If you follow technology even remotely, you’d realize that there’s quite a bit of activity happening around Artificial Intelligence, bots and assistants. In fact, AI and Machine Learning are terms that Apple and Google have been using rather liberally. Even Microsoft with Cortana is working on building systems that learn as they go along. But another tech company is creating magic through AI.
I recently had the opportunity to witness 12,000 professionals congregate in the largest collective fellowship of creativity, art, passion, and the love of making. From lettering and fonts, to 360-degree video and virtual reality, Adobe MAX had something for everyone. It’s undoubtedly the largest gathering of creative professionals on the planet. But as with the other tech companies mentioned above, Adobe seemed to look at AI in a big way as well. ALSO READ: Adobe MAX 2017: Adobe XD CC, Dimension CC, Character Animator CC, new Lightroom CC unveiled
In what is clearly Adobe’s biggest push towards AI, it announced new possibilities with the power of its AI platform – Adobe Sensei. Announced at last year’s MAX conference, Sensei is a set of services that Adobe would deploy across its products as and when applicable, in the words of its CTO Abhay Parasnis.
The way Adobe Sensei works is simple. Ever since the company migrated to a subscription model in 2013, with the launch of Creative Cloud, it witnessed a surge in registered users. Besides, the fact that all operations were done with the service signed in to Adobe servers, gave the company the ability to understand billions of transactions, operations, and effects that users applied on millions of images, videos and other creative works.
Say you need to use the image of a particular actor in a movie poster. A typical workflow in Photoshop would involve meticulously cropping away each corner of a photo, to get the actor’s outline, for use in another scene, which in turn would have found their way from additional hours of cropping and added effects. Thanks to Adobe Sensei and deep level machine learning capabilities, the system can now crop the actor’s outline in under a minute. What would have ended up taking a couple of hours could now be completed in a couple of minutes.
The coming together of art and science
Abhay Parasnis, Chief Technology Officer, Adobe said blending of deep science, machine learning, algorithms, but seamlessly surface them in artistic tools and canvases. When we speak about art and science, there are really two elements to this. First, we have a deep understanding of how art professionals work in imaging, photography, design, video and illustration. We have taken decade worth of learning in those specific domains, and that is where the art part comes in.” ALSO READ: Adobe MAX 2017: Adobe introduces next-gen Creative Cloud
He added, “The world’s best artists spend time in Photoshop creating a work of art. We observe the things they do, and place equal importance on what they don’t do. We’re trying to harness and marry that with latest advances in deep learning and reinforcement learning, so that these algorithms become partners for creative professionals. AI is now tailored to the artistic pursuit and domains that we’re focused on.”
Parasnis emphasized that Sensei is one of the areas of investment for Adobe from a “core technology and platform standpoint”. He said that Sensei builds on a decade worth of innovation, but added that by no means is it the only area of focus for Adobe.
Augmented Creativity with AI
Adobe is clear with its focus on AI that it won’t take away creative jobs. In fact, Sensei hopes to take away the need to spend long hours doing repetitive mechanical tasks in the pursuit of a creative task. Algorithms and intelligence enabled by Sensei will automate tasks that used to take away time, energy and effort on the part of the creative professional. The accompanying video highlights the impact Adobe Sensei can make in the life of a creative professional. If intelligent algorithms can pilot a commercial aircraft, there’s no reason why technology can’t bring the same intelligence to the artist’s world of creativity.