Microsoft announced today that they are removing the waitlist for their new AI-based graphic design tool Designer, rolling out new features, and adding Edge integration.
Unveiled in October last year, the web-based app was made available via Office 365 subscription and limited preview to put the text-to-image generation tool through its paces. However, to keep up with competitors Canva and Adobe, Microsoft has kicked the gates wide and opened the preview to anyone with a Microsoft account.
Designer utilizes the Dall-E image generation engine and provides the same social media and promotional focus for content creation that Adobe Express offers. From the outset, Designer prompts you to describe the design you’d like to create. From there, you can specify if you want to create a Twitter post advertising your dog walking service or a Facebook invitation for your parent’s 30th-anniversary party. The tool offers up to 20 different social media layout sizes that you can quickly shift to without formatting issues.
To lower the entry barriers for new AI users even more, Microsoft has integrated the tool natively into Edge for quick use. The example shown in Microsoft’s press release presented a process as easy as typing text into a Twitter or Facebook text box and hitting the small pink paintbrush in the tool panel to the right to automatically generate a selection of context-appropriate images to insert into your post quickly.
Microsoft also announced upcoming features to Designer. A new Fill tool will allow users to select a location where they would like to place an object. In contrast, the Erase tool will completely erase and fill the area behind objects or replace it with another object. Expand background will fill the image with more detail, while Replace background replaces a blue sky with a starry night or a firework scene. However, even within the demonstration, the well-known limitations of AI-generated images began to creep in, as perspective and scaling issues immediately presented themselves that should provide graphic designers a sigh of relief, at least for now.
However, this begs the question that many have brought up as the Age of AI kicks off…where is the tool getting the assets? The Verge explicitly questioned the source of animated assets and asked Microsoft if these needed to be provided by the user, or if the program was generating these from scratch. Microsoft has not responded to The Verge as of the publication of this article.
While Microsoft’s user base may allow AI tools to reach a broader audience, its competitors have already beaten it to the market by a few weeks. Whether Designer is destined to become the Bing or Zune of the AI Era remains to be seen.