Exploring AI-Generated Imagery: Potential, Limitations and Considerations

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In May 2023, fake AI-generated images accompanied a false report of an explosion at the Pentagon, causing confusion and triggering a small dip in the stock market. The incident sparked public discussion and debate regarding the use of machine-created imagery and how to determine whether an image was generated by AI. But is the hype surrounding AI-generated imagery warranted? Is AI ready to replace human graphic designers? Are the results really that convincing? Who can claim ownership of an AI-generated image?

In our two previous blog installments on generative AI, we discussed whether AI can generate effective website code or write compelling web copy. This week, we’ll discuss the use of AI-generated images.


Human or AI — Putting Image Creation to the Test

Image composition often demands keen attention to detail. To gauge how AI tools like Adobe Firefly and Stable Diffusion (both platforms offer free-to-use imagery) measure up against human designers, consider the following examples from our evaluation. We utilized three distinct prompts and then compared the images we created (some many years ago) to those generated through Adobe Firefly and Stable Diffusion.

These are the results:

Prompt 1:

Black and white image of Colorado mountain waterfall with vibrant orange colored water effect.

Human created:

Human-generated image of Boulder, Colorado waterfall with orange water effect

Abobe Firefly created:

Adobe Firefly AI-generated image of waterfall with orange water effect

Stable Diffusion created:

Stable Diffusion AI-generated image of waterfall

The original image of a waterfall located in Boulder, Colorado, was created by our Comprise team.

Based on the prompt given, you can see clear differences.

  1. The original shows the waterfall and all visible water with an orange overlay.
  2. The Adobe Firefly image did a decent job. In fact, the waterfall on the right of the image is good, but the rest of the water lacks the orange overlay effect.
  3. Stable Diffusion seemed to miss the mark on this prompt, as no orange water effect was applied.

Prompt 2:

Evening view lake with a dock, lightbulbs with spider legs and Saturn in the sky.

Human created:

Human-created Luminosity image of a lake with a dock, lightbulbs with spider legs and Saturn in the sky

Abobe Firefly created:

Adobe Firefly output showing four images of a lake with a dock, lights and planets in the sky

Stable Diffusion created:

Stable Diffusion output showing four images of a lake with a yo-yo in the sky

The original image was created nearly 20 years ago by our very own Jennifer Stevens, VP of creative and digital services.

We tested Adobe Firefly and Stable Diffusion to see what compositions the tools would come up with compared to the original image.

Adobe Firefly, again, did a decent job. We got four options and believe option four was probably the closest to what we were seeking.

Stable Diffusion again missed the mark on this prompt, as we have no lightbulb spiders or Saturn in the sky. There does, however, look to be a yo-yo in the sky, but that wasn’t part of our prompt.

Prompt 3:

Illustrated cattle dog in a pop art style with a paw print background and with a “fetching results daily” tagline.

Human created:

Stylized image of Australian Cattle Dog with "Fetching Results Daily" text

Abobe Firefly created:

Adobe Firefly AI generated image of cattle dogs with text

Stable Diffusion created:

Stable Diffusion AI generated image of cattle dog

The original image was created by our very talented creative director and web developer, Adison Young.

We tested Adobe Firefly and Stable Diffusion to compare their compositions with text added into the mix. As you can see, neither Adobe Firefly or Stable Diffusion handles typography well. Best to leave imagery with text overlays to human designers.

Is AI Ready To Replace Human Designers?

No. While AI has transformed and enhanced many aspects of the design process, AI-powered image generators are not ready to fully replace human designers, especially in tasks that require creativity, emotional intelligence, ethical judgment and a deep understanding of culture and context. Instead, AI can be a valuable tool that complements and augments the capabilities of human designers, leading to more efficient processes and innovative designs. The collaboration between AI and human designers will likely be the most productive approach for the foreseeable future. However, staying updated with the latest developments in AI and its design applications is important as the field continues evolving.

Comprise’s Take on AI Imagery Tools

With so many new AI tools, we can see some advantages and disadvantages.


  • Rapid image generation: If you’re in a hurry, you can create some fairly good images — as long as your prompts are detailed enough.
  • Inspiration: Stuck in a creative rut? AI-generated images can help provide some inspiration.
  • Automating repetitive tasks: When working in tools like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, some of Firefly’s AI can make a designer’s job a bit easier, like recoloring detailed vector graphics or applying neural filters with photo restoration.


  • Difficulty achieving the desired look and feel: Prompts do not consistently yield a desired output, making it difficult to create images as you imagine them.
  • Illegible text: Using prompts to add typography to your images will be frustrating until these tools mature. Adding text in the old-fashioned way remains best, assuming the image you’ve created left enough white space for text in the first place.
  • Ethical use and copyright violations: This is the biggest disadvantage! When creating images using generative AI, you don’t always know where the image originated or whether it is based on someone else’s work.

After experimenting with a few of these tools, we found that color regeneration and background replacements are helpful and that AI-generated images are best used as an inspirational tool.

At Comprise, we’ve opted not to use AI-generated imagery to ensure that all imagery is properly licensed or sourced with the correct attributions.

While human designers can use AI to create new content/images, these tools can also scrape the web for new information. Many websites were used to train different AI tools. Has AI crawled your site? Should you be concerned about AI using your website for training? Download our white paper on generative AI to learn more!

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