making the hair look like it’s in the background. The light reflection on the chin has no apparent source as well.

Prompt: a young man with tousled hair, streaks of natural light accentuating his hazel eyes, vogue

Just like in the first prompt, I had multiple attempts trying to get what I had in mind using Adobe Firefly 2. I got a bunch of outputs that didn’t match any of the descriptions in my prompt except the subject (a man) before I had the right photo above. The hair looks styled though, and if we pay attention to the blurring, we’ll see that it’s not consistent.

Meta’s output, on the other hand, is almost photographically perfect but not in a superficial way and shows what touseled hair actually looks like. The natural light amplifying the warm color of the hazel eyes also makes this output a magnificent one, though some strands of the hair still need some work. Other than that, this output of Meta is good for a Vogue cover magazine.

Prompt: a redhead girl with blue eyes and freckles in the grass field, golden hour

As you can see, the girl in the output of Adobe Firefly 2 has hazel eyes instead of blue. Meanwhile, Meta’s output got everything right—redhead, blue eyes, freckles, and the background details.

Also, although Adobe Firefly’s output looks more photorealistic with finer details, it doesn’t capture the whole essence of the prompt. It gave me a smiling girl (again) when I did not mention any words that relate to that, whereas the girl’s expression in Meta’s output looks more natural, which is a lot closer to the result I was going for.

The only thing I’d change or remove from Meta’s output if I could is the bluish-silver nose piercing that oddly stands out like a glow stick against the overall warm tone of the image. Maybe, I’d fix the shape of the iris as well. Overall, this output is a chef’s kiss.

General Observations (Portrait Edition)

One highly noticeable characteristic of Adobe Firefly 2 is that it has that smiling syndrome when dealing with portraits. It has the tendency to overhype the emotion and facial expression of the human subject (a lot of times) automatically by default when asked to generate photos of a person.

Now, you can even go back to the first set of images above to see it yourself. See how they’re all smiling? You might think it was just three photos but check out this another article where we compared the outputs of Adobe Firefly with Midjourney. Brace yourself as you’ll be greeted with more smiles by Adobe Firefly.

In terms of quality, Adobe Firefly 2’s images have higher resolutions and finer details that make them look like they were shot by a professional camera, while Meta’s images have softer edges and reduced but not necessarily poor resolutions like they were just taken using a mobile phone and uploaded photos in social media. Well, if you know, you know.

Landscape

Prompt: a serene view of a sunflower field, rainbow in the sky

While both outputs capture the serenity of the view, they also show a clear sign that they’re nothing real but artificially made. What I mean is they have repeated patterns or objects that look like they were just replicated or copy-pasted. See how Meta’s sunflowers are all oddly facing toward the camera and the slanted positions of the leaves in Adobe Firefly’s output?

At first glance, Adobe Firefly’s output looks more photorealistic due to the perspective but if you look closer, you’ll notice the eccentric shape of the trees in the background making them appear as bushes, and some rendering issues. It’s more accurate than Meta in the rainbow part, though.

Prompt: ethereal view of aurora borealis

No matter how majestic these photos are, there’s just something there that doesn’t look right—yes, the reflection. The northern lights do not reflect the way they should as you can see, especially in Adobe Firefly’s output. While Meta has managed to make it less obvious, I don’t think any of the two realistically depicted how lights interact with their surroundings.

Prompt: pastel skies and sakura trees

Both outputs are beautiful. Meta’s output looks like a digital painting while Adobe Firefly’s looks like a traditional one. Both emanate a tranquil atmosphere as well.

We can all agree that Adobe Firefly produced an impressive output, but I did not ask for any body of water at all. If I’m to nitpick this output, I’d also say that it has a higher chance of getting flagged as an AI-generated image due to repeated patterns in the trees, which can be a dead giveaway that it was made with AI.

On the other hand, Meta’s output was more straightforward. It shows me what I only wanted to see: pastel skies and Sakura trees. The sky hues are also more on point and the view is more cinematic. The only fault I’ve found here is the light blue portion at the lower part of the image, which I could barely identify. But overall, this looks like something I’d hang on my bedroom wall.

General Observations (Landscape Edition)

When provided with elements that can be simply replicated, Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 unsparingly took advantage of that. Like other typical AI image generators, these two somewhat suffered from lazy replications of repeatable patterns. But what can we expect? These are AI and that’s what they’re meant for—make things easier and faster.

They also lacked some logic when it comes to reflections. No matter how breathtaking the views they generated, it wouldn’t just make sense if the interactions of natural elements were not properly illustrated.

Surreal Art

Prompt: the world inside a cup of coffee, four whales circling over the cup

Despite the two AI image generators producing a well-crafted masterpiece in the surrealistic aspect, if we stick to the prompt, Adobe Firefly was the one that gave a more nuanced output. The subtle difference between Meta’s and Adobe Firefly’s output particularly lies in the dolphins as elements, which I know you can tell by comparing the two artworks. 

Prompt: a cityscape with saturn visible in the sky, rainbow in spiral form, floating pyramids

These outputs are visually appealing in their own perfect ways, but again, they’re missing some details. Apparently, what we see in the foreground of Adobe Firefly’s output are mere roofs of towers shaped like pyramids; the only surreal thing in this output is the unnatural phenomenon in the sky.

Meta illustrated a literal, otherwordly, giant pyramid amidst the city, which places itself one point ahead of Adobe Firefly 2 in terms of accuracy. But it’s still not entirely accurate since it only generated one pyramid when I clearly specified it in plural form, and because the building structures are rather off—not truly suggestive of a surreal setting.

Prompt: a white cat in space suit floating in space, stars and galaxy

I love both outputs honestly in terms of art style and quality, aside from the fact that I personally like cats. Meta’s output looks like a sticker that will also look good as a print on a t-shirt while Adobe Firefly’s output looks like a cute poster that deserves a place in my room.

In terms of accuracy, I’d pick Adobe Firefly 2 for its ability to picture the details I have on my mind, except the “floating” part is more subtle in Meta’s output. The reason I did not choose Meta was that it looks like the supporting details are separated from the rest of the prompt elements (stars isolated from the subject as if they weren’t in one image at all).

In that case, it seems like Meta treated the stars and galaxy as some sort of separate elements rather than as part of the whole context. Maybe that’s why it looked like a sticker, not to mention the thick white outline. Still, as I’ve mentioned, I like both outputs and I might consider this a tie if only I wasn’t being any more objective.

General Observations (Surreal Art Edition)

While there isn’t any big issue with how these two AI image generators dealt with surrealism, what I’ve noticed is Meta making some specific elements of the prompt look bizarre. If you also noticed, it kind of changed the authentic appearances of individual elements (such as the dolphins and the buildings) in an attempt to make the overall content look less or not real.

That wasn’t effective for me though, since it only made the dolphins look like some other species rather than part of a surreal art. On a positive note, both Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 have astounding levels of creativity.

Commercial Photography

Prompt: a product photoshoot of a pair of high-heeled sneakers

Besides the poorly rendered shoelaces, you’ll notice that the reflection of the red shoes by Adobe Firefly 2 doesn’t match the shoes’ actual design. If you also noticed, the background was inconsistently blurred and sharpened. Moving on, I have no issues with Meta’s pair of shoes; it’s normal-looking—nothing really strange going on there.

Prompt: a commercial shot of lipstick, chic style photography

The outputs of Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 are both excellent mockups of a lipstick product. However, the roundish lipstick cap by Adobe Firefly—from what I see—won’t seem to fit the closing of the square-shaped base of its lipstick tube. But other than that, this output definitely looks like it belongs to a beauty and cosmetic brochure.

Prompt: a product photograph of chocolates, gold foil, a glass of milk, purple background

Again, both AI image generators did a good job in this prompt. Every element mentioned was there and correct, as you can see.

If you look closer though, apart from the nonsensical words on the chocolate box, you’ll also notice some rendering issues with Meta’s output. It’s not that bad, but the way it was rendered makes it look highly computer-generated; in short, an obvious AI work.

Why do I say so? It has that superficial quality, especially the texture exaggeration that makes it look not real when examined. Just see how super smooth the objects’ surfaces are. The edges of the box, plate, and glass are also ragged. Meanwhile, Adobe Firefly’s output looks more authentic.

General Observations (Commercial Photography Edition)

It seemed like Meta seriously paid attention to the keywords “product” and “commercial” here, hence it generated mockups of products with brand marks on them, such as the brand name on the chocolate box, the engraving on the lipstick’s surface, and the logo on the shoe’s tongue. Despite the random texts, this shows Meta’s broader understanding of the prompt’s purpose.

Prompt: an icon logo for a car-manufacturing company

I have truly nothing against these outputs—both logos will sure look good on a modern or vintage car model. But to be fair, Meta’s logo can only be good for short brand names.

Prompt: a simple aesthetic logo for a coffee shop

Again, both AI image generators did a good job in this one, even though it took Adobe Firefly 2 a few more attempts to come up with its output. Undeniably, the simplicity is there, but I’d go for Adobe Firefly’s logo for its more straightforward quality (since Meta’s logo has qualities that make it look more like abstract); also, just a personal preference!

Prompt: a minimalist logo for women's clothing line

I know Meta is not perfect if we take a closer look at its details, but it’s so much closer to how a minimalist logo should look—simple elements that are non-photographic.

Adobe Firefly’s output isn’t that bad, but is definitely not good for a logo. This could pass if it was done in a vector art style with solid colors and crisp outlines. It would also look better without the unreadable text below the flower logo. As for the color scheme, both logos give off a sophisticated feel and are appropriate for a high-class women’s apparel store.

General Observations (Logo Edition)

Just like in the commercial photography edition, Meta considered the business context associated with some keywords in the prompt—the term “company” from the first logo prompt, for example. As a result, it creatively positioned the fictional brand’s initials DLHLr, which made it look like a part of the car-shaped logo.

Regarding Adobe Firefly 2, if I’m being honest, again, it disregarded the overall context of the prompts at first before it produced fairly good and contextually appropriate logos. So, the first outputs were literally full of colors and details, which were quite opposite to the style of logos I was asking it to generate. They were artistic though, but still, they just weren’t fit.

Abstract

Prompt: an abstract image of infinity

Excellent depiction of infinity for both, but if I’m to stress more the real meaning of infinity, I see the qualities better in Adobe Firefly’s work—it extends to all directions (like the endless sky), delineating its boundless nature, whereas the infinity in Meta’s illustration is only one-way, showing a limit in dimension. Without going deeper, I’d say one is just as great as the other.

Prompt: an abstract image of euphoria

These are perfect representations of euphoria—colorful, vibrant, intense, and explosive. Both Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 showed their abilities to understand the relationship of the colors and forms with the given emotion, so I give both two thumbs up.

Prompt: an abstract image of wisdom

I don’t have anything against these outputs if we’re only talking about the visual appeal. They’re both superb and striking in their own ways, and ultimately creative when it comes to interpreting the same concept.

However, Meta’s output somewhat leans toward symbolism (overtly using an owl with a book as a subject), though it still has noticeable abstract elements. Adobe Firefly 2, on the other hand, understood the assignment and took abstract compositions into consideration, giving us a more profound representation of wisdom.

I could still recognize the torch though, but still, the way it’s done is less direct and the final output is more abstract than that of Meta.

General Observations (Abstract Edition)

All I can say is that both AI image generators are equally good picks if you’re just aiming for creativity using AI. Both of them are pretty much geniuses in their own interpretations of different abstract concepts, so kudos to Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 for this prompt edition.

High Context Prompts

Prompt: a worn-out bedroom full of dust, webs, molds, vines, and trees growing inside, set in the future of a desolate world where humanity no longer exists, a few signs of life a thousand years ago, cream wall paints peeled off, woods broken by time, natural light, warm palette, subliminal peace suggesting a perennial silence, a sense of nostalgia

Personally, I find Meta’s output more hauntingly beautiful, but if we consider the accuracy based on the prompt, the output of Adobe Firefly 2 is more nuanced. The spider webs and nature breaking in are much more visible in Adobe Firefly’s output than in Meta, and somehow, Adobe Firefly retains the subtle warmth of the setting’s ambiance.

Prompt: a polaroid photograph of a three-tier cake with intricate piping details and pink flowers made with ganache on top of white fondant base, white chocolate balls, candy canes, and strawberries as decorations, two champagne glasses and a few cassette tapes on the side, curtain backdrops with fairy lights, retro style, grainy quality, shot in 1980's

None of these two looks exactly like a Polaroid photograph, but at least Meta has a little bit of a vintage feel to it. If we consider the completeness of the elements, we can agree that Meta was the more obedient one too although there are some rendering issues, particularly with the candy canes.

Meanwhile, I kind of struggled to get Adobe Firefly 2 to generate the output for this prompt (to the point I craved cake) without constantly giving me major issues with it; it hardly gave me outputs that had candy canes or cassette tapes and if it did, it would leave out some other prompt elements. Adobe Firefly 2 was like a bucket with holes; it kept missing some details.

Funnily though, while it persistently ignored my mention of cassette tapes, Adobe Firefly 2 proceeded to provide me an output with a slice of cake in it (the one I used above). Trust me, it was already the most compliant and the most decent out of all the outputs it generated. Was it to compensate for the lack of cassette tapes in the picture?

Also, it didn’t even put an effort into creating an intricate pattern on the cake despite it being one of the primary supporting details of the prompt; it was just some drips, not to mention it wasn’t even neatly done. While the overall rendering is cleaner than that of Meta, it’s evident that Meta is more attentive when it comes to details.

Prompt: an ordinary young man stunned and awestruck having an encounter with a radiant young fairy in a moonlit mystical forest, bioluminescent flowers, orbs, and butterflies around, fantasy, anime style

Now on to the final round, which one do you think is the winner? I know both outputs have what it takes but first, pay attention to the details.

These images are nothing close to an anime, which clearly shows that both AI image generators missed the last supporting detail of the prompt. But did you see the wings on the left side of the young man in Adobe Firefly’s output? Also, instead of looking stunned and awestruck, the man seemed more like he was making faces in front of the fairy, which I find ridiculous.

Besides the wings and the face, their hands are not rendered properly. On another note, Adobe Firefly paid attention to the flowers as supporting details better than Meta did. There’s not much of an issue with Meta, though—just a few in the rendering of the fairy’s left shoulder.

The man’s face in Meta’s output—though not accurately showing a stunned and awestruck expression—is more appropriate for the prompt’s context as well. And I know, you agree that this is somehow more decent than a man making faces with a fairy.

General Observations (High Context Prompts Edition)

I noticed (not only in this prompt edition) that Meta was more accurate when it comes to the specific features of humans as an element of the prompt. On the other hand, Adobe Firefly 2 was able to pay more attention to the individual supporting details of the prompt when dealing with places or settings.

Final Thoughts

If we’re only considering the rich features and resources, there’s no doubt I’d go for Adobe Firefly 2. Given its customization and editing tools, it obviously gives you more power and control over the outputs. This is also my go-to AI image generator when it comes to easy accessibility. You might wonder, Adobe Firefly isn’t entirely free so why not Meta?

Well, Meta is free but a lot more hassle, speaking from my experience. Not only is it currently unavailable outside the US, but its credit limit is also not clearly defined in any sources online (at least, at the time I investigated), so you might as well run into an issue where you suddenly won’t be able to generate images in 24 hours.

Finally, as to the output quality and accuracy, Meta quite pulled it off a lot better despite the lack of control parameters (perhaps the nature of its training dataset plays a big role here). It paid great attention to the supporting details of the prompts, especially in the nuances of human expressions.

So now, back to the question: which AI image generator is better? Well, the answer depends on your preference and situation. If you live in the US or highly value accuracy more than anything else, give Meta a try. But if you want better control and are willing to pay for more perks, go for Adobe Firefly 2.

Need more information to make your decision? Check out our comprehensive Meta and Adobe Firefly 2 review to learn more.

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Written by Dianne
Dianne writes about many of the latest trends in artificial intelligence and how they can apply to helping out your business
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