The next version of Luminar, called Luminar 4, will include a one-click sky replacement feature. Other photo editors can get it done, but it usually involves masking, and it often doesn't work very well with foreground objects like trees with a lot of leaves. Adobe demonstrated a one-click sky replacement in 2016, but alas, it never appeared.
The new Luminar one-click sky replacement feature is likely to be very popular. Living as I do in the desert Southwest, I'm often at great locations with "severe clear" skies, just what I don't want for a good golden hour photo. I have my own collection of hundreds of skies I use when I need them, and I've been using Landscape Pro, which does a nice job of inserting the skies when I need them. However, it's not one click, and I do have t0 spend some time defining skies, the landscape, water, rocks, and mountains.
Skylum's AI Sky Replacement works by automatically detecting not only the sky, but also objects in a photograph’s scene. This helps make sure the photo ends up being as realistic as possible once you insert a new sky. It removes things like halos, artifacts, and edges of transitions, problems that often were present in existing sky replacement techniques. AI Sky Replacement automatically adjusts the sky to fit the rest of your images — things like depth of field, tone, exposure, and color — making it great for not only landscapes, but also portraits.
When working on an image, the AI Sky Replacement technology automatically creates a mask for the sky, taking a step that would often take minutes or even hours and boiling it down to mere seconds with just the click of a mouse. But that’s not all it does: AI Sky Replacement also correctly selects the orientation of the sky so that it looks as realistic as possible.
Furthermore, when you select your sky of choice, you’ll see the rest of your photo change in terms of light and color. This makes sure that an image and sky match so they appear they were taken during the same conditions. Because of the toning that AI Sky Replacement does to an image, it looks as natural and smooth as possible.
Skylum sent me some samples of replaced skies, and I have to say the area around trees looks really good, even when enlarged beyond 100%.
There are a few things missing from this first try at sky replacement. While the software will have a collection of skies, most photographers prefer to use their own. This version will not support that, although it will appear in an update down the road. (Update on 7/24: Skylum now says users would be able to work with their own skies starting with version one, but they will need to meet some technical requirements in order for the AI technology to apply them correctly.)
Also, Luminar 4 will not do sky reflections in water. It would be difficult to get that working under AI, but Skylum programmers are working on it. They know it is important.
Of course, Luminar 4 will also include all the features of the current Luminar version 3, but it's clear the company is aiming toward more and more AI features in addition to the already included Accent AI feature, which works on the whole image and the AI Sky Enhancer, which nicely improves skies. In fact, it was the programming work done on the Sky Enhancer that led to the new sky replacement feature.
Luminar 4 is set to be released this fall. Pre-orders are now available on the Skylum website.
Pricing will be announced at a later time, and upgrade pricing will be available for current users.
While some landscape photographers really don't like sky replacement, I have found it useful for some photos. Judging from the amount of tutorials for replacing skies on YouTube, it's obvious I'm not alone. Being able to do this with one click will be a real time-saver.
Your comments are welcome, as always.