Photography

LuminarAI: AI photo editing will make Photoshop look like a stone axe

LuminarAI: AI photo editing wi...
Luminar AI allows super-fast, slider-based sky replacement and relighting of images
Luminar AI allows super-fast, slider-based sky replacement and relighting of images
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Luminar AI allows super-fast, slider-based sky replacement and relighting of images
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Luminar AI allows super-fast, slider-based sky replacement and relighting of images
Move a few sliders and you can completely change the time of day, weather and lighting conditions in any image
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Move a few sliders and you can completely change the time of day, weather and lighting conditions in any image
New Sky AI processing builds sky and lighting reflections into water surfaces
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New Sky AI processing builds sky and lighting reflections into water surfaces
AI-assisted sky and lighting replacement can completely change the feel of an image
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AI-assisted sky and lighting replacement can completely change the feel of an image
A simple, slider-based interface allows very quick and simple changes that are implemented through AI
5/5
A simple, slider-based interface allows very quick and simple changes that are implemented through AI
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How much of a given image is real these days, and how much is manipulated? And how much does it matter? The tools of image editing have improved massively over the last 10 years, as anyone who likes to zhush themselves up for Instagram can attest. And a new generation of tools powered by artificial intelligence is going to make Photoshop look like a caveman's tool.

Sky replacement is a perfect example; the right kind of sky can add all sorts of drama and emotion to an image. In the past, photographers had to either be at the right spot at the right time, or sit around and wait until the sky and lighting conditions were just right, an outcome that was far from guaranteed. Later, darkroom techniques enabled some extremely crude developing techniques to effect some changes.

More recently, you'd use Photoshop; mask out the original sky manually, move a separate sky image layer in, then fiddle about with adjustment layers to make the sky and ground colors feel right together. Best of luck if there's a reflective water surface at the ground level!

Skylum's upcoming LuminarAI software makes it ridiculously easy to throw a huge wow factor into your images. It reduces the entire sky replacement operation, for example, to a few sliders and a gallery of different sky options, to which you're free to add your own images. The software analyzes your image, works out where the sky is, places a new one from the image you've chosen, handles reflective bodies of water, and then re-lights and re-colors your original image to suit the sky you've chosen, be it a starry night sky or a dramatic sunset.

A simple, slider-based interface allows very quick and simple changes that are implemented through AI
A simple, slider-based interface allows very quick and simple changes that are implemented through AI

You're free to tweak things once it's done, but the entire process is automated, and the results are remarkable, particularly given how fast it happens. Luminar's algorithms, says the company, have been trained using input from a range of "artists, photographers, colorists and scientists."

The software begins analyzing photos immediately upon opening them, building a 3D depth map of the scene and separating out its key elements: sky, water, faces, skin, eyes, lips and more. The analysis will come straight back with a set of "templates" offering the kinds of enhancements typically used on images of that nature. That might include some sky, atmospheric and lighting changes on a landscape, or eye enhancement, skin smoothing, teeth whitening, shine reduction and face slimming on a portrait.

New Sky AI processing builds sky and lighting reflections into water surfaces
New Sky AI processing builds sky and lighting reflections into water surfaces

There's even a composition helper, which rolls many rules of composition, including the rule of thirds, Fibonacci spirals, leading lines and the combined wisdoms of the algorithm training teams into a system that suggests crops for you that'll make the image most effective.

Previewing a template's effect on your image takes less than a second, all the details can be tweaked once you've found an overall vibe you like, and you can save your own templates for later use. Likewise, if you shoot a series of images in one place and want them all to have the same final look applied to them, you can sync edits across a range of shots together.

To a dedicated image compositor who's spent years building up the skills to do this stuff manually, it's going to look like cheating. And as with any automatic image editing tool, there'll surely be some dodgy bits in the final images that don't make sense. But viewed in terms of output versus time spent, it looks like a revolutionary step forward that'll allow any old clown with 10 GB of hard disc space and US$79 for the discounted pre-order price to make some pretty wild image edits in next to no time.

It turns completely uneducated users into the equivalent of studio directors, instantly producing the kind of work you'd have needed several hours with a highly talented creative to get in the past.

Move a few sliders and you can completely change the time of day, weather and lighting conditions in any image
Move a few sliders and you can completely change the time of day, weather and lighting conditions in any image

And as for cheating? I'd argue that outside of photo contests and hard news, there's no such thing. People are well aware now that a ton of Instagram influencers edit the heck out of their shots to endow themselves with superhuman booty. Sorry, beauty. It doesn't seem to make them like the images any less.

I can see this kind of software taking off big time; indeed, I wonder how long it'll take before something like this makes it to your smartphone, with super-fast 5G data transfer and powerful cloud computing making your slider changes in near to real time. This is the direction things are headed in; if you're investing a lot of time in getting your image editing skills together, you may want to consider the future impacts of this kind of software as a factor in your career planning.

LuminarAI is launching "this holiday season," and pre-order discounts apply. Check out a video below.

Luminar AI. Amazing travel photos with Templates and Tools

Source: Skylum

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7 comments
CJ
As an old guy I feel that traditional photography is dead. It has become digital art. The software and the corrections or changes that you can do are amazing but it seems that the proper composition of the subject is the main concern now because you can always 'fix' it or change it with the available software. On the other hand I think it's great that it has enabled fantastic pics to be taken by folks who might have less photography knowledge than the pros. As long as a heavily edited image are identified as such I think it's fine but I guess that raises the question of where do you draw the line? I love all the tools we have today but I think it raise some ethical questions.
guzmanchinky
Those images are stunning, to be sure, but what I want is to remember how something was when I was there, but I do photography more as a tool to journal my travels than to create award winning images.
Kpar
Were I to use this, it would be to recreate the images I saw at the time with my own eyes. Often, I have taken pix of landscapes in dramatic lighting conditions that turned out to be relatively disappointing. HDR has been a help (not that I'm very good at using it), but this looks promising.
Calde
The reflections aren’t in the next release, they are labelled as coming next year.
Alex. Gubariu
The next version of Photoshop which will be presented tomorrow has also a sky replacement feature.
Photog
I am continually amazed how much good press Skyline continues to get given how they treat their user base. I can only assume this is a paid review for them or that you are woefully uninformed - neither is a good look.

I found Luminar back when they were Luminar 2018. The interface and filters were great. Back then, no DAM which was perfect because that was what I wanted.

Then they rolled out Luminar 3, now with DAM, and guess what - they removed filters and capabilities critical to my workflow. Also the product was incompatible with the previous version, so any work you'd done previously would be lost. Fortunately, they also included the stand alone Flex, which is what everyone should seek out if they like the Luminar interface and filters.

Otherwise, you will be doomed to listen to promises of releases during the holidays each year that turn out to be buggy messes and slooooooow response/updates to address any of it. Oh and each version will be completely incompatible with the last, so get ready to have 10 versions on you computer or re-do everything.

Maybe Luminar Flex doesn't Ave as much flashy AI, but at least it works which is more than I guess you'll be able to say about Luminar AI. Save your money and look elsewhere folks!
minivini
I tend to agree with many of the assessments (of generality) of this type software. As a former film photographer and darkroom user, I tend to think of digital manipulation as a wholly different form of “art”. I’ve been using LightRoom since early in its first beta release and find it far more than adequate for what I need a computer to do; which is to say anything that could be done in the darkroom (spot removal and local/global exposure adjustments) plus extensive DAM.

That said, I really hate that Adobe is putting so much pressure on photographers to ditch the standalone software for subscription based versions because you’re required to store your images in their servers for any sort of DAM support. I’m all for cloud backup, but I want my own full res copies in my own drives (with a full set of rotating backups stored elsewhere). Adobe CC has no such local DAM capability.