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Skylum Luminar AI Update 5 Finally Fixes Canon EOS R5 RAW Bug

Skylum Luminar AI Update 5 Finally Fixes Canon EOS R5 RAW Bug

Skylum Luminar AI Update 5 Finally Fixes Canon EOS R5 RAW Bug 1

Skylum has announced an update for Luminar AI that adds one new feature, addresses multiple bugs, and fixes a major issue with the platform’s ability to properly read Canon EOS R5 files.

While Skylum has been working through pushback from consumers regarding the launch of Luminar Neo and subsequent retirement of Luminar 4, the company did specifically say that it would be working on enhancing the experience of Luminar AI rather than focusing on new features.

Lunimar AI Update 5 makes good on that promise and adds a set of bug fixes to the application, including the crippling Canon EOS R5 RAW file issue that resulted in the company removing the R5 from its list of supported cameras. That changes today, as Skylum says that the R5 RAW file issue has been fixed.

For months, Luminar AI was unable to properly read Canon R5 RAW files since it launched claimed support for the camera as part of Luminar update 4.3.3 six months ago. Photographers started noticing issues with images captured with the R5 in the platform for more than two months before Skylum removed official support for the camera while it worked on fixing the issue.

In short, photographers noticed that R5 files would be imported in what can only be described as “overly contrasty” and there was no way to use Luminar AI to make the photos look correct.

Skylum Luminar AI Update 5 Finally Fixes Canon EOS R5 RAW Bug 2
Image as imported to LuminarAI
Skylum Luminar AI Update 5 Finally Fixes Canon EOS R5 RAW Bug 3
Image as imported into Lightroom.

At the time, a Skylum representative said that it was aware of the issue.

“We are aware that for Canon R5 images, there are specific cases with options like ‘double pixel’ and/or HDR settings,” Skylum said. “In these few cases, the user may experience issues when opening these images. The issues do not apply to most Canon R5 photos; that is why we consider the camera to be supported.”

More than four months later, the company tells PetaPixel that the camera is now finally supported and retains full information in the highlights and shadows.

Additionally, Luminar AI now supports the Olympus E-P7, Panasonic DC-GH5 II, and the Pentax K-3 III. The company adds that it has also caught and fixed seven other minor bugs on macOS and seven bugs on Windows that it says could “lead to unexpected results.”

Skylum also added a new enhancement to the Sky Replacement technology called “For This Photo.” It’s a minor but arguably useful update that uses content-aware technology to recommend the best sky for a particular photo and include recommendations from the skies collection on the Luminar Marketplace.

This update is free and users will be prompted to install the update the next time they launch Luminar AI.

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Skylum Reveals More Details of the Upcoming Luminar Neo

Skylum Reveals More Details of the Upcoming Luminar Neo

Skylum created a bit of a late summer storm when it announced a new image editor, Luminar Neo. The complaint from users has been that Skylum drops development on an editor, only to release a new one, while essentially going end of life on the current software. 

There’s some validity to the complaint. My advice to Skylum is to settle on a codebase, lock it in, and keep updating it, a la Adobe and many of their competitors. Still, Skylum has offered some tremendous software and given us very high-quality AI tools for sky replacement, portraits, and much more.

Skylum has already announced Luminar Neo for this winter, but we’re getting more details of its capabilities. 


Creators can combine multiple images as layers on a single canvas, including raw images, for maximum control over color and light. Blending, masking, and opacity can be used to create collages, double exposure effects, and other powerfully creative interactions between layered photos.
PNG images with transparency can be added to layers, allowing artists to move beyond strictly photographic compositions. Textures and other graphic elements can add additional flourishes to the final work. Once these elements are on a layer, they can be easily moved, rotated, and flipped to place them precisely within the composition. Luminar Neo includes built-in overlays and object libraries, which allow artists to start creating layered compositions right out of the box.

Depth-Aware Control Over Scene Lighting

Luminar Neo can fix a portrait where the foreground subject is underexposed. Enhance a landscape photo where the background is overexposed. RelightAI helps isolate the problem areas for correction while leaving the rest of the image untouched. Advanced controls let the artist naturally reposition and blend the light. 

Skylum Reveals More Details of the Upcoming Luminar Neo 4
By combining RelightAI with other scene-aware tools, photographers can precisely adjust the lighting of any photo.

Examples include:

  • Sky Enhancer AI: Precisely adjust the color and exposure of the sky and clouds.
  • AccentAI: Balance exposure and color before RelightAI to create an appealing contrast.
  • Portrait BokehAI: Adjust the depth of an image and control background blurring.

Artificial intelligence that drives several tools in the Luminar family is 3D Depth Mapping. It is used in AtmosphereAI and Portrait BokehAI to recognize the contents of a photo. Depth mapping seamlessly identifies the planes (i.e. foreground, midground, background) and the elements (i.e. people, buildings, skies, animals). 
RelightAI is a lighting tool that uses the 3D Depth Map in a whole new way. RelightAI provides discreet and creative control to artists, allowing them to independently adjust the lighting in the foreground and background to recover detail and color. 

The upcoming version also offers context-aware masking.

Skylum Reveals More Details of the Upcoming Luminar Neo 5


Luminar Neo ships this winter with layers, RelightAI, and other exciting tools. Portrait Background RemovalAI and MaskAI are planned for the first free update to Luminar Neo, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2022.
Early-bird pricing for the Luminar Neo application and plugin is available here and includes a 30-day money-back guarantee from the time of shipping. Luminar Neo will also be carried in both the Microsoft Store and macOS App Store.

Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing the app, and like many reviewers, I’ll get an early look, which I will share with you. While I have some differences with Skylum on how their apps should be sold and updated, there’s no denying that they are moving the editing industry forward with fresh ideas.

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Skylum Is Launching a New Image Editor Called Luminar Neo

Skylum Is Launching a New Image Editor Called Luminar Neo

Skylum revealed Luminar Neo today, which builds upon the unique AI-editing technologies for which the company is well known. According to the company, Luminar Neo further re-imagines the image editing experience, which enables creators to be more expressive with fewer boundaries and rediscover the joy in their creative work.

“As the latest member of the Luminar family, we designed Luminar Neo to allow artists to take on more challenging image creation work and achieve results which often seem unattainable,” said Dima Sytnik, Co-Founder and CPO of Skylum. 

What Does Luminar Neo Do?

Expected features in this new editor include:

  • Transform photos with new relighting options. Luminar Neo analyzes each image to recognize the depth of a scene and its subject which allows precise control over exposure and tone.
  • Remove blemishes and distracting elements. Luminar Neo automatically recognizes and removes artifacts caused by a dirty camera sensor or lens. New tools make removing unwanted background elements easier than ever before.
  • Powerful background replacement. Take full control of the background for portrait photos by quickly replacing it with an all-new image or background.
  • Round-trip mobile image management. Our new companion mobile app makes it simple to add pictures captured on a mobile device to your Luminar Catalog. Once edited in Luminar Neo, results can be sent back to the mobile device for easy social sharing or viewing on the go.

The software is expected to ship this winter and will be available as a package deal with Luminar AI.

My Thoughts

It looks like another interesting effort from Skylum. It appears to be aimed at portrait photographers more than, say, landscape photographers, but it’s hard to tell until I have the software in hand. Still, LuminarAI has some excellent tools for portrait work, like skin smoothing, lighting controls, and bokeh. That makes me think there’s going to be some overlap with LuminarAI, and I’m wondering why they don’t incorporate these new tools into the existing product. I hope it’s not a ploy to soak photographers twice, once with LuminarAI and then again with Luminar Neo. Luminar says the two products have different workflows, and photographers are free to choose which is the better fit. 

In a more detailed response, Skylum says:

LuminarAI is the easiest-to-use image editor fully powered by AI for those who prefer a time-saving, template-driven workflow for quick results. The app can swiftly guide you to the best outcomes while still preserving editing flexibility. It’s a compact and easy-to-navigate application that already packs everything one needs for great results.

Luminar Neo is for those who want more editing options and more creative control. The app provides the ability to build detailed and expressive images with advanced layer-based workflow and flexible tools that can be applied in any order. It also boasts a high-speed core engine with background rendering and accelerated exports for more complex tasks. (while also retaining the features of Luminar AI).

In my own landscape work, I find LuminarAI a powerful and time-saving tool. They’ve got very creative people on the software end, but companies have to be careful to be not seen exploiting their users or there will be a backlash. We don’t have any real details on the specifics of this release. Skylum says Neo is not a replacement for AI and that LuminarAI will continue to be sold and supported. 

I look forward to getting an early release of Luminar Neo and will share my thoughts at that time. 

Here’s a link to sign up and purchasing info. The company says in the coming weeks, they’ll share more information on Neo.

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Luminar AI review: Best photo editing software

Luminar AI sample

Automatic editing tools have a bad reputation with photography purists. Almost every professional photo editing software offers at least some kind of “automatic” image improvement and they’re often extremely hit-or-or miss. They blindly adjust your image to match curves or levels with no regard for the subject or your creative intent. Luminar AI, however, adds an artificial intelligence aspect (hence the name) to help make automated editing a lot more effective.

What is Luminar AI?

In the land of picture editing software, Luminar AI falls into slightly odd territory. You can import entire folders into your Luminar library, but it’s not made for drastic organization efforts like Adobe Lightroom Classic. With the Luminar AI photo editor, you put the images where you want them, then point the program toward them for editing. 

From there, you can start editing your photos. You have access to a selection of editing tools, but the interface places a strong emphasis on the idea of one-click edits. 

How does Luminar AI work?

Luminar AI before

Luminar AI

Here’s a look at the Luminar AI interface. I purposely imported a boring photo into it to mess around with its AI-driven adjustments. Stan Horaczek

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Once you have imported your images, you can start applying adjustments. Luminar AI calls its primary image adjustment method Templates. These are literally one-click adjustments that give your photo a specific look. You won’t find names you’d expect from an Adobe product, though, like “high contrast” or “blue filter.” Instead, Luminar AI takes a more wholistic approach and offers templates with names like “Iconic,” which is a high-contrast black-and-white look. You can also apply a template called More Volume which ups the contrast, adjusts the light, and totally replaces an blown out sky with an array of fluffy clouds. 

Luminar AI sky replacement
Luminar AI does a very good job telling where the sky should go. This edit happened with one click. Stan Horaczek

At first, the entire process is jarring. If you’re used to spending copious time fiddling around with sliders and cursor tools, these massive, instant aesthetic shifts can be hard to accept. Once you get over that hump, though, it becomes clear just how powerful this bit of software really is. 

Building your catalog

Before we get too deep into the editing process, we have to pull our photos into the program itself. Luminar AI uses a catalog system that presents added photos as a simple grid that you can scroll through. I imported a few hundred raw files from my Canon R5, which felt like a mistake. Even on my Ryzen 9 machine with 64 GB RAM, I managed to crash the program while scrolling gingerly through the catalog. So, even though you can import all your images fairly simply, I can’t recommend it. 

Starting an edit with Luminar AI

Once you find an image you want to adjust, there are two modes on top of the UI to choose from Templates contains those one-click AI adjustments I mentioned before. The Edit tab contains more familiar adjustments. 

Click into the “light” dialog box and you’ll get familiar sliders like temperature, tint, exposure, highlights, and shadows. Many of the other options, however, read slightly different than you might be used to. 

Each set of tools that employs AI technology has a little yellow AI next to it in the menu. The “enhance” menu, for instance, contains a slider called “accent,” which appears to increase vibrance and micro contrast in high-frequency details. It also contains another slider called Sky Enhancer, which tries to prevent boring skies in your images. 

Scroll down and things get even more interesting. The Creative tab contains several entire menus specifically designed to replace skies in your images. A drop-down menu gives you a whole selection of different skies with various levels and types of clouds. Once you select one, you can change its position, switch it around, and even move some sliders to try and adjust the lighting in the image to match what would be coming from the new sky. 

If you’re a photography purist, you’re going to hate all of this. If you’re a curious person, or you just really hate blow skies, then it’s certainly intriguing. 

What about portraits?

Luminar AI
The new Portrait Bokeh mode feature relies on Luminar’s selection tech, which is impressive. Stan Horaczek

The latest Luminar AI update introduced a new feature called Portrait Bokeh, which adds Portrait Mode-style blur to everything except the person in a portrait photo. This, of course, draws on AI algorithms to recognize the subject and add the blur. You can adjust the amount of blur it ads and even refine the look of the bokeh. 

Again, this works fairly well most of the time. It even managed to mostly navigate my treacherously bearded face. I appreciate the ability to adjust the quality and amount of blur. Overall, the effect looks OK, but it’s not enough to have photographers swearing off big, heavy, f/1.4 lenses forever. But, this is a $99 piece of software and that’s not the point. 

Luminar AI also offers AI-powered retouching features, which I don’t love. You can use one slider to skinny up your face and another to do the same with your body. The AI-powered skin slider allows you to add a smoothing effect to your epidermis, which can quickly go from flattering to creepy West World vibes with the slightest adjustment. 

Luminar AI
When you start pushing the adjustment sliders too far, you can create some truly awful things. I wish I could unsee this, but now you have also seen it. Stan Horaczek

I took a simple selfie to test out the new Portrait Bokeh feature and fell down a rabbit hole of AI-powered sliders that left me looking like a puppy dog that belongs on the cover of a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. 

That may sound like a wholesale knock on Luminar AI, but it really isn’t. In truth, I could achieve the same look with Photoshop. It just would have taken a lot more time and effort. 

The overall editing process

Once I closed my absurdly edited portrait, I started over again fresh. Once you get the over-the-top stuff out of your system, you can start digging into the real practical features that Luminar AI offers. 

At least for me, the process of dialing in my edits took a ton of trial and error. I opened a few images and applied some adjustments just to see what the Mystical slider does. How would the Cyberpunk template look on my face? It’s compelling, and sometimes a little confusing. 

Like other photo editing programs, Luminar AI allows for individuals and companies to create their own looks and then sell them to users who can import them into the program. In fact, Luminar has a whole marketplace where its users can buy custom-made templates. 

It really seems like the secret to nailing your edits with Luminar involves finding the right Templates that fit your shooting style and sticking with them. Once you’ve applied a template, you can make individual adjustments or even tone down the filters’ overall effect. But, I truly think it works better if you just lean into it. 

So, is Luminar AI a good photo editor?

While I enjoy using Luminar AI, this photo editor fills a somewhat curious segment of the image editing software market. It has a very mobile app feel about it and the editing techniques you learn through this program won’t necessarily translate into other platforms. If you go looking for the Mystical slider in Capture One Pro, you’re going to find yourself disappointed. 

While purists may scoff or snicker at the idea of one-click lens flare or sky replacement, there’s a whole contingent of people to whom that sounds great. Every time you take a picture with your phone, you’re using computational photography, which means AI is helping you out with your image. This feels like a natural and very advanced extension of that. 

Who should buy Luminar AI?

If you’re willing to put in some work upfront, you could certainly create an entire photography workflow that centers around Luminar AI and its templated looks. Even if you’re not using it all the time, you may find a few templates that come in handy from time to time. The Film Noir template in the Blockbuster collection actually provides a fairly solid baseline black-and-white conversion. 

So, while I think you should think long and hard before you go replacing skies in your photos or making yourself skinnier with the “torso” slider, you can do whatever you want. The site will give you a free Luminar trial during which you can download and apply the templates to see how they fit your work. You may just find that it’s the best photo editing software for you.

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Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI

Let’s talk about the newest software from Skylum called Luminar AI, editing software that is powered by AI technology.
In recent years, there has been a rising consumer base of casual photographers, and the demand for more user-friendly editing software has been increasing. It started with simple mobile editors, which then evolved to their desktop counterparts, promising a quick and simple process of editing compared to mainstream editing software. These past few months saw an evolution of more intuitive iterations of famous photo-editing apps that rose to the occasion with the help of AI.

Skylum is no stranger to this field. Since starting off in 2009, they’ve developed several popular programs like Aurora HDR and Luminar. This time, they’ve taken it a step further and developed AI-powered software aimed at professional and casual audiences alike with the idea of minimizing the time and effort in post-processing and leaving more time for photographers to take photos.

Don’t confuse Luminar AI with Luminar 4. They are not the same software, and it’s not an update to Luminar 4. As they put it, Luminar AI is built around a solutions-based workflow, while Luminar 4 is built on a tool-based workflow. So, Luminar AI is focused more on the results while Luminar 4 is focused more on the process.

This means that Luminar AI will help get things done the fastest and most accurate way possible, with the guide of the user’s artistic prowess.

One big change I noticed is that they removed the layers function that you’ll find on Luminar 4. They simplified it with the use of local masking. You can just loosely select the area, and the AI will intelligently determine the point of interest. The adjustments would then be just applied to the masked area. Think of this as a simplified version of Luminar 4, since most of the stuff you need will be done for you by AI. All you need to do is decide what it is.

I’ve been given access to the beta version and there are several unique features of Luminar AI that will appeal not just to photographers but to visual communicators and basically anyone who edits photos.

1. Templates

Templates are identical to looks and presets. They’re a set of adjustments saved into one file that you can easily apply to images. Luminar AI comes with several pre-built templates for you to choose from. You’ll notice something that says “For This Photo” on the upper right-hand side. This feature analyzes the photo and makes specific recommendations or templates you can start off with.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 6

You can change the intensity of the template on the lower right-hand side by sliding the circle down to the left.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 7

Now, like all templates, it’s not meant to be the end of the edit. Though sometimes, some images look great when applied, it is still suggested to do modifications on them to your preference. It’s just meant to be a starting point. You can quickly make edits to the image in the Edit tab.

Similar to how looks or presets function, you can also sync up multiple photos or batch-process them using templates, so this saves you so much time when editing a group of photos that are part of the same series.

2. Composition AI

To keep it simple, this is an intelligent auto-crop tool. When you use composition AI, it automatically identifies the subject and determines the best way to crop the image. It also fixes the alignment of the photo and removes unwanted tilt or distortion as best as it can. The AI-determined crop is a result of machine-learning through thousands of suggested crops of photos from photographers who contributed to the testing.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 8

3. Atmosphere AI

Atmosphere AI adds mood and drama by adding fog, haze, or mist in your image, and does this quite magnificently. However, you’ll still need to do some tweaks by adjusting the amount, depth, and lightness to your preference. This is a perfect add-on to your images in case you miss out on that foggy morning shot. 

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 9

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 10

4. Sky AI

Sky AI, or most famously known as the Sky replacement tool: in Luminar AI, they changed the name and made it much more intuitive to use, especially when blending it with the image.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 11

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 12

You can choose to relight the scene based on your chosen sky, add atmospheric haze, and even change the white balance to match your scene. You can also ease out the transition of the image with the sky using horizon blending. 

According to Skylum, there will be a slider to add the reflection of the sky to the water, which will be available in a future update. You can also have the sky take the shape of the water by adjusting the Water Ripples slider based on your preference.

5. Augmented Sky AI

Augmented Sky is a feature that allows you to add objects to your sky, usually like a single clump of clouds, to add some drama. There are several other options to choose from in the dropdown. 

You can drag these objects around the image to where you want to place them. Like other options, you can also change the color temperature or relight the object according to the scene.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 13

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 14

6. Accent AI, Sky Enhancer AI, and Structure AI

Accent AI identifies areas with issues of brightness, contrast, and color, then balances them off optimally. Sky Enhancer does almost the same but only focuses on the sky and makes it pop out naturally.

Structure AI adds in selective details without adding noise. It’s quite similar to Lightroom’s clarity, but this one does not add any details where they aren’t needed, say like the blues of the sky.

7. Face AI

Face AI is similar to AI Portrait Enhancer in Luminar 4, but they improved it and added “Slim Face,” which identifies the subject’s face, and it can easily adjust the shape based on the user’s preference. It still has tools for the mouth, like lip saturation, redness, and others.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 15

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 16

8. Iris AI

Iris AI focuses on the subject’s eyes to maximize the details of the eyes. It adds an arsenal of tools you can use to modify the subject’s eye color, size, eyebrows, and several other features.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 17

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 18

9. Skin AI

Skin AI is the renamed AI Skin Enhancer from Luminar 4. It’s a very useful tool where you can choose to remove skin imperfections and shine.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 19

10. Body AI

Body AI is a tool that makes bodies appear lighter or heavier with subtle adjustments that do not compromise the image. It automatically detects the body in any lighting and in any position, whether the subject is walking or just standing up.

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 20

Fstoppers Takes a First Look at Luminar AI 21

Another planned feature that will be available in a future update is a tool called Bokeh AI, which, as the name suggests, creates a bokeh effect in your images. 

There are still several desired improvements I would want to see in the software, like improving the eraser tool and the accuracy of Sky AI in the presence of snow and water, both of which have been suggested to Skylum.

Overall, the software looks promising. I prefer using it over other editing software for quick edits and batch processing because of its ease of use.

You can check out the video above to see these tools in action and actual editing I’ve done using the software.

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New Video Shows Off the Powerful Landscape Editing Tools in Luminar AI

New Video Shows Off the Powerful Landscape Editing Tools in Luminar AI

In their latest demo of the upcoming Luminar AI photo editor, Skylum takes aim at landscape photographers and shows them just how powerful Luminar’s machine learning-based tools really are. From Enhance AI for relighting and color grading, to Atmosphere AI for adding fog and other effects, there are some impressive automatic editing tools coming to your laptop very soon…

The short demo covers a lot of ground in just 63 seconds. Not only does it re-highlight the latest updates coming to Sky Replacement AI, Skylum shows off several new landscape editing tool that will be built into the AI editing program. That includes:

  • Composition AI – Automatically crop and straighten images with one click.
  • Enhance AI – Automatically detects uneven color and lighting and balances them for you.
  • Sky AI – Swap out the sky in your image and tweak the horizon blending, position, and scene relighting to taste.
  • Atmosphere AI – Add realistic atmospheric effects like fog.
  • Golden Hour Image Relighting – Tucked alongside options for Dehaze and Foliage Enhancer, this feature allows you to intelligently relight the scene to give it a golden hue.

With Adobe making a not-so-subtle grab for Luminar AI’s prospective audience with the release of Neural Filters in Photoshop, Skylum obviously wants to make it clear that they’re not going anywhere. Adobe may have more money and man power to throw at the problem, but Luminar’s creators are trying to make the most of their head start in the AI photo editing space.

(via 43 Rumors)

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Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare?

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare?

Well, Adobe has gone and done it. Sky replacement is now a featured part of the just-released Photoshop 2021. For about a year, Skylum has been the leader in sky replacement with Luminar 4, but the story isn’t that simple anymore.

Adobe first showed off sky replacement at the Adobe Max 2016 conclave. It got, as I remember, much applause and interest. But then, nothing. Now, four years later, Adobe is offering this feature, seemingly playing catch-up with Skylum. 

While sky replacement is still a contentious issue, it can mean a lot to many real estate photographers, wedding photographers who do outside events, and some landscape photographers who find it useful at times. The controversy will always be with us, and that’s a healthy thing, but how does the Adobe offering stand up to Luminar’s popular sky controls? 

That’s just what I wanted to find out, so I took an image that has routinely tripped up Luminar because it had trees with many small branches and leaves. It would be very difficult to do a sky replacement by manually masking in a new sky with all this vegetation, so automation offers hope for an image like this. 

How Do the Two Programs Compare?

Here’s the original image of the location:

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 22

And here is a closeup of the trees that can be problematic for auto-masking software:

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 23Luminar has some issues here, and while one can use the Close Gaps control to help, it still has problems filling in between the leaves and the branches. You can see the areas where it is less than perfect:Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 24

I tried the same challenge with the new sky replacement feature of Photoshop 2021:

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 25

This was much smoother, although again, I had to play with the edge controls in Photoshop to improve things. If I went too far with the edge controls, the sky image itself was altered, which is not a good outcome. 

Here’s a look at the sky controls for Luminar, followed by the Photoshop controls. 

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 26

In the Adobe controls, note the options to reposition the sky image at the left of the panel, and the scale control that’s missing from Luminar. Photoshop lets you move the sky image vertically and horizontally. Luminar only allows you to move the sky vertically. It’s just not as flexible. 

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 27

Who Is the Best?

Normally, I’d call it a day and declare Photoshop the winner, but it’s not that simple. Both software programs have sliders to spread the new sky color on the landscape, making it a better integration between the original image and the new sky. I found Luminar had a much better option there. I got a far more realistic outcome using the Luminar Relight Scene slider than I did with the Photoshop color adjustment slider. With Photoshop, the effect was subtle or not visible at all. 

On the majority of sky replacement tests I did, both Luminar and Photoshop looked about the same. Both let you import skies from your own library, and both let you flip the skies horizontally. Luminar lets you add atmospheric haze and lets you defocus the sky. Photoshop doesn’t, but because the sky is a separate layer, you can do that with the existing Photoshop tools. The results can look quite good with both programs, but Photoshop has an advantage where the mask has to integrate with a complicated, busy foreground.

Still, I’ve had excellent results with Luminar when I’ve needed it, like this photo in an Arizona ghost town. It’s not perfect around some of the detailed metalwork, but it beats manual masking.

Sky Replacement With Photoshop 2021 and Luminar 4: How Do They Compare? 28

Neither Photoshop nor Luminar do water reflections yet. In both cases, you’ll have to manually insert them into bodies of water by making a new layer and creating a mask. However, Luminar has announced its new Luminar AI update shipping late this year will do sky reflections in water, and that’s a pretty big deal when you need it.

Photoshop sky replacements are done in layers, making it easy to readjust image values. Luminar drops in the sky, and you are left with one layer. If you don’t like what you wind up with, you have to start again with adjustments, although Luminar does allow you to go back and insert a different sky before you save the image. Photoshop does the same. A new sky becomes a new layer, which can be kept or removed. Overall, Photoshop offers more flexibility, while Luminar is striving for simplicity.

Of course, Adobe could add that feature as well, just as Skylum could ship Luminar with more options to reposition skies. 

It’s pretty clear many Photoshop users were clamoring for sky replacement, and Adobe has answered that need. Luminar isn’t standing still either, and Luminar AI, when it ships, could leapfrog Adobe. And both programs will surely evolve from here.

Since Photoshop is subscription-based, it was great to see this feature pop up as part of that plan. Luminar is something you will have to buy, and Luminar AI, which will include a more sophisticated sky replacement feature with water reflections will be another expense for Luminar 4 owners. It’s a justified sore point, and I wish Skylum would have simply updated Luminar 4 with the water reflection feature.

Both programs beat manually masking a new sky in by a long way. I’m impressed with both applications, and I’m hoping Luminar will offer better sky placement tools, and I’d like to see Adobe offer better color-matching and water reflection options.

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New version of Skylum Luminar puts AI first

New version of Skylum Luminar puts AI first

A new version of Skylum’s Luminar editing program has been released for Windows and MacOS, which is based on AI (artificial intelligence). Luminar AI incorporates the machine-learning tools from Luminar 4 while adding some new ones, which adds up to quite a different editing experience.

Rather than seeing conventional tools and sliders for parameters like contrast or brightness when you first open the program, you are invited to try features like AtmosphereAI and SkyAI for landcapes, along with handy tools such as Golden Hour and Sunrays filters.

New version of Skylum Luminar puts AI first 29

For portraits, you can try BodyAI, FaceAI, and IrisAI, while CompositionAI and StructureAI are available to change the look of an image in a more radical way.

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“Luminar AI will help make image editing easier for everyone. We’ve removed the boring and difficult parts of photo editing without sacrificing creativity,” said Alex Tsepko, Skylum CEO. “Luminar AI will be a great tool in a creator’s workflow. They can focus on great results – not on the process of editing.”

Luminar AI is now available for pre-order. The full price will be £79, but there are ‘early bird’ discounts for the first 30,000 people to buy the software. Whether Skylum is correct in its prediction that AI-driven photo editing is the future for most photographers remains to be seen, but this is certainly an interesting development. Full details, with examples and ordering information, here.

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