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Midjourney vs Adobe Firefly 2: Which Is Best? 12 Side-by-Side Examples

It's been less than a month since Adobe Firefly 2 was released. With better creativity and context understanding, can this AI image generator overtake its competition? We've spent quite a bit of time testing its limits and put Firefly to a direct comparison with Midjourney.
Updated October 19, 2023
Midjourney vs Adobe Firefly 2 Comparison of the Same Prompt
Midjourney vs Adobe Firefly 2 Comparison of the Same Prompt

Creating artwork is more accessible today than it has ever been — and that’s thanks to AI image generators. The power to create stunning and meaningful art just from a single prompt? Sign me up.

But not every text-to-image generator is created equally. Midjourney has been my go-to for the last few months and I’m a huge fan. However, I'd still say that it has some glaring weaknesses, particularly in text generation and other nuance.

I’ve been testing it against other AI image generators as they all seem to keep improving and the next one on the list is Adobe Firefly 2. Released just a few days ago, this new version claims to have better nuance and creativity than what the original version offered.

Because of its native integration with other Adobe apps, some graphic designers have been giving this new model a go and it’s safe to say that the reception has been positive. I've tried it in Photoshop and LOVE it. Makes my life so much easier.

But how do these tools stack up against each other?

A Bunch of Different Prompts Compared

To get a full scope of their creativity, I’ll be dividing the outputs into several categories including intent and prompt length. This will help us get a better idea on what areas they excel at and where they fail.

Before I start, you should also know that all Midjourney images are on the left and Firefly outputs are on the right.

Realistic Photo

Prompt: The Cliffs of Moher

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Realistic

Midjourney created a stunning artwork of the Cliffs of Moher during a sunset. The art is calm and vibrant, but it falls victim to the model’s tendency to overstylize its outputs. If we’re going by pure realism, then Firefly wins. It’s not as creative as Midjourney, but the image looks like a photograph. You could insert this into Google Images when I search the “Cliffs of Moher” and I wouldn’t bat an eye.

Close-Up

Prompt: An extreme close-up of a woman's face during a party

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Close Up

Firefly’s image has a “stock image” quality, which makes sense because most of the generator’s users will likely use it because of the Adobe ecosystem and integration to other apps such as Photoshop, After Effects, and more.

On the other hand, Midjourney’s output has a lot more texture and detail. You can see the imperfections on the woman’s face, and her eyes are a lot more detailed when you zoom in. I only wish that Midjourney didn’t ignore the “party” element in the prompt, but overall, this is the clear winner.

Pastiche (Mimicking Other Artists)

Prompt: A quiet night in the suburbs, in the style of Van Gogh

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Pastiche

Adobe Firefly lacks the imagination of a Van Gogh painting, which makes it look more like a children’s book illustration. Midjourney completely understood the assignment. The sky borrows heavily from Van Gogh’s Starry Night and I like that the road reflects the light from the sky. No contest, Midjourney is way better at imitation.

3D Render

Prompt: A 3D render of a lit candle in a desk

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: 3D Renders

This one’s tough. I genuinely like both of them. Midjourney leaned towards creating a realistic 3D render, while Firefly looks more like a painting. However, if I’m to use one of these two, I’d probably pick Midjourney because of the candle’s details. It also has more accurate lighting than Firefly.

Surrealist

Prompt: A surrealist painting of men who look like sheep walking in a busy Shibuya Crossing

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Surrealist

I love Midjourney’s output here. It’s slightly unnerving, but in a good way. There’s a lot of detail in the background, which is important in establishing the Shibuya Crossing setting. It also helps that the artwork looks serious because the self-awareness adds a layer of surrealism.

Adobe Firefly has a more Dadaist take on surrealism. The sheep’s faces look pasted on people’s bodies. There’s no cohesion, but it still has that element of whimsy. However, I don’t like the softness of the background elements because it makes it look more AI than it needs to be.

Abstract Concepts

Prompt: Visualization of language

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Abstract Concepts

Asking AI image generators to create visualizations of abstract concepts helps us understand its nuance. Both Midjourney and Firefly did well here, in my opinion. The former interpreted language as knowledge within a person, whereas the latter understood it as a medium of communication in a community. This is a clear tie.

Film Still

Prompt: A film still of a kaiju taking down a building during the night

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Film Still

Firefly had a weird response to this prompt. Not only does the subject look nothing like a kaiju, it also created a still of an animation movie instead of a live-action one. There’s also no visible knocked down buildings. It didn’t understand the context at all.

Midjourney, however, created the perfect film still. It looks straight out of a Godzilla movie. It’s kinetic, action-packed, and realistic. This is one of my favorite outputs from Midjourney so far.

Architecture

Prompt: A two-storey bungalow in the middle of a quiet field

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Architecture

Midjourney has a more appealing output. The house is feasible and somewhere I’d actually love to live in. There’s also the little sneak peeks we get of the house’s interior, which contributes to its realism. Sell this house on Zillow and nobody would notice it’s AI.

I’d like you to zoom into Firefly’s house. Notice something off about the walls? The house doesn’t make sense. The walls are inconsistent and impossible. There’s also no window near the balcony and the house looks so… bland. It’s not a good architectural design at all, so that’s a point for Midjourney.

Flat Illustration

Prompt: A flat vector illustration of a cute Q-tip

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Flat

Right off the bat, both these illustrations are pretty cute, but neither really looks like a q-tip. However, since the top looks like cotton, I’d pick Midjourney’s artwork for this category, especially since Firefly’s more reminiscent of a half-eaten popsicle stick.

Sketches

Prompt: A sketch of a rabbit jumping down a hole

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Sketches

This is another instance where Midjourney overstylized its output. The rabbit itself is good, but the rest looks chaotic. There’s no reason to add that pop of color to a sketch and it just contributes to the overall mess.

Sometimes, simplicity is key — and Firefly demonstrates that perfectly in this image. There are no unnecessary additions, jump a simple rabbit jumping out (or rather, into) a hole. It also feels more “human” than the Midjourney one because it captures freehand artwork better.

Text Generation

Prompt: The menu of a rustic coffee shop

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: Text Generation

With DALL-E 3 promising better text generation, I wondered how well these two can create text in images. Turns out, not well.

From afar, Midjourney is passable. As you zoom in, you notice how none of the writing actually looks like words. However, that’s way better than Firefly, who didn’t even attempt to imitate text. Instead, it just went the easy route and avoided generating a single word.

That said, I wouldn’t exactly call any of these winners for text generation. That’s why this round is another tie.

High Context

Prompt: A weary man wearing a blue shirt and black slacks protecting his two daughters and one son against falling asteroids in New York City during a white Christmas night.

Adobe Firefly vs. Midjourney: High Context

I’ve been using Midjourney for months and one thing’s for certain: it sucks at high-context prompts. However, I wanted to see how well it does against Firefly.

The answer? Pretty well. Midjourney managed to follow every single detail of my prompt except for the number of children in the image. It also captured the tone I’m looking for, which is something to consider especially when I saw Firefly’s image.

Firefly not only missed several elements of my prompt, it also missed the mark completely of the prompt’s intent. The family in the photo looks happy and unbothered, and there are no impending meteorites in the sky. This is a clear win for Midjourney.

The Final Verdict

I’d still use Midjourney over Firefly. It’s more robust at image generation and, with V6 around the corner, we can expect Midjourney to take that leap that would push them way above its counterparts.

Overall, Midjourney is simply more creative than Firefly. It’s better at creating artwork and, surprisingly, better at understanding context. That said, Firefly is still a good alternative if you’re looking to create more realistic photos or you’re a graphic designer who’s using the Adobe ecosystem.

The best AI image generator is really just the the one that fits your style better. Use this as a guide when you're on the edge of finding your next subscription.

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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