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How Placeit Is Using AI to Improve Design Mastery

A new generation of artificial intelligence tools is helping Envato's in-house creatives at Placeit to better service the needs of creators globally.

Posted 28 Feb 2023
Placeit AI blog header examples

Can artificial intelligence be an essential tool in the digital creative process, providing expanded access to powerful creative outcomes without sacrificing artistic merit and control?

That’s the question at the forefront of the minds of Envato’s creative team driving one of the world’s largest mockup and smart template platforms, Placeit. Analine Manzanilla, Content Director for Placeit, said the approach from the Guadalajara-based team is to put the emphasis and the control back in the hands of content creators, empowering them to deliver their projects in a more meaningful way. 

“What makes our approach unique is that our content creators – the designers and retouchers – have a lot of input in the final result. We’re empowering our team to use these AI tools as a tool to help their process, not the only thing they use. From what we have seen being made by many people who share their creations online, most of the content created out there right now is minimally edited, with little to no human intervention.”

In turn, it means the creations that the Placeit design team comes up with are of high quality, abide by relevant copyright rules and trademarks, and are culturally aware. With over 180,000 active subscribers and 20 million unique downloads last year, the team caters to a large and growing audience. These creations – from smart templates for streamers to t-shirt designs and art-driven mock-ups – need to support customers’ rapidly evolving needs. This is particularly essential if Placeit continues delivering on Envato’s creative empowerment mission. 

“Ultimately, our goal is to help people realize their creative ideas.” notes Daniel Lizio-Katzen, Placeit CEO, “and I think the most exciting aspect of AI is how much we’re able to use it to accelerate our Do It For You (DIFY) vision for our customers.” 

t-shirt mockup envato logo on white tee female AI generated model with blue hair.
Placeit users can now access AI-generated apparel mock-up models, complementing the extensive library of real models.

“Many of our customers are not designers, but they can describe what they’re looking for. For example, they might tell us: “I own a small landscaping company called Tony’s Lawn’s, and I’d like a new logo with a lawn tractor and my business name.” We can use our AI, trained on our proprietary graphics and logos, to generate multiple logo options. We’ll then be able to turn the chosen logo into a complete brand kit, t-shirts, sweatshirts, truck signs, business cards, and even social media posts and promotions.”

The latest crop of AI technology also empowers the designers who work for Placeit daily. “We’re using AI to enhance the creative process of our in-house designers and, in turn, improve our productivity which helps our community,” says Daniel Lizio-Katzen. “It’s putting the focus back on creating as opposed to admin. You can see this in particular with motion graphics, where one of the real inefficiencies can be your CPU render times; it’s proving to be far more efficient to get a pre-rendered object for our designers to then use as part of a bigger creation; so we’re always combining multiple images, it’s never just a single AI-created image.”

All of this is done on Envato’s own Stable Diffusion stack, ensuring it’s clear for commercial use with no licensing restrictions, overcoming one of many in the creative community’s chief concerns with using AI-generated assets. 

AI generated racoon art holding coffee mug with Envato logo mockup template
Tools like Stable Diffusion are allowing Placeit’s designers to create new and different kinds of mock-up templates.

With more than 150 templates in the Placeit library that have utilized artificial intelligence in the build process, Analine Manzanilla says it’s more than just about creating content that is too complex or time-consuming to create from scratch. “Sometimes an idea or project requires super-specific images – hyper-personalized image stock. Instructing the AI tool to generate the context or results you’re looking for is straightforward and time-saving. This is particularly true when generating images inspired by sci-fi, surrealism, and fantasy themes.” 

It’s not all imagery either: ChatGPT has also come to the fore for the Placeit copywriting team as a useful means during the research and conceptualization process of creativity, where they can get informed quickly about a specific topic, explore ideas, refine copy and craft better prompts for the other tools in the library.  

Daniel Lizio-Katzen says working with a technology that is developing so quickly is an exciting time. “Within the next year, we’ll see the current image-generation tech transitioning to video generation. In addition, I believe we’ll see transformer models begin to be more “trainable,” we’ll be able to describe to an AI model what we would like it to do, and then it will be able to ‘train itself’ to be optimized for the task at hand.”

It’s a challenge the rest of Envato’s team is also rising to meet, with artificial intelligence playing a role in many other initiatives. For the marketing team, this includes assisting with copywriting and ideation while supporting asset tagging and metadata. While for the rest of Envato’s product team, AI tools guide content curation and even improve the search and discovery system used in Envato’s products. There will be more use cases for AI in digital creativity very soon, so watch this space!

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