What are art styles?

From prehistoric cave paintings to postmodern pixel art, every age has produced distinct artistic styles. These styles often arise in reaction to the trends that precede them. Impressionism, for example, came about in opposition to the Realism of the late 19th century, which itself was a reaction to the Romanticism that came before it.

Historically, painters and sculptors were trained in the popular styles of their time, but with AI art generators anyone can create art in any style from any era.

Why add art styles to your AI prompts.

Firefly AI generated image. Prompt: (left) 80’s retro robot dancing in a busy club, lots of people, abstract
Firefly AI generated image. Prompt: (right) retro robot dancing in a busy club, lots of people, psychedelic anime
Prompt: (left) 80’s retro robot dancing in a busy club, lots of people, abstract ; (right) retro robot dancing in a busy club, lots of people, psychedelic anime

Firefly AI generated image. Prompt: a man in a tuxedo standing in front of a cocktail bar, art deco style

Prompt: a man in a tuxedo standing in front of a cocktail bar, art deco style

Firefly generated Dogs in a Bauhaus style


Founded in Germany in the 1910s, the Bauhaus movement was dedicated to the principle that modern design should be simple, functional, and easily reproduced for the masses. Use Bauhaus to create images with geometric shapes and simple lines.


Starting in France in the mid-19th century, Impressionist painters tried to capture fleeting moments in time. Their subjects tended to be everyday people and places, and instead of portraying them realistically, they used visible brushstrokes and bold, unmixed colors to capture light and convey a sense of spontaneity. Try this style to evoke that same feeling of action in a specific moment.

Firefly generated Dogs in Impressionism style
Firefly generated Dogs in Cubist style


Made famous by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in the early 1900s, the Cubist style breaks elements down to their geometric shapes and attempts to capture subjects from all angles. That’s why, in many of Picasso’s works, the subject has uneven eyes and two noses, one in profile, and one in a three-quarter view. Selecting the Cubism style automatically generates images full of geometric shapes and angles.


Psychedelic art tends to blend vibrant colors and intricately swirling patterns to create distorted, surreal images. (Think of concert posters from the late 1960s.) The Psychedelic style ensures that, whatever your prompt, the results are dreamy and unexpected.

Firefly generated Dogs in a Psychedelic style
Firefly generated Dogs in a Steampunk style


Steampunk art comes out of steampunk genre of science fiction, in which 19th-century Victorian style and steam engine technology meet science fiction and fantasy. The Steampunk effect will dress your subjects in old-fashioned clothes (occasionally with goggles) and generate beautiful, complicated-looking machines.


Beginning in the 1920s, the Surrealists tried to capture the unconscious mind and dreams as a way of more fully capturing the whole of human experience. This style works well for dream descriptions or depictions of life’s weirder moments.

Firefly generated Dogs in a Surrealist style
Firefly generated Dogs in a Synthwave style


Synthwave is an electronic music genre from the early 2000s, but it’s also a visual style that evokes 1980s action and sci-fi TV shows. Characterized by bright pinks, purples, and teals, this is like adding a dash of 1980s Miami to your prompt.

How to add art styles to your prompts in Firefly.

You can start by turning your idea into a text prompt. (If you need more pointers, check out these steps to make AI generated art.) Then add the name of the art style you want to use directly into the prompt field. If you’re not sure which style might work with your idea, you can follow the steps below to try a few different art movements from the control panel.

  • Open Firefly.
    Go to the Text to Image module in Firefly.
  • Find the control panel.
    Click on one of the sample images to open the control panel.
  • Browse Movements.
    In the Effects section of the control panel, click Movements. Scroll down the list and click on the artistic movement you’d like to use.
  • Add your prompt.
    Type your prompt in the prompt field. (Get more tips on how to write effective prompts.)
  • Generate.
    Click Generate and check out the results.
  • Refine.
    Change or add to your prompt, try a different movement, or add more direction by choosing from the Color and Tone, Lighting, and Composition menus. You can also try negative prompts to exclude elements from the results.
Tiger in color and in black and white

Give even more style guidance to Firefly with Generative Match.

Edit part of an image with Generative Fill.

Firefly AI generated image. Prompt: husky dog dj with sunglasses tongue out with paw on spinner, long-time exposure, digital art

Prompt: husky dog dj with sunglasses tongue out with paw on spinner, long-time exposure, digital art


What art styles are best for AI prompts?

Different styles work for different prompts, so consider the look you want to achieve. If you’re not sure, try exploring a few different styles and see which one you like best. It might help to create a moodboard of images that inspire you and use those to guide you in your prompts.

What are some unique art style ideas for AI prompts?

Experiment with subject matter and style. Go for traditional, like “watercolor of sailboats” or “Japanese woodblock of Mount Fuji with a farmer in the foreground.” But you can also mix up style and subject matter, like “watercolor of a heavy metal concert” or “Japanese woodblock of cars sitting on a freeway in rush-hour traffic.” Give the AI more parameters to work with by adding a more detailed description of the scene you imagine. Then try the scene in a few different styles to get a sense of how it looks. An Art Nouveau depiction of a “teddy bear’s picnic,” for example, is going to be wildly different from a Neo-expressionist version.
How do AI art generators work?
As a type of generative AI technology, AI art generators work similarly to other types of artificial intelligence, which use a machine learning model and large datasets to be able to produce a specific type of result. With generative AI, anybody can use everyday language and other inputs to produce images, videos, documents, digital experiences, and more. Adobe Firefly is being built into Creative Cloud to give people the tools to both generate results quickly and customize them to fit their unique vision.

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