Adobe Plans to Make You Pay for Photoshop's AI Features, Even if You Have a Subscription


Photoshop’s Generative Fill is possibly the single most talked about addition in the history of the program. This AI-powered feature allows users to add elements to a photograph not present in the original capture. Many creators love the feature. But that may be about to change due to a recently announced change in Adobe’s pricing structure.

Generative Fill allows users to create elements of an image not initially captured on camera. Suppose you had photographed someone with a 3/4 length composition. Generative fill can create the bottom 1/4 of your subject. The feature works well when used to create a horizontal image from a vertical or vice versa. If the borders of the image show scenes of a beach, grass, or a solid-colored wall, the new content that Photoshop creates is often impossible to distinguish from the photograph’s original content. AI can interpret generic items like waves, leaves, sand, and sky in various ways, and many of these will look correct to the human eye. Generative Fill is less effective at creating something like additional buildings in a NYC skyline scene, since we know what the buildings should look like, and we aren’t likely to be fooled by structures that don’t match the ones we know to be in the city. Still, the feature is remarkable and has applications for creative and corrective image adjustments.

The feature initially debuted in a beta version of Photoshop a few months ago, but is now a part of the standard version of Photoshop Desktop (September 2023 release). Currently, Generative Fill is free to anyone who has purchased a license for the program, but this will change beginning November 1,  when Photoshop will require users to have something known as generative credits to use Generative Fill. 

According to Adobe’s website, “Generative Fill, Generative Expand, Text to Image, (and) Generative Recolor” will each require 1 credit. Along with the standard “Plans are subject to change” caveat, the site also confusingly states, “Usage rates may vary.” Users who license all Creative Cloud apps will have 1,000 free credits each month, while single app users will receive 500 credits per month. Credits will not roll over to the next month. Additional credits will be available for purchase at US $4.99 per month for 100 credits. Adobe also says the tool will still work after exhausting credits, but that the tool will run slower. How slow remains to be seen.

Before this announcement, Photoshop image adjustments were not billed on a per-image basis. Once a user paid the monthly license fee, they were free to make as many adjustments as they desired, no matter how detailed these adjustments may have been. With the introduction of this pricing model, Adobe is making a radical shift in how its subscribers work with Photoshop. Users can no longer experiment endlessly with their images without incurring additional fees. It remains to be seen if this model will extend to their video editing software, Premiere or other Creative Cloud programs in the future. 

Full details can be found on Adobe’s website.


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