Synthetic Media – A Beginners Guide to the Media Format of the Future

Synthetic media is relatively new, yet it has shown rapid growth in the design world. If you have followed the the rise of synthetic media and deepfakes aka a person's face replaces another's, you might wonder what the future of synthetic media is.

Computer-generated in seconds and from text instructions via machine learning artificial intelligence, this type of media offers an alternative to traditional media that expands creativity without compromising quality or accuracy. 

Brands, companies, and creatives can produce realistic, high-quality, and more personalized visuals at a fraction of the cost and time by using synthetic media technologies – it's no wonder so many businesses are turning towards this new form of content creation! 

Are you one of those who would love to leap into AI generated images but don’t quite understand the first thing about them? Then this guide is for everyone who is looking to get a better understanding of AI Generated Media in general as well as the future of synthetic media and AI.

We will be exploring what exactly synthetic media is, where you can get it from, the advantages of utilizing such content, and any potential risks associated with its use. Finally, we'll discuss how to maximize your investment when opting for synthetic media solutions.

Ready? Let’s go!

What is Synthetic Media?

You might ask yourself, what is Synthetic media? Especially since the rise of Synthetic content and the rise of Synthetic media.

Synthetic media is digital content created using artificial intelligence (AI) and neural networks instead of traditional, human-made methods.  

It is created via interactive media synthesis – computer vision and artificial intelligence algorithms that generate realistic images, videos, audio files, text, and other media types, with minimal human involvement –a written instruction referred to as a text prompt. 

Image synthesis, video synthesis, and audio synthesis –including human speech synthesis and synthetic music– all operate similarly: the content can be generated from scratch using a text prompt or modified from existing media with minimal effort, always using text-to-image, intelligent software.

For example, the best free AI image generators all operate with text-to-image software, the same as AI video generators. There are also AI photo tools that let you edit images automatically (here, you can learn AI image editing tricks!) and specific tools to perform one particular photo edit, like Mokker, which replaces backgrounds in product photos using AI. Today you can even train your own image recognition model today for free.

Synthetic media offers many advantages over traditional methods of creating content, the main ones being increased efficiency in production processes, improved quality and consistency in outputs, and reduced costs for companies and designers.

Types Of Synthetic Media

The most common types of synthetic media are AI generated images, which can be photorealistic or not but are always digital illustrations, synthetic videos –think of deepfakes and synthesized video clips–3D models/animations, and computer-generated audio content, such as synthetic voices, music tracks, and sound effects. 

Over the last half of 2022, a few AI generative tools became available to the public, so every user with Internet access could create synthetic media themselves. AI image generators, video makers, artificial voice technology, and natural language generation apps like chatbots and voice assistants. All require a minimum of human intervention but generate the media automatically. 

If you wonder how to tell synthetic media from “traditional” media files, here is a guide with 4 ways to identify AI-generated images.

Synthetic media can be edited and enhanced with image editing software as much as any other image, including AI-powered edits that achieve great results with little input. Tools like Luminar Neo have lots of AI editing capabilities worth exploring. You can try it for free with the Luminar free trial, and now you can get it at a discounted price!
Enjoy the power of AI photo editing with a 10% discount! Valid for all Luminar Neo plans

Benefits Of Using Synthetic Media aka AI Generated Media

There are a few relevant benefits to using AI generated content in your creative process: 

  • Expanded Creative Opportunities – These new technologies fuel human creativity and expand its limits. With traditional media creation, you need a certain skill, time, and resources to produce content. But with text to image or text to speech applications, you can create personalized media in no time and without ability or cost restraints. 
  • Increased Efficiency in Production Processes – Synthetic media allows businesses to quickly create high-quality visuals for all digital channels without investing time or money into hiring photographers or videographers. This makes it possible for companies to produce more content faster than ever before while maintaining the same quality level as traditional methods.
    Additionally, synthetic media can be reused multiple times with minimal effort due to its digital nature, making it an ideal solution for businesses that need consistent visuals across their marketing campaigns.
  • Improved Quality and Consistency in Outputs: Media created via artificial intelligence algorithms offer greater control over images' look and feel than traditional photography techniques since it is generated digitally rather than captured physically on film or camera sensors. This means that designers have more flexibility in adjusting color palettes, lighting effects, shadows, etc., resulting in higher-quality visuals that are consistent across all platforms where they’re used.
  • Reduced Production Costs – So far, AI media generative models are either free to use or fairly affordable, which helps brands and businesses cut down the costs of creative materials, and more professionals and small businesses get access to custom and impactful media that was out of their budgets when it comes to traditional media. 

How and Where to Use Synthetic Content

AI generated images, synthetic videos, and other forms of AI media can be used almost in every way in which traditional, human-generated media is. 

Some of the most popular uses for this type of content are on social media platforms, where artists share their new creations as a means for artistic expression and technology enthusiasm, like sharing deepfake videos with humorous intent or building digital avatars of themselves, for example.  

More professionally, synthetic media can be used in many more digital channels, from creating realistic 3D environments for video games and VR/augmented reality experiences to generating stock photos for commercial use in visual marketing (or to sell on stock photo sites), or using a synthetic voice to translate their speech content to multiple languages or to create a proprietary voice virtual assistants –like Alexa or Siri–, for example. 

It’s worth mentioning, however, that the legal aspects surrounding the use of synthetic content in commercial projects are not without questions and holes at this time (particularly when the content is created with a free tool), so you must verify the usage terms of the tool you use, and balance the benefits against the risk (more on this below). 

Where to Buy Synthetic Media? Instead of Create Synthetic Media for yourself.

When buying synthetic media, there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. 

Stock media agencies and platforms are slowly but steadily incorporating synthetic media into their offers. A few leading stock photo sites have high-quality synthetic media content, such as photos, videos, 3D models, etc., from both amateur and professional creators worldwide. If you can afford it, legally speaking, this can be the safest option to have an image generated by a computer that is cleared for commercial use. These files are checked for technical quality and artistic value, so they’re better than an average Internaut with no technical skills can produce. 

The cost of buying synthetic media can vary greatly depending on which stock agency or platform you choose and what type of license you need (standard vs. extended). Some sites may have subscription plans with monthly downloads, while others may charge per download or even have free images available if certain conditions are met. Additionally, some sites will offer promotional discounts through coupon codes which can be used at checkout for further savings on purchases made online. homepage

Shutterstock: They have their own AI generative tool (still in beta) and offer synthetic pictures created only with the said tool, which they developed in partnership with OpenAI (the lab behind the Dall-E image generator) and offers increased legal safety. You can use the Shutterstock free trial and the Shutterstock coupon codes we offer to get these images for free or at a reduced price. homepage

Adobe Stock: They sell licenses for contributor-sourced AI content: AI images, synthetic videos, etc. And they have placed strict standards for this type of media to ensure the best legal coverage for users. You can give it a try with the Adobe Stock free trial

dreamstime logo > Synthetic Media - A Beginners Guide to the Media Format of the Future

Dreamstime: They now have AI generated pictures in their collection, available to license under a royalty-free license and, therefore, suitable for commercial use.

panthermedia e1585945647935 > Synthetic Media - A Beginners Guide to the Media Format of the Future

PantherMedia: This more traditional stock photo agency includes synthetic visuals in their offer, and they vet each file against strict requirements, adding value and making them safer to use. 

Alternative: AI Generative Model Apps aka Synthetic Media Technologies

As we said, there are AI media generation tools available online for everyone to use. Normally they require you to sign up for a user account, and then you get access to their features. Most of these web-based apps don’t require downloading or installing anything. 

Some options give you free credits to create new media, and some you have to pay to use. Important: free AI generative apps tend to give you fewer USA ge rights over the media you generate with them, so you have to read the usage terms carefully. 

These applications allow you to make your own user generated content from scratch instead of licensing it from an agency. 

Risks Associated with Using Synthetic Media

Using synthetic media comes with certain risks that designers and companies should be aware of before utilizing this type of content. 

Copyright issues: Most tools have trained their deep learning algorithms with millions of existing media files from the internet, which belong to other (human) artists. Then, the software uses the data from those images as the “ingredients” to concoct your desired image. Plus, some tools can accurately replicate many artists’ signature styles. Because of these traits, it remains questioned who owns the copyright for synthetic media today, if it’s legal to create certain kinds of content, and whether a user can claim to own an image created with AI. 

The industry is working on overcoming these issues and establishing a standard for AI media copyright. Still, you must be careful when using synthetic content, especially if you’re doing so for commercial purposes. 

Biometric Data and Right of Privacy issues: Another potential risk you can face is to attempt against a real person’s image. Every person owns the right to not only their likeness but also the unique composition of their facial features (what is called biometric data). Unless they authorize it, no one can use their image or their biometric data in synthetic images or synthetic videos.
You might have seen cases of news reports that accidentally pick up fake news based on deepfake videos of celebrities that appear doing and saying things they never actually did in real life or images that show events that never happened. Deepfake audio content using voice cloning to pretend a certain person said something is also well-known at this point. 

And probably heard about how many public persons are against this and have taken legal steps to protect their image and their own voice from synthetic media attacks against them. But these restriction applies to all people, so you may never use AI to generate images of one person’s face that exists in real life.
Some voice artists are also protecting the unique sounds of their voices from voice cloning technology that could replicate it for commercial use without their consent. 

How to Make the Best of Synthetic Media

Besides avoiding the aforementioned risks, to maximize the benefits of technological advances in image synthesis in your projects, you can: 

  • Improve your prompt writing skills: AI generative models can produce realistic images, funny virtual avatars, dreamy mixed reality graphics, create videos with engaging scenes, or come up with unique, outworldly sound effects. However, it takes a very good text prompt for deep learning algorithms to be able to generate such media.Even if you are a professional visual artist or audio tech, if you want to exploit this technology in your favor, the best you can do is incorporate writing skills specifically for text prompts. Some platforms offer prompt inspiration examples; others even have guidelines for prompt writing, so you should take advantage of that. It wouldn’t surprise us if, one day, text prompt writing becomes a valuable technical skill!
  • Learn how to use the media safely: Understanding copyright ownership, rights acquired, and licensing requirements for the media before use is another important factor in maximizing its benefits. Different platforms and stock agencies have different terms regarding how much of the asset you own and how they may be used; therefore, it’s important to read through all applicable licenses prior to purchase or use so that legal issues do not arise later on. 

FAQs in Relation to Synthetic Media

What is meant by synthetic media?

It includes images, videos, audio clips, and other forms of media that are generated algorithmically. Synthetic media creators make realistic visuals or animations for various applications such as advertising, gaming, virtual reality experiences, and more. It offers an efficient way to produce high-quality visuals without expensive equipment or manual labor.

How does synthetic media work?

Synthetic media is the result of creating digital content using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms, such as images and videos. This type of tech can create realistic visuals that look like they were taken from real-world sources. AI algorithms are trained on data sets containing a variety of different types of imagery so that they can generate new Ai images or synthetic video content based on those datasets. Synthetic media creators can also manipulate existing images or videos by adding text, logos, and other virtual objects. Additionally, AI image tools can help automate photo editing and video production tasks, which would otherwise require manual labor.

What are the main advantages of synthetic media?

Synthetic media offers many advantages over traditional stock photos. Firstly, it is much more cost-effective than buying individual images from stock agencies. Secondly, synthetic media can be customized to fit any design project or brand identity, allowing for greater creative freedom and flexibility. Thirdly, since the images are generated algorithmically rather than manually photographed, they can be produced in large quantities quickly and efficiently.. These benefits make synthetic media an attractive option for designers and companies looking to create unique visuals.

Synthetic Media is the Way of the Future, Today

In conclusion, synthetic media is a great resource for companies and designers to use in their projects, as well as for creative artists looking for innovation and inspiration. 

It offers many advantages, such as cost savings, increased efficiency, and more creative freedom. 

However, it is important to understand the risks associated with using synthetic media before making any decisions. By researching where to buy synthetic media, understanding the costs involved, finding agencies that offer quality synthetic content, and finding ways to maximize the benefits of using this technology, you can ensure that your project will be successful. 

Synthetic media is an exciting new way of creating content that promises to take over the creative industry. It shouldn’t be overlooked!

Image header: Copyright by aoo3771 /, all rights reserved

Ivanna Attié
Ivanna Attié

I am Content Manager, Researcher, and Author in and Stock Photo Press and its many stock media-oriented publications. I am a passionate communicator with a love for visual imagery and an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. Lucky enough to enter the wonderful world of stock photography working side-by-side with experienced experts, I am happy to share my research, insights, and advice about image licensing, stock photography offers, and the stock media industry with everyone in the creative community. My background is in Communication and Journalism, and I also love literature and performing arts.

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