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Which Generative AI Tool Is Better?

AI tools are becoming standard updates in digital design software, including AI expansion tools. Adobe Photoshop was the first software to introduce such a tool, but Canva isn’t far behind. While the tools are named differently, the purpose of both is the same: using AI to expand an image past its original bounds.

But which is better: Photoshop’s Generative Expand or Canva’s Magic Expand? Let’s compare them.

Ease of Use

How easy is it to access these AI expansion tools? Are they easy to find and use in the software?

Canva Magic Expand

Cnva Magic Expand Tool

Canva released Canva Magic Studio in October 2023, although there were some pre-existing AI tools available. The Magic Expand tool is part of Canva Magic Studio.

To access Magic Expand, once on the Canva editor page, upload an image and select or drag it to your artboard. Select the image, then go to Edit Photo > Magic Expand to access the Magic Expand tool. It has simple instructional guides.

Magic Expand is only available for standalone images. It cannot be used for images within placeholder frames.

Photoshop Generative Expand

Photoshop Generative Expand Tool with Text Prompt

So long as you’re using the most recent Photoshop update, the generative AI features should appear in a floating toolbar when using any tool with the generative AI options.

To use Generative Expand, select the Crop tool. Instead of cropping into your image, drag the artboard outwards to add space where you want. Then you can choose to type a prompt and hit Generate to reveal your image options.

Price

Price is one of the biggest factors in whether to use one product over another. Which AI image expansion tool has the better price point?

Canva Magic Expand

Canva Pricing Plans Comparison

Not all of Canva’s AI tools are Canva Pro exclusives, but Magic Expand is. You can only access it with a Canva Pro account—or a Canva Pro 30-day free trial.

It costs $14.99 per month for a one-person Canva Pro account. This gives you access to all Canva Pro tools, features, and elements. For many, the price is worth the benefits of Canva Pro.

Photoshop Generative Expand

Adobe Creative Cloud and Photoshop Pricing Plans.

Photoshop is part of Adobe Creative Cloud—a subscription model to 20+ design and video software. Adobe offers a 14-day free trial to new users of each software. Subscription prices start from $20.99 per month for an individual Adobe Photoshop plan or $54.99 per month for the All Apps plan with access to all Adobe Creative Cloud software.

Quality and Accuracy of Results

The most important aspect of using AI expansion tools is to get quality results for your project. They should be accurate, high quality, and match your original image. Which does that best?

Canva Magic Expand

Canva Magic Expand Generated Results

Magic Expand doesn’t offer a text prompt box; Canva’s AI only uses the existing image to generate the expanded imagery. Great for plain backgrounds or repeated scenery.

This unfortunately means it isn’t very accurate for expanding details and can’t assume your desires upon expanding your image. However, you can use Canva’s other Magic tools—which do have text prompts—to add or remove elements of your image, if required.

You can choose the image size to extend to—from full page to various pre-set sizes. You can regenerate four more images if the original four are not to your expectations.

Photoshop Generative Expand

Photoshop Generative Expand Results

Photoshop’s Generative Expand has an optional text prompt box. It uses Adobe Firefly’s intelligence without a prompt to expand your image, or you can provide a clear text prompt.

Use the Crop tool to resize the frame of your image, allowing room for its expansion, then with or without a prompt, select Generate.

Using a text prompt, the results are more accurate but won’t always match the style. Photoshop generates three initial images, but you can easily regenerate more.

Best Use Cases

Both Canva and Photoshop have specific uses; you should keep these uses in mind when deciding which generative expansion tool is best for you.

Canva Magic Expand

Layout on Canva with Generated Cat Image

Magic Expand only expands an isolated image within a design. This means you can use Magic Expand to extend the size or shape of one image without affecting the rest of your design.

Canva offers resize features for Pro members which resizes an entire design and not solely one image. Magic Expand expands parts of an image to balance your overall design.

Your expanded image can only be expanded as large as the artboard you’re working on. It can take up the whole page but can’t be extended further without recreating your artboard.

Photoshop Generative Expand

Large Generative AI Image of Cat in Photoshop

Photoshop is an image editor, not a layout design software. Generative Expand can only be used to extend the borders of the main background image. It can’t be used on other images or on different layers.

You can create your expanded photo in Photoshop and export it to use in other layout software like InDesign or Adobe Express.

Although cheaper, Canva Magic Expand’s lack of a prompt box results in less accurate results. However, if you only need to add extra space around your main image subject, it could provide the results required for your overall Canva design.

Photoshop’s Generative Expand’s results are more detailed, but to use them in a design you’ll have to export and open them in another software. For quick and easy results, Canva is better and cheaper. But Photoshop will provide better quality and detail overall.


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