How to Prompt in Adobe Firefly

May 24, 2023

Tory Barber

Chromatic Zebra made out of paint

With a feature-rich UI and a unique training system, prompting in Adobe’s new AI image generator, Firefly, looks a lot different than the other leading generative AIs.

Many of the usual propting tricks you used in Midjourney and Dall-e will not work in Firefly.

This guide runs you through all the ins and outs of prompting in Firefly.

Use these quick links to quickly jump through out the past.

Don’t Use Artist Names

I know, crazy advice!

Using “in the style of [artist name]” was literally one of my main pieces of advice in my Photorealistic Dall-e Prompting Guide!

Artist keywords are extremely effective in all other AI Image Generators, so it feels counterintuitive to remove them from your Firefly prompt.

However, since Firefly was trained on Adobe’s Stock Library, it doesn’t actually know any artist names.

See how the Firefly AI struggles with Lee Jefferies–an extremely popular photographer keyword in Dall-e–in the Firefly example below.

    Photo By Lee Jefferies

    Photo of an old man with a beard

    Generated in Dall-E

    Photo of an old man in the style of Lee Jefferies

    Prompt: Photo of an old man, in the style of Lee Jefferies

    Generated in Adobe Firefly

    Portrait of an old man

    Prompt: Photo of an old man, in the style of Lee Jefferies

    While Firefly did create a pretty great photo of an old man, it didn’t pull any of the distinct styles from Lee Jefferies’ work.

    See how Dall-e replicates the colour, crop, contrast, and composition of Lee Jefferies original work? But Firefly’s image is missing all those distinct characteristics. This shows Firefly has no concept of this artist’s original work.

    In my opinion, this is fantastic news!

    Firefly gives you the opportunity to generate beautiful photos without having to worry about co-opting YEARS of an artist’s hard work.

      Use Adobe Stock for Inspiration

      My best piece of advice for prompting with any AI image generator is: understand how the AI was trained.

      The more you understand how the AI sees the world, the better you become at speaking its language.

      I’ve said it twice already but that’s because it’s important, so I’ll say it again so you can hear me in the back: Firefly was trained off the Adobe Stock library.

      This gives you a unique opportunity you don’t get with other AI programs:

      You have direct access to the data that Firefly was trained on.

        Of course this is a slight oversimplification. We don’t have access to the exact data set used to train Firefly, but Adobe Stock’s search is open to the public.

        Anyone could simply navigate to the Adobe Stock website, search for photos similar to the one you’d like to create, and analyze the information provided about that photo.

        Try and see what the AI would see! What information is important? What words actually describe the image?

        I personally look at the words used in the title, category, or keyword sections and try and use a handful of them in my prompts.

          Screenshot of the single photo page of Adobe Stock


            Keywords in Adobe Stock
            showing the key words I pulled into my prompt and where I got them from
            Prompt in Firefly
            Screenshot of a prompt of a sculpture in Firefly
            Resulting Image
            Marble sculpture of an angel

            Try combining the keywords from multiple Adobe Stock photos for some really cool results!

            Creating really long prompts is where you can really see the AI’s creativity shine!

            screenshot of marble statue image page on Adobe Stock
            Adobe Stock contemporary art collage image


            contemporary art collage of a geek marble statue and tropical flowers

            Prompt: Abstract art collage with a marble bust of a beautiful woman with flowers covering the top half of her face, flows in front, surrealism, contemporary art, poster art, flowers covering the top of her face, lower half of a marble statues face, abstract, pop art, tropical, sculpture of a woman, greek, architecture, historical building, stone, Roman art, retro patterns, layered paper

            Unlike other industry leaders like Shutterstock, Adobe Stock encourages its users to upload generative AI images. They even go as far as adding an option in the filter to only show generative images in the results.

            Screenshot of Adobe Stock's Generative AI filter
            Adobe Firefly Gallery page

            You can browse through all the images to see how others created such beautiful pictures!

            Take note of the keywords they used, and how the AI pulled those words into the final product. Study the order in which the prompter laid out the information. Are there things in the prompts that aren’t in the final image?

            There is a TON you can learn by studying what others have done.

            You can take this learning a step further by clicking the “Try Prompt” button that appears when you hover over an image and test the prompt for yourself.

            Screenshot of Firefly's gallery on the search page

            Test what happens when you add new keywords to their prompt. What happens when you change the image’s dimensions or when you add a different style from the sidebar? Better yet, what happens when you remove keywords? How does that change the AI’s understanding?

            There is a ton you can learn by pulling apart a prompt that works, and dissecting it until it doesn’t.

            You can find the gallery by clicking the “Gallery” tab on the Firefly homepage. Or you can scroll through the gallery that is superimposed on the background of the search page.

            Midjourney & Firefly Tested Keywords

            Monthly Inspo Right in Your Inbox

            Sign-up and get style-specific keywords directly to your inbox every month.

            Screenshot of the Firefly homepage highlighting the gallery tab

            Gallery Tab on Firefly Homepage

            Gallery Feed on Firefly Search page

            Use “Reference Image” Feature

            Firefly has this AWESOME unique feature where you can use one of your resulting images as a reference to prompt further images.

            So if you get a really good image, but there’s something a little off, you can click the three-dot menu on that image, click “Use as Reference Image”.

            Use as reference image button Firefly

            Next, this image will pop up with a slider underneath it near your prompt. 

            You can click and drag this slider to determine whether you’d like the new images to be more like your prompt, or more like the image.

            More Like Reference Image

            See how when the slider is all the way to the left, there is only minimal differences between the results and the original image.

            Sort of feels like a “spot the difference” game in the newspaper the results are so close.

            reference image firefly most like image

            More Like the Prompt

            Alternatively, see the variety in the generated images when the slider is all the way right.

            The background, the lighting, the character, and even the color is slightly different, yet you can sense the familiarity to the reference image.

            reference image firefly middle

            Somewhere in the Middle

            I bet you would never guess, but when you have the slider in the middle, the resulting images half follows the image and half follows the prompt.

            reference image firefly most like prompt

            The Goldilocks Zone

            I find having the slider somewhere in between the middle and the prompt to the right creates the coolest variety of images.

            It gives you unique options, that still pulls some of the best parts of your reference images!

            reference image firefly somewhere in the middle

            One of the greatest parts of this feature is that you can change the prompt in between variations of the original image!

            I promise you, you will be using this feature A TON!

            Midjourney & Firefly Tested Keywords

            Monthly Inspo Right in Your Inbox

            Sign-up and get style-specific keywords directly to your inbox every month.

            Don’t Use Branded/Proprietary Keywords

            Since Firefly was trained off of open/commercially licensed images, it actually doesn’t recognize any pop culture styles.

            For example, check out the difference in how Dall-e handles a prompt for “a cabin in the woods in the style of Harry Potter” compared to Firefly.

            Firefly Example

            ai generated photo of a cabin in the woods

            Prompt: small cabin in the woods in the style of harry potter

            Dall-E Example

            ai generated photo of a cabin in the woods in the style of Harry Potter

            Prompt: small cabin in the woods in the style of harry potter

            The Dall-E image pulls in that unusual architecture, heavy wood-toned, magic vibes that jump off the screen in Harry Potter movies. It even pulls in a toned-down version of the Griffendore red on the door.

            Firefly on the other hand generates a photo of a pretty general cabin that I could walk by in my own Canadian back yard.

            Firefly clearly doesn’t know what or who Harry Potter is.

            Have Fun!

            I think the only way I could have ended this even cheesier would have been if I accompanied that title with a cheesy rainbow gif…

            Ok seriously though, having fun is important!

            Some of the greatest art comes out of a place of play. 

            It can be a bit difficult to see the individuality in generative artistry since it isn’t you who necessarily creates the thing, it’s the AI.

            But, the AI can’t create anything without you to prompt it! Only you can come up with your specific prompt!

            Let your unique self out in this process and HAVE FUN!

            Share your work with the hashtag #digitalunicorn for a chance to get featured!

            Tory Barber Headshot Thumbnail

            About Me

            Hi I’m Tory!I’m a Graphic Designer, Web Developer, and AI OBSESSED artist from good ol’ Canada, eh!I record all the things I learn as I dive deeper into the Generative AI rabbit hole so I can teach people like you!

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