Imagine being able to select and position elements in an existing stock photo, so that you can search for new images based on that unique arrangement of objects. Sound like magic? It is. It’s Adobe magic.

Now in public beta, Find Similar Content with Object Position and Size is an enhancement to the Find Similar feature. It capitalizes on Adobe’s AI and Machine Learning technology, Sensei. Now, when you locate an image in our collection that is close to what you want, but perhaps the scene composition isn’t ideal (a camping tent at the lower left instead of the upper upper right for example), Sensei can help you refine your search by letting you reposition and even resize major elements in the source photograph!

Here’s how it works:

1. Start by doing a typical keyword or visual search at http://stock.adobe.com. For example, search for “tent” or “bicycle”.

Searching for a tent.

Once you find an asset that is close to what you want, make that image the reference image by choosing Find Similar from either the thumbnail or detail view of the image.

Selecting Find Similar from the thumbnail results.
Selecting Find Similar from the detail view.

Selecting a dot isolates a major visual element in the scene. Your search results automatically update.

Once selected, you can drag that element around in the preview, or even scale it larger or smaller.

As you complete these actions, Sensei adjusts the search results to bring relevant content to the top of the results page.

You can further refine your search by adding additional keywords.

Even though the source image is a night scene, I can change the parameters by adding keywords such as daytime.
Change the time of year by adding descriptive keywords.

Sensei can even identify specific faces and colours!

Isolating the male model brought up several results of the same model, or ones very similar in appearance.
Picking a new source image and selecting the blue tent generates pretty accurate results.

Remember this feature is in beta, and it’s learning as it goes, so you’ll occasionally get the odd false positive. When this does happen however, you can quickly understand why a false positive occurs (for example, strong color similarity, shape similarity).

I was excited to discover that Sensei will also include video footage in the search results (although, currently, you cannot use video as the source image for a Find Similar by Object Position and Size search).

When you're done, or want to search based on another object in your source image, reset your search back to the entire image area by clicking on the "X" icon on the highlighted object.

Tip: If you want to clear your search entirely and start a new search, go back to the stock.adobe.com homepage to clear all criteria.


It bears repeating that this new functionality is in beta, so there are a couple things to keep in mind.

  • The source image must originate in the Adobe Stock catalog; it won’t yet work with images you upload in a visual search.
  • If you're not seeing any dots appear in your Find Similar preview, try clearing your web browser cache, or working in a private or incognito window.
  • This feature is constantly being refined, as Sensei learns more, so, expect the occasional oddball image, but also expect it to get more accurate over time.
  • It works better when looking for a particular object, such as a tent, bicycle, mug, person rather than a general image like a landscape or background.

Wrap Up

On a personal note, I continue to be impressed by the investment and development of Adobe Stock. The goal is to make searching for the right asset for the right market at the right time, and save you time in the process. Enhancements like Find Similar with Object Position and Size move that needle in the right direction. I hope you give this new functionality a test drive and that you see the results you need, faster than before.

Created By
Jim Babbage