How PhotoRoom helps designers focus on the fun parts of the creative process
Using an AI trained with paid-for creative work, the AI photo editor aims to reduce time spent trawling stock image sites, and image cropping and cutting, so creatives can prioritise ideation and experimentation.
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- 28 November 2023
The subject of AI has been inescapable this past year, and most creative people will have something to say about it. There are serious concerns over its negative effects – questions around the intellectual property of artists’ work that has fed the datasets, and AI’s inevitable impact on jobs and the value of creative work in major industries. But there are positives being discovered too, from the technological possibilities it has unleashed, to the automation of tedious tasks. Most creatives, particularly independent ones, have many such monotonous interruptions to their process – tasks that simply get in the way of the business of actually creating. PhotoRoom wants to remove these barriers.
Based in Paris, PhotoRoom is an all-in-one AI photo editor that edits, designs and optimises visual content through an intuitive and engaging interface. Founded in 2019, it's now the leader in its field and in recent months has even partnered with entertainment brands such as Warner Bros, Netflix and Lionsgate to provide the technology behind viral user-generated campaigns, like the Barbie Selfie Generator.
Specialising in background removal and generation, PhotoRoom’s head of design Mathieu Badimon says the team quickly realised the potential of generative AI. “At PhotoRoom we knew early on the power of this new technology, to the point that we stopped the company for three days and organised a hackathon centred around it,” he recalls. “The following week we had our first generative AI feature in the app, now called Instant Backgrounds.” Following some fine-tuning in response to user demands for quicker turnarounds and more realistic results, the team developed the tool to the point that it could generate high-quality backgrounds instantly. “The secret of PhotoRoom’s generative AI quality and speed is in owning our AI models,” continues Mathieu. “We train our models on high-quality assets from creators that we pay, and optimise them for our needs.”
The team believes that AI apps like PhotoRoom will help enhance the work of designers, rather than replacing them entirely. Rather than get bogged down in dull, labour-intensive tasks, such as cutting, cropping, and comping, creatives can hand these jobs to PhotoRoom to do, and in turn have more time to think and experiment. Mathieu says that these tools make creatives and designers more productive, rather than devaluing their work. “Designing still requires the same amount of craft, experience, and talent as before… [but] what strikes me in particular is the ability to be very precise.”
In fact, PhotoRoom’s tools have even revolutionised the workflow of its own internal team. Whereas they once spent hours doing touch-ups in Photoshop, or looking for assets on stock image websites, they can now quickly create their own assets with clever prompts, or manipulate images in an intuitive way, like removing an object from a picture, adding a shadow, or changing the background. As a result, Mathieu says the design team is able to spend more time “discussing the content of an image itself, the style, the tone, and the graphic qualities”, rather than finding themselves restricted by sourcing assets. “The next generation of designers will think more in terms of identity and overall style rather than being reduced to knowing how to use design tools,” he explains. “It transforms tedious, repetitive work into creative work. At the end of the day, clients just care about – and pay – for the result, not the process, and any gain of productivity makes a designer’s work shine brighter.” A great example is PhotoRoom’s Figma Plug-in, which has already been used by over 50,000 designers.
Interestingly, it will also soon be possible to add invisible watermarks to images, so platforms such as PhotoRoom can give full attribution to the creators of its AI model “like the credits of a movie”. This could also fight misinformation, as these credits could include details of every change or edit that’s been made to an image, as well as identifying the original source. PhotoRoom is also going to be working with industry-leading image licensing companies, and already commissions work directly from a global pool of photographers and designers, to ensure that creatives are fairly compensated for their work.
Another concern has been the possibility of AI-generated work eventually looking and feeling the same, especially if most companies are using the same systems. Well, PhotoRoom has an answer for that too. The team has recently launched a feature for custom scenes, which lets users input their own content to generate new custom images, and is developing one for prop generation, which enables users to add new elements to any image. Mathieu hopes these will be stepping stones to helping brands retain their unique visual identity when using the generative AI. “We believe it would be extraordinary if an AI model was trained with brand guidelines in mind – trained to respect the essence of a brand: minimalist or rococo, toned down or vibrant, realistic or over-produced,” he says. “The result could be truly amazing.”
PhotoRoom is the world’s #1 AI Photo Editor. PhotoRoom helps sellers of all sizes create studio-quality images quickly and affordably. Since launch, the app has been downloaded 100 million+ times worldwide with a 4.7-star rating from 1 million reviews.
PhotoRoom: Instant backgrounds (Copyright © PhotoRoom, 2023)