6 ways Canva's AI tool can be an easier alternative to Photoshop

Side-by-side of an unedited image and an AI enhanced Canva edit
(Image credit: Future / Canva)

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the slew of AI developments we’ve seen in the last year from big names like ChatGPT, Google Bard and Microsoft Bing, then it won’t surprise you that smaller platforms and services are gunning for a slice of the pie.

AI-generated imagery has been the next biggest AI news trend, with some of the best photo editing apps as well as tools like Dall-E and Adobe Firefly rising to prominence. However, one tool that might have flown under your radar is the slightly more accessible Canva Magic Edit tool.

Announced in March 2023 alongside a slew of tools, most of which targeted specifically at brand representatives and creatives, Magic Edit allows Canva Pro users to transform a selected area of their image with AI. Simply highlight a selection in Canva’s image editor, give a prompt of what you’d like to see in the selection and the tool will then come up with a few different iterations. Voila; you have an AI-altered image.

Of course, it wasn’t long before users started having a bit of fun with the tool, and used it for more creative ideas. Here are some of my favorites:

1. Freshen up a 'fit


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Arguably one of the more useful examples on this list, Magic Edit can be used to quickly adjust your look. 

The possibilities are endless, from sprucing up a social media post where you’re wearing your most beaten-up sweater and leggings to transforming your OOTD into something more professional. 


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Why stop at clothing? TikTok creator @positivelyuncensored took to the tool play hairdresser, and while the AI isn’t quite sophisticated enough yet to seamlessly and radically change your look, it handled a quick restyle and recolor well.

2. Turn into a superhero

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Magic Edit isn’t just useful for regular outfit changes. Sure, professional headshots are fun - but living out your superhero fantasies is way more entertaining.

Plus, it’s the perfect way to psych yourself up before you settle in to watch the Marvel movies in order. In Twitter user @JasonAWheeler’s example, there are some interesting elements of different superheroes making an appearance here; in particular, the X-Men / Thanos-esque blue and yellow figure erupting from Jason’s shoulder. 

3. Create absurdist artworks

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Whether you’re making memes or adding an absurdist twist to an otherwise innocuous image, users like @mattytwoshoes on Twitter have taken the opportunity to get creative with Canva’s Magic Edit tool. 

4. Get a change of scenery

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While it might seem like the most obvious option, using Magic Edit to switch up your backdrop is incredibly useful to add (or remove) personality from your pictures, making them Instagram – or LinkedIn – ready.

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Alternatively, if, like me, you’re uncomfortable with having solo pictures taken, one workaround is editing out someone you photographed, either by replacing them with something else or by isolating and transporting you into an entirely different environment.

However, if you opt for a background with other people in it, you might find your co-star appearing in strange places like Twitter user @TeachinaTARDIS did.

5. Add props or transform background clutter


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If you’re tired of your social media posts looking barren, Magic Edit can help spruce up your space, adding props from the mundane to the fantastical and making your pictures a bit more dynamic. 

Other users have found it useful for removing and transforming unsightly clutter into something a bit more aesthetically pleasing.

6. Enjoy the cursed/blursed results

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Sometimes, half the fun of AI image generation is in twisting it to your mercy until, well, something like this happens. We’re a long way from these tools being remotely capable of true-to-life human faces, and until then we’ll have to have all the fun we can.

Or, of course, go for the down-right nightmare fuel approach:

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Canva Pro is a lot more accessible and functional than some of the other AI tools available, what with Adobe’s Creative Cloud being known for its lofty subscriptions and Dall-E serving a fairly singular purpose using a credits-based payment system. 

Although Canva’s AI still doesn’t seem to have quite cracked the art of human faces, it’s pretty good as a quick way to transform and edit your images. For micro-influencers, photography hobbyists and those who just want to have a bit of fun, Canva Pro makes for a fantastic next-best thing. 

Josephine Watson
Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Josephine Watson (@JosieWatson) is TechRadar's Managing Editor - Lifestyle. Josephine has previously written on a variety of topics, from pop culture to gaming and even the energy industry, joining TechRadar to support general site management. She is a smart home nerd, as well as an advocate for internet safety and education, and has also made a point of using her position to fight for progression in the treatment of diversity and inclusion, mental health, and neurodiversity in corporate settings. Generally, you'll find her watching Disney movies, playing on her Switch, or showing people pictures of her cats, Mr. Smith and Heady.