New Luminar AI Sky Replacement

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Skylum recently brought out their latest version of Luminar. It promises some interesting features involving Artificial Intelligence (AI), including super easy sky replacement. Having heard some pre-release details on podcasts I’ve been excited to have a play. Here is a quick post on some initial messing around with Luminar AI Sky Replacement.

Original RAW file of Rab jacket at Godrevy
The original RAW file of me at Godrevy

We all have images like this lying around in hard drives. It could be interesting but the weather was such that the sky doesn’t add anything. As a photographer you’ve got three main choices;

  1. Bin it!

Note down what you like and come back and try to recreate it when the sky is doing something more interesting.


2. Replace the sky

My own view is that there is nothing wrong with sky replacement so long as you’re honest about it. It is part of the creative process, creating an image rather than simply taking it. I don’t feel it would be appropriate to do this then post to Instagram saying how amazing the sunset was but as a creative project, it can be invigorating and provide an image that connects with others. It is also worth noting that many photography competitions would consider sky replacement as against the rules unless entered in the composite/creative categories.

In the past when I’ve done sky replacement it’s generally been for commercial shoots when there is only the one day you have booked in with the client and it just happens the sky doesn’t work for the desired effect. Doing something about this has involved layers, careful masking and a back catalogue of potential nice skies I can work in. The latest version of Luminar is a game-changer for sky replacement. All I have to do is import the photo, go to AI Sky Replacement, pick from a drop-down a sky that works for me and the magic does the rest! Seems to work best on shots that have a clearly defined contrast between land and sky but there is a masking feature for more complicated shots. Not something personally I would use all the time, better to be in the right place at the right time, but for creative projects and save my bacon moments this is awesome.

Final image with sky replaced
Final Image having used Luminar AI Sky Replacement

Would you be interested in a course on digital darkroom processes? It is something we are looking at running. Get in touch if you would be keen to know more.

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