My Remote Internship with Adobe Research (Summer 2020)

Tobias Hinz

18 September 2020
Reading time: 3 minutes

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Creative Intelligence Lab at Adobe Research for three months. During this time I was lucky to work together with Matt, Oliver, and Eli. During the internship we worked on generative models (specifically: GANs) and how we can apply them to domains in which we only have very limited data available.

I was originally meant to do my internship in the San-Francisco office. Luckily, Adobe was very helpful and gave me all the information I needed to start the application process for a visa (I needed a J-1 visa for which you need a licensed sponsoring company). By mid-March I had all required documents and was ready to make an appointment with the US embassy in Berlin…


and then…COVID hit the Western hemisphere and everything went into shutdown.


What followed was an ordeal of scheduling appointments with the US embassy only to have them canceled again and again. Again, my mentors and Adobe were super supportive and we went through several stages of postponing my start-date in the hope that I would still be able to get a visa. At some point, though, it became apparent that this would not happen since the US had stopped handing out visas completely for the forseeable future. Furthermore, Adobe had also decided that all offices worldwide would close and all employees would work from home.

Despite all this, Adobe still went ahead and managed to organize virtual internships with only weeks before the first interns would start. No small feat, considering that Adobe welcomed more than 700 interns worldwide this year. Of course, this meant that I wouldn’t actually see any Adobe offices (in Germany or the US), but would continue to work from home as I had previously.


So how was my first virtual internship? Given that I was in a different time zone (9 hours ahead of the West Coast), had only ever met my mentors virtually, and had never interned with Adobe before, I can only say it was…


Of course I had to change my daily rythm a little bit. With the time difference being as it is this meant that all my meetings took place in the evening, usually between 6-9pm. I usually met with my mentors at least twice a week. During these meetings we would first try to figure out what we wanted to work on during the internship. After this was settled we talked about my current progress, what I was working on in detail, problems I run into, and cool papers we had read. These meetings were always super helpful and I learned a lot. Not only did I get a lot of specific feedback about problems and interesting ideas to try out, but I could also ask anything about research and life at Adobe. It probably also helped that I felt that all of us got along really well and Matt, Oliver, and Eli are great people to work with.


Despite social distancing, Matt, Oliver, and Eli were by far not the only people at Adobe I talked to. Adobe’s Slack is overflowing with channels for all kinds of interests. Ranging from different channels for research, conferences, and ongoing projects, there are channels for healthy food, recipes, sport, and music. Adobe’s talent team was also very active and organized regular social events, hangouts, and fun challenges. There were also regular seminars and workshops on things like code-quality, management, patent applications, and personal growth. Not for nothing, Adobe’s intern program was very well received and appreciated.

To make things even more interactive research interns were randomly matched with Adobe researchers on a weekly basis. Through this we could meet researchers from different departments and research areas which was super interesting. Additionally, we were also randomly paired with other research interns to exchange our experiences and talk about our projects. All research interns also gave either an intro or an exit talk in which they briefly introduced their work.

But this isn’t were the social component ended. Matt also organized the Hat Game (specifically, we played Variant One of this). Each week, a group of researchers and interns would come together for a fun round of explaining and guessing celebrities, words and idioms ranging from “Batman”, to “Fourier Transform” or “the road less traveled”.


Overall, I was really positively surprised in how great of an experience a remote internship can be. Adobe’s talent team really did a great job of setting up the whole experience within a very short time frame. Everyone was always super helpful and supportive whenever I run into any problems or didn’t know what to do.

And of course, my special thanks to Matt, Oliver, and Eli for taking the time to meet with me every week and special special thanks to Matt for doing everything to make this internship one of the best experiences I had so far.

And of course, if you’re looking for research internship yourself, I can whoeheartedly recomment Adobe.