Adobe MAX 2023 is less than a week away, and to promote the event, the company recently published a video teasing its new “object-aware editing engine” called Project Stardust.
According to the trailer, the feature has the ability to identify individual objects in a photograph and instantly separate them into their own layers. Those same objects can then be moved around on-screen or deleted. Selecting can be done either manually or automatically via the Remove Distractions tool. The software appears to understand the difference between the main subjects in an image and the people in the background that you want to get rid of.
What’s interesting is moving or deleting something doesn’t leave behind a hole. The empty space is filled in most likely by a generative AI model. Plus, you can clean up any left-behind evidence of a deleted item. In its sample image, Adobe erases a suitcase held by a female model and then proceeds to edit her hand so that she’s holding a bouquet of flowers instead.
The same tech can also be used to change articles of clothing in pictures. A yellow down jacket can be turned into a black leather jacket or a pair of khakis into black jeans. To do this, users will have to highlight the piece of clothing and then enter what they want to see into a text prompt.
Functionally, Project Stardust operates similarly to Google’s Magic Editor which is a generative AI tool present on the Pixel 8 series. The tool lets users highlight objects in a photograph and reposition them in whatever manner they please. It, too, can fill gaps in images by creating new pixels. However, Stardust feels much more capable. The Pixel 8 Pro’s Magic Eraser can fill in gaps, but neither it nor Magic Editor can’t generate content. Additionally, Google’s version requires manual input whereas Adobe’s software doesn’t need it.
Seeing these two side-by-side, we can’t but wonder if Stardust is actually powered by Google’s AI tech. Very recently, the two companies announced they were entering a partnership “and offering a free three-month trial for Photoshop on the web for people who buy a Chromebook Plus device. Perhaps this “partnership” runs a lot deeper than free Photoshop considering how similar Stardust is to Magic Editor.
We should mention that Stardust isn’t perfect. If you look at the trailer, you’ll notice some errors like random holes in the leather jacket and strange warping around the flower model’s hands. But maybe what we see is Stardust in an early stage.
There is still a lot we don’t know like whether it’s a standalone app or will it be housed in, say, Photoshop? Is Stardust releasing in beta first or are we getting the final version? All will presumably be answered on October 10 when Adobe MAX 2023 kicks off. What’s more, the company will be showing other “AI features” coming to “Firefly, Creative Cloud, Express, and more.”
Be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best Photoshop courses online for 2023 if you’re thinking of learning the software, but don’t know where to start.
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