Adobe’s new beta Express app gives you Firefly AI image generation for free

Adobe has released a new beta version of its Express app, letting users try out their Firefly generative AI on mobile for the first time.

The AI functions much like Firefly on the web since it has a lot of the same features. You can have the AI engine create images from a single text prompt, insert or remove objects from images, and add words with special effects. The service also offers resources like background music tracks, stock videos, and a content scheduler for posting on social media platforms. It’s important to mention that all these features and more normally require a subscription to Adobe Express Premium. But, according to the announcement, everything will be available for free while the beta is ongoing. Once it’s over, you’ll have to pay the $ 10-a-month subscription to keep using the tools 

Adobe Express with Firefly features

(Image credit: Adobe)

Art projects on the current Express app will not be found in the beta – at least not right now. Ian Wang, who is the vice president of product for Adobe Express, told The Verge that once Express with Firefly exits beta, all the “historical data from the old app” will carry over to the new one. 

The new replacement

Adobe is planning on making Express with Firefly the main platform moving forward. It’s unknown when the beta will end. A company representative couldn’t give us an exact date, but they told us the company is currently collecting feedback for the eventual launch. When the trial period ends, the representative stated, “All eligible devices will be automatically updated to the new [app]”.

We managed to gain access to the beta and the way it works is pretty simple. Upon installation, you’ll see a revolving carousel of the AI tools at the top. For this quick demo, we’ll have Firefly make an image from a text prompt. Tap the option, then enter whatever you want to see from the AI.

Adobe Express with Firefly demo

(Image credit: Future)

Give it a few seconds to generate the content where you’ll be given multiple pictures to choose from. From there, you edit the image to your liking. After you’re all done, you can publish the finished product on social media or share it with someone.


Android users can download the beta directly from the Google Play Store. iPhone owners, on the other hand, will have a harder time. Apple has restrictions on how many testers can have access to beta software at a time. iOS users will instead have to join Adobe’s waitlist first and wait to get chosen. If you’re one of the lucky few, the company will guide you through the process of installing the app on your iPhone.

There is a system requirements page listing all of the smartphones eligible for the beta, however, it doesn’t appear to be a super strict list. The device we used was a OnePlus Nord N20 and it ran the app just fine. Adobe’s website also has all the supported languages which include English, French, Korean, plus Brazilian Portuguese.

Check out TechRadar's list of the best photo editor for 2024 if you want more robust tools.

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Adobe’s free version of Firefly finally exits beta – here’s how to access it

Adobe has announced it is expanding the general availability of its Firefly generative AI tool on the company’s free Express platform. 

More specifically, the Text to Image and Text Effects tools are finally exiting their months-long beta. The former, as the name suggests, allows users to create unique images just by entering a word prompt such as horses galloping or a monster in a forest. The latter lets people create floating text bubbles with fonts sporting special effects. These two are mainly used to create compelling content for a variety of use cases from enhancing plain-looking resumes to marketing material. Apparently the tools were a huge hit with users during the beta.

Firefly’s text features are available in over 100 different languages from Spanish, French, Japanese, and of course, English. What’s interesting is Adobe tells us the AI is “safe for commercial use.” Presumably, this means the model won’t generate anything inappropriate or totally random. What it does generate will fit the prompt you entered. 

How to use Firefly

Using the generative AIs is very easy to do. It honestly takes no time at all. First, head on over to the Adobe Express website, and then create an account if you haven’t done so already. Scroll down a little on the front page, and you’ll see the creation tools primed and ready to go.  

Adobe Express website

(Image credit: Future)

Enter whatever text prompt you have in mind, give Adobe Express a few seconds to generate the content, and you’re set. You can then edit the image further if you’d like via the kit on the left-hand side.

Adobe Firefly

(Image credit: Future)

Future updates

The rest of the Firefly update is mainly geared towards an entrepreneurial audience. Subscribers to either Adobe Creative Cloud or Express Premium will begin to receive Generative Credits that can be used to have Firefly create content. Additionally, the AI is being integrated into an Adobe asset library for businesses. There aren’t any new features for everyday, casual users – at least not right now. 

Adobe states it has plans to expand its Express platform within the coming months. Most notably, it wants to bring the “latest version” to mobile devices. So we might see the Firefly AI on smartphones by the end of the year. We reached out to Adobe for clarification. This story will be updated at a later time.

While we have you, be sure to check out TechRadar’s list of the best AI art generators for 2023. Any one of these is a good alternative for Firefly.


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Adobe Express adds Firefly AI to its free plan for next level creativity

The all-in-one creative suite Adobe Express is getting a wave of new features; chief among them is the introduction of the Adobe Firefly generative AI.

With Firefly being added, you will be able to create “custom image and text effects” using nothing more than a simple text prompt. The official trailer displays these tools in action as it showing the steps of how to create a poster for a neighborhood event. Firefly is used to change the basic lettering of a short phrase into a “purple gloss balloon” font. It can also be used to generate decorative backgrounds for posters. 

So it's nothing groundbreaking or anything that will blow your mind, but it is a nice addition to the Express toolbox. The best part is it’s available on the free version of Adobe Express, meaning anybody can take the AI feature out for a spin. 

We do want to warn you to not expect too much from this rendition of Firefly. Like a lot of other free image generators, the results can look rather nightmarish, especially when they involve people. It’s nowhere on the same level as Generative Fill on Photoshop. We recommend keeping things simple, like throwing in graphical flourishes, if you ever decide to try out the Express AI.

The company states the prompts support over 100 languages including French, German, Japanese, Spanish, as well as Brazilian Portuguese. Something we found a little funny is how Adobe clarifies that the content Firefly generates is “designed to be safe for commercial use.” Given how several companies with AIs are currently being sued over copyright issues, it looks like the Photoshop-developer felt the need to offer some reassurance to its customers. 

Notable non-AI features

The update introduces a lot of other non-AI tools. For the sake of brevity, we’re just going to focus on the more notable ones. 

For instance, you have Quick Actions for faster editing. These actions can remove the background in images, immediately convert a video into a GIF, edit PDFs, and “animate a character using just audio”. That last one is fittingly called Animate from Audio which will have “characters come to life” as their bodies automatically sync up to recorded dialogue. It takes some of the busy work out of animating the finer details.

Adobe is also introducing an all-in-one editor consisting of various design elements and pre-made templates for social media platforms. So if you want to make videos for TikTok or Instagram but don’t know how to start, the editor can help you out tremendously. 


Everything you see here is currently available on Adobe Express for desktop. A full list detailing each feature can be found on the official website. The company says it has plans to bring the update to the mobile app soon, but declined to give an exact date for the future patch in its announcement. 

It is great to see Adobe offer some of its latest tech for free. Photoshop can be very expensive. If you’re looking for other options, check out TechRadar’s list of the best Photoshop alternatives for 2023

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Adobe Illustrator gets its first Firefly AI tool

Adobe Illustrator is the latest app to get Firefly capabilities, with the update aimed at letting designers rapidly experiment with colors using simple text prompts. 

Generative Recolor is the first example of an Adobe Firefly-powered tool inside the popular graphic design software. Designers can use text prompts to create and save custom themes for recoloring vector artwork, so there’s no need to spend time altering individual elements of a commercial design. 

The move comes days after rolling out Adobe Express and Firefly for Enterprise, as the company ramps up integration of its AI art generator.  

Setting Illustrator alight 

If there’s one thing we learned at Adobe Summit 2023, it’s that the firm is keen to push its AI as a co-pilot for creators of all experience levels, at every level of an organization. The latest Firefly-powered tool is no exception, with the company highlighting diverse uses from marketing graphics to mood-boarding.  

Still in beta and built directly into Illustrator, Generative Recolor lets designers capture the mood of a piece based on text prompts – the examples used by Adobe include “noon in the desert” and “midnight in the jungle”. Users can then quickly experiment by swapping out colors, palettes, and themes, and produce multiple color variants for a wide range of uses, like seasonally appropriate advertising.  

Adobe Illustrator infused with Firefly's AI capabilities

(Image credit: Adobe)

“Adobe Illustrator is the tool behind many of the world’s most iconic designs, from brand logos to product packaging. Firefly will help customers accelerate their creative process and save countless hours, while facilitating rapid ideation, experimentation and asset creation,” said Ashley Still, senior vice president, digital media at Adobe.

But it’s not the only new update to the digital art software, which also added the font tool Retype, new Layers functionalities, and improvements to Image Trace.

As we reported last week, Adobe reconfirmed future plans to let businesses train Firefly with custom assets to create brand-aligned content. Enterprise users will soon be able to get an IP indemnity from Adobe to guard against copyright claims and help make the AI-generated content “commercially safe” for businesses.

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Adobe makes Express and Firefly for Enterprise happen

Adobe Express has been getting a lot of attention from the creative apps maker lately – yesterday we revealed that the new Express beta features Firefly integration. But that’s not the whole story.

Announced at Adobe Summit 2023 in London, the easy-to-use graphic design software and its freshly built-in AI art generator is now available to enterprise customers. 

According to the company, “every employee across an organization, at any creative skill level, to use Firefly to generate beautiful, on-brand, ready-to-share content.” And that’s not the only new business features found in the new-look Adobe Express. 

Creating and collaborating

Adobe Express occupies an interesting space in the firm’s creative stack. While drawing on the powerful tools found in Adobe’s professional digital art software, Express lets anyone create and edit designs that fit the brand. It also means design teams don’t have to get involved in making minor tweaks. Less complex than Photoshop and Illustrator, it’s designed for high-quality, high-velocity content production. Think social media ads, blog graphics, online brand promos.  

It’s long been a popular tool for content creators and marketers – and its new iteration feels as much a show of faith in the product as it is an attempt to edge out Canva, which harbors similar designs on enterprise customers. But with companies of all sizes looking at how gen AI can help increase efficiencies, the Firefly integration – which can be accessed through the standalone app, Adobe Express, and Creative Cloud – could turn many a business head.

 Chiefly because Firefly for Enterprise is designed to be what Adobe calls “commercially safe”. In other words, it’s been trained on copyright-free imagery. With Content Credentials, Firefly also automatically tags images to let consumers know generative AI was used in its creation. It can add other information, too, like an artist's name, date, and even the tools used to create the image. On that note, we absolutely used Firefly in Express to create the artwork accompanying this article.

The company also intends to introduce IP indemnity for enterprise customers, footing the legal bill (or some of it, at least) should a copyright claim arise.  

Elsewhere, users will find a raft of new tools and features across Adobe Express. This includes deeper integration with Adobe apps including Photoshop and Experience Manager, an expanded library of stock photos and stock videos, and new animations for assets powered by Adobe Character Animator. There’s even increased PDF editor support, simplifying the import and editing process. 

With an eye to the future, Adobe also said it’s working on letting businesses train Firefly with their own branded assets, to generate brand-specific content. There’s no word on when to expect this option, but it could prove to be a game-changer for commercial graphic design. 

The latest version of the Adobe Express beta is available now on desktop, although a mobile version is on its way. 

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