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