Canva's New AI 🧑🎨 Wonder Tools
A magic eraser, a branding kit, AI presentations, and more new features
Canva launched a bunch of new features at a live event viewed by 1.5 million people globally. The Australian company is no longer an upstart. 125 million people use it monthly, including 13 million paid subscribers yielding $1.4 billion in revenue. Canva’s increasingly competing with Adobe to help people create eye-catching visuals. Here are its most useful new tricks.
1. Magic Design
Upload any image or short video and Canva’s AI will create something for you. To test it I uploaded a short video. Canva’s AI created several graphics out of the video automatically.
After Canva’s AI generated those drafts, I tweaked settings on one I liked by picking a color palette and style —e.g. funky, modern, neon, minimalist or holiday. Because the graphic’s dimensions were my primary criteria, I used filter settings for image type, e.g. banner, poster, or presentation. This feature is free in beta. Once I finished customized it, I downloaded the yellow banner below.
Draw freehand to add a personal touch to anything you’re creating on Canva. My drawing skill is frozen at kindergarten level, so I appreciate the simplicity of these tools — just a pen, marker, highlighter and eraser.
You can adjust line thickness, color and transparency. I like being able to draw on top of slides or other designs to highlight or circle words.
Caveat: No fancy features for pros. For a polished digital drawing experience on iOS, try an app called Paper, which has a richer palette. Or use Google’s free Autodraw on any platform to transform scribbles into objects.
3. Magic Write, Edit and Eraser
Rub out anything in the background of an image with the new Magic Eraser, which is only available on pro accounts. If you want to, replace whatever you erase with something else using Magic Edit. That’s free for up to 100 images a day.
Magic Write has been updated so you can now add AI-generated text to any design. It can even translate words within a design into other languages.
Caveat: Magic Write is not available in student accounts, but it’s available free to teachers as part of Canva for Education. Everyone else gets 25 free uses and then 250 uses per month with a pro account.
4. Create Slides automatically with AI
Type in a prompt between 5-100 words and get an instant slide deck draft. You can then customize those slides, as I demo in the video below. Take a look at a slide deck Canva generated for me based on two bits of text I provided. One prompt I included was a sentence about Canva as a tool for writers. The other was about a conference on journalism and AI.
📺 Watch how I use Canva AI 👁️👁️👇
5. Brand Kit
Coordinate your colors, logos, graphics, and other elements across your team. If you collaborate on publications, designs or presentations, this can be a useful way to stay in sync. It’s only available in pro accounts. For collaborating on presentations, I tend to prefer Pitch.com, because of its appealing templates, but Canva has a broader library of elements and more AI features.
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6. Beat Sync
If music is an important part of your videos, Beat Sync is a cool new way to have Canva suggest edits so that your visual cuts match the beat of your music. There used to be a great way to do this with Apple’s iMovie, but with other software it tends to be a complicated pro-level edit.
7. Create Animations
You can now make a simple animation in Canva without having to mess with Adobe After Effects, Apple Motion or other pro software.
How it works: Drop an object onto the canvas. Select animation. Drag the object in whatever pattern you want it to move. Canva records that animation path. You can export a gif or video of that motion graphic, or share a link to it.
Alternative: To animate text, try Jitter, a free, easy-to-use online animation maker. You can use it for kinetic typography — moving text — or other cool motion graphics. [See my post about how & why to use Jitter].
Catch up with Canva: More Wonder Tools
How and why to use Canva’s New Sites, Docs and Whiteboards
A simple guide to using Canva AI to create images out of text prompts
How to make the most of Canva’s new presentation features & apps
Canva’s template quality is uneven. Some are terrific, but many seem amateurish. Select graphic organizer, for example, and many of the templates look more clip-art-y than professional. Finding gems among the thousands of templates can be tedious.
Some of the new AI features are hidden. Unless you know to look, you may miss them.
Canva is now so full of design types, elements and templates that it’s easy to get overwhelmed, particularly when scanning through drawers packed with hundreds of elements or scrolling through screen after screen of thumbnails
The Magic Design AI repeatedly assumed I wanted Christmas cards when I uploaded family photos, which was off target. The AI is still evolving.
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